The gut microbiota is now recognized as a “virtual organ” with effects that extend well beyond the GI tract to help shape the immune system and the developing brain. Microbial dysbiosis can predispose neonates toward a number of serious disorders, including necrotizing enterocolitis, late-onset sepsis, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, malnutrition, asthma, and atopy. Prebiotics and probiotics have drawn increasing attention in recent years as one potential intervention for correcting microbial dysbiosis and improving neonatal and infant health.
In this educational podcast, Dr. Roger Soll discusses the pivotal role of the microbiome and gut microbiota in neonatal health and development, as well as the factors that influence early microbiota development. Data from recent studies on the use of probiotics and prebiotics in the NICU for correcting microbial dysbiosis are presented, as are the potential implications of these data for routine clinical practice.