New CIHR grant funds study of C-section impact on gut microbiota

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Dr. Anita Kozyrskyj, a professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta—together with a team of CHILD Study researchers from across Canada—has received a five-year operating grant, valued at over $500,000, from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research-Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health (CIHR-IHDCYH).

The CHILD Study application was ranked first among 39 proposals reviewed in the March 2015 competition. The project, titled “Cesarean section: Impact on infant gut microbiota, childhood obesity and allergic disease,” will use data from over 3,300 infants in the CHILD birth cohort study located at four centres across Canada to determine long-term health outcomes arising from disruptions of an infant’s gut bacterial profile (microbiota) following cesarean section delivery.

Specifically, the research team will examine whether or not cesarean section delivery contributes to the development of childhood obesity, food allergies and asthma at the ages of three and five years, and if antibiotic use and breastfeeding impact this risk.

The research will address the “urgent need to understand more clearly the relationship between cesarean delivery, breastfeeding and antibiotic administration, and the infant gut microbiome, which in turn impacts on childhood health,” according to the reviewers.