The Asthma Culprit

Asthma is a big problem in Canada—and it’s only getting worse.

Dr. Stuart Turvey believes the culprit could be that our kids are too clean. Specifically, his research pinned down four kinds of bacteria that could help prevent the debilitating disease in kids. But, he explains, timing is key. “There’s a window of opportunity to get these bacteria—often within the first three months of an infant’s life.”

Using genomic sequencing, Dr. Turvey and his team will now work to examine the entire community of microbes in diapers from some 3,500 babies. With that, they hope to do two things. The first goal is to develop a test that will predict which kids have a higher risk of getting asthma. The second—and more ambitious—goal will be to develop a replacement of those bacteria to give kids to prevent them getting asthma in the first place. The idea is to provide early life dosing that could benefit kids for their entire lives.

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