In news guaranteed to make you say, “wait, what?!” it seems science has discovered a rather odd link between your baby’s intelligence and his, well, diaper offerings. That’s right — an actual team of scientists has subjected itself to analyzing the fecal matter of almost 100 little monsters on the poo-suit to finding the answers.
Throughout the study, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine separated the pint-sized participants into three groups based on the bacterial composition of their poo (which begs the most important question of all: How did they manage to deal with the stink?)
A year on, the same 89 infants returned to be tested on their cognitive skills according to the Mullen Scales of Early Learning, and surprisingly, researchers found there to be “significant” discrepancies between the three clusters.
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The children whose excrement contained high levels of the microbiota genus Bacteroides as 1-year-olds showed better gross motor skills, perceptual abilities, and language development by the age of 2 than the other two groups, who showed more diverse gut microbiomes.
“This is the first study to demonstrate associations between the gut microbiota and cognition in human infants,” said associate professor of psychiatry, Rebecca Knickmeyer, at the UNC School of Medicine.
"We're not really at the point where we can say, 'Let's give everyone a certain probiotic.' But we did have a few big takeaways from what we found,” first author Alexander Carlson, an MD/PhD student in Knickmeyer's lab, elaborated.
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Inside the gut lies billions, even trillions, of microbes that we now know play a vital role in human vitality, impacting just about everything from our digestion to mental health.
Who knew a baby's diaper could contain the key to learning so much about our own well-being? Not us, that's for sure.
This post was written by Katie Skelly. For more, check out our sister site Now To Love.
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