Access to clean water may be associated with higher risk of asthma in children: Study

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 18 February 2017, 04:28 PM
Representative Image (PTI)
Representative Image (PTI)

Not all microbes are bad, yes! A new study suggests that access to clean, drinking water may be associated with a higher risk of asthma in children.

Since clean, potable water may deprive children of the beneficial microbes.

Researchers from British Columbia (UBC) in Canada have found a yeast in the gut of new babies in Ecuador in South America that appears to be a strong predictor that they will develop asthma in childhood.

The new Ecuadorian study furthers the understanding of the role microscopic organisms play in our overall health.

“Children with this type of yeast called Pichia were much more at risk of asthma. This is the first time anyone has shown any kind of association between yeast and asthma,” said Brett Finlay, microbiologist at UBC.

This study happens to be a follow-up of another in which Finlay and his colleagues identified four gut bacteria in Canadian children that, if present in the first 100 days of life, seem to prevent asthma.

Canada and Ecuador both have high rates of asthma with about 10 per cent of the population suffering from the disease.

The study found that while gut bacteria play a role in preventing asthma in Ecuador, it was the presence of a microscopic fungus or yeast known as Pichia that was more strongly linked to asthma.

Instead of helping to prevent asthma, however, the presence of Pichia in those early days puts children at risk.

As part of the study, the researchers noted, “Those that had access to good, clean water had much higher asthma rates and we think it is because they were deprived of the beneficial microbes”.

With PTI Inputs

First Published: Saturday, February 18, 2017 04:18 PM
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