London (PRWEB UK) 4 December 2013
This study is currently at odds with the popular views held for centuries in the medical field regarding the threat of neonatal infections and the belief that newborn infants’ immune system cells are immature or underdeveloped, rather than it being an intentional process.
The experiments conducted in the CCH Division of Infectious Diseases labs, collected blood samples from human infants' umbilical cords which contained certain red blood cells, known as CD71 cells, and injected them into adult mice. The results showed these cells expressed an enzyme called arginase-2 which worked to suppress the immune cells. This enables beneficial microbes to flourish in the gut, building a foundation for good health, researchers say. 1
Dr. Sing Sing Way, MD, a specialist in infectious disease in babies, and senior investigator and a physician in at Cincinnati Children's Hospital said, "Our findings fundamentally change how we look at neonatal susceptibility to infection by suggesting it is caused by active immune suppression during this developmental period, as opposed to the immaturity of immune cells."
He also stressed the importance of continued follow up studies to help develop new strategies for protecting newborns from systemic infections while allowing the natural process of development to occur unhindered in the body. 2
Superintendent Pharmacist at Chemist Direct, Omar El-Gohary encourages parents not to worry when their infants are unwell, although you should consult your GP if your child becomes seriously ill. He states:
“Your newborn’s immune system allows certain germs to cause infections so that the flora of the gut has a chance to settle in. The scientific field is discovering that most of the trillions of bacteria, fungi and other microbes that live inside the human body are not only helpful but essential to the tissues in the intestine.
"These microbes are not present when the infant is in the womb, so they require time to develop after birth. While the immune system adapts to a new environment in the first few years of a child’s life, they may be susceptible to infections from unhelpful bacteria. More research is needed before a complete understanding of this process is uncovered, and each child may have its own unique timetable."
Thankfully most parents observe less sick days as the child grows, and this could be the time when the immune system finds its balance in defending against the harmful bacteria whilst still allowing the good microbes to flourish.