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Further, latent groups defined by these factors explained additional variation, highlighting the importance of combinatorial effects.

Our findings also have implications for studies investigating the impact of the early life gut microbiota on disease., underscoring the relationship between early life gut microbiota development and childhood health status.

C-section), significant differences were observed by type of C-section (planned vs.

unplanned) among the infants (weighted Uni Frac p = 0.022), indicating that even partial labor may alter microbial composition.

For the majority of associated factors, unweighted Uni Frac was significant but weighted Uni Frac was not, indicating that phylogeny alone was capable of distinguishing composition.

However, a select few factors were distinguished by both phylogeny and abundance (i.e. For both age groups, individual associated factors explained approximately 1–4% of the variation in bacterial microbiome composition.

Besides compositional differences by mode of delivery overall (vaginal vs.

This study and others have confirmed that early feeding patterns have a dramatic effect on the infant’s developing gut microbial community composition.

If the influence of these and potentially other early life exposures on disease risk is thought to be partially explained by their impact on gut microbiome development over the first year of life, a broader understanding of such factors and their influence on bacterial community composition is critical.

Multiple other maternal and pre- and post-natal environmental factors were found to be associated with early life gut microbiota composition.

Included among the maternal factors were body mass index (BMI) during pregnancy (unweighted Uni Frac in neonates p = 0.004 and in infants p = 0.001) as well as the number of previous pregnancies (unweighted Unifrac in neonates p = 0.004 and in infants p = 0.022).

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