Gut Bacteria is related to improved Cognitive and Language Skills in Baby Boys

Infant boys with an intestine bacterial composition high in Bacteroidetes had superior cognitive and language abilities 12 months later than boys with lower levels of the microorganism. A new study discovered that infant boys with a higher composition of specific gut microbiota have better neurodevelopment.

The study, led by the University of Alberta, followed over 400 infants from the CHILD Cohort Study (CHILD) at its Edmonton site. Boys with a high Bacteroidetes bacterial composition in their gut at one year of age were found to have more advanced cognition and language skills one year later. The finding was specific to male children.

“It’s well known that female children score higher (at younger ages), particularly in cognition and language,” said Anita Kozyrskyj, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Alberta and the principal investigator of the SyMBIOTA (Synergy in Microbiota) laboratory. “However, when it comes to gut microbial composition, it was in male infants that we saw this clear link between Bacteroidetes and improved scores.”

Infant boys with a higher composition of a particular gut microbiota show enhanced neurodevelopment, according to a new study.

“The differences in male and female gut microbiota are subtle, but data from the CHILD Cohort Study show that girls are more likely to have Bacteroidetes at a younger age. So it’s possible that most girls have an adequate number of Bacteroidetes, which explains why they outperform boys “Kozyrskyj also contributed.

The researchers, led by Kozyrskyj and associate professor of pediatrics Piush Mandhane, studied bacteria found in infant feces and identified three distinct groups with similar dominant clusters of bacteria. The infants were then assessed on a variety of neural developmental scales. Only male infants with Bacteroidetes-dominant bacteria showed signs of improved neurodevelopment.

Dysbiosis of the intestine microbiota has been linked to autism spectrum disorders in the past. However, the relationship between intestine microbiota and early neurodevelopment in healthy babies is unknown. We conducted this study to determine intestine microbiota institutions at critical stages of infancy and neurodevelopment in a well-known population beginning cohort.

Species of gut bacteria linked to enhanced cognition and language skills in infant boys

The findings are similar to those of a previous study conducted in the United States, which discovered a link between Bacteroidetes and neural development. Bacteroidetes, according to Kozyrskyj, are one of the few bacteria that produce metabolites called sphingolipids, which are essential for the formation and structure of neurons in the brain.

“It stands to reason that if you have more of these microbes and they produce more sphingolipids, you should see some improvement in terms of neuron connection formation in our brain and improved cognition and language scores,” she said.

Cesarean birth, according to Kozyrskyj, is one factor that can significantly deplete Bacteroidetes. Breastfeeding, a high-fiber diet, living with a dog, and exposure to nature and green spaces are all factors that positively influence infant gut microbiota composition.

While the findings do not necessarily imply that children with a lower proportion of Bacteroidetes will lag behind their peers in later childhood or adulthood, the researchers believe the study shows early promise as a way to identify children at risk of neurodevelopmental disorders.

The team will continue to monitor the infants who took part in CHILD to see if the findings can be used to predict autism or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Moving forward, the researchers will look into a number of other factors that may influence infant neurodevelopment, such as stress and gut colonization by the bacterium Clostridium difficile.

“Your brain is very malleable during the first one to two years of life,” said Kozyrskyj. “We’re now seeing a link between its malleability and gut microbiota, which I think is very important.”

They then assessed the babies on a variety of neural developmental scales. The only male babies with Bacteroidetes-dominant microorganism demonstrated stronger neurodevelopment symptoms among the ones corporations. The group will work with the babies participating in CHILD to determine whether the findings indicate autism or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Moving forward, the researchers will look into a variety of factors that can affect neurodevelopment in babies, such as pressure and bacterial colonization of the intestine by the bacterium Clostridium difficile.