- Publish Date
- Thursday, 20 July 2017, 11:46AM
We had no idea just how much information baby poo actually contains!
According to a new study, published in Biological Psychiatry, the bacteria present in baby poo can tell a lot about their future cognitive development.
Testing plenty of smelly stool samples from nearly 100 one-year-olds, researchers discovered that infants with excrement composed of less diverse microbiomes performed better during cognitive testing as two-year-olds.
Also, feces with relatively high levels of one type of bacteria in particular, called Bacteroides, were more likely to indicate higher cognitive scores for many babies.
Rebecca Knickmeyer, a professor of psychiatry, said she found her study’s results “surprising.”
“We had originally predicted that children with highly diverse microbiomes would perform better — since other studies have shown that low diversity in infancy is associated with negative health outcomes, including type 1 diabetes and asthma,” Knickmeyer said.
“Are the bacteria actually ‘communicating’ with the developing brain?” Knickmeyer asked. “That’s something that we are working on now, so we’re looking at some signaling pathways that might be involved.”
“Big picture: these results suggest you may be able to guide the development of the microbiome to optimize cognitive development or reduce the risk for disorders like autism which can include problems with cognition and language,” Knickmeyer concluded.