Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Microbiome and Vaccine Responsiveness

By: Editor-in-Chief Lewis First, MD, MS
Bifidobacterium adolescentis by YTambe via Wikimedia Commons

It seems that almost every recent issue of our journal has had an article on the microbiome and the role of probiotics in cultivating the composition of this environment to reduce the incidence and prevalence of common childhood illnesses like upper respiratory and gastrointestinal infections.

This month, we share a study by Huda et al. (doi: 10.1542/ peds.2013-3937) noting how the composition of the stool microbiome might indicate a better or worse response to oral and parenteral infant vaccines. For example, when the stool microbiota composition is rich in Bifidobacterium, thymic development and response to vaccines is enhanced. Other microbiome organism predominance appears to do just the opposite—again suggesting that what organisms predominate in the microbiome of the intestines can influence a child’s health and well-being.

Are you using probiotics in your patients? Are they getting fewer infections as a result? Share your opinion on this topic via a response to our blog, an eLetter, or by way of Facebook or Twitter.

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