Colic Trigger Discovered
Baby Crying Due to Colic
Researchers have discovered an organism that may unlock the key to what causes colic - inconsolable crying in an otherwise healthy baby.
Colic is defined as unexplained and severe crying in an otherwise healthy infant three months old or younger, and lasts for more than three hours daily for at least three days a week.
"Right now, paediatric gastroenterologists can treat just about anything that comes through the door," said J. Marc Rhoads, professor of paediatrics at The University of Texas Medical School-Houston (UTMS-H), who led the study.
But "with colic, there is no evidence-based treatment we can offer. Colic can be a dangerous situation for a baby. The parent's frustration over the crying can lead to maternal frustration, post-partum depression and even thoughts of harming the baby," Rhoads added.
The study pointed to an organism called Klebsiella, a normally occurring bacterium that can be found in the mouth, skin and intestines.
In the study of 36 babies, half of which had colic, researchers found the bacterium and gut inflammation in the intestines.
"We believe that the bacterium may be sparking an inflammatory reaction, causing the gut inflammation," said Rhoads.
"Inflammation in the gut of colicky infants closely compared to levels in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Colic could prove to be a precursor to other gastrointestinal conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease and allergic gastro-enteropathies."
"During our study, we also found that the babies that didn't have colic had more types of bacteria in their intestines. The presence of more bacteria may indicate that specific bacterial species (phylotypes) are beneficial to humans," Rhoads said.
These findings were published in the online edition of the Journal of Paediatrics.