Deadly infant intestinal disease studied
A groundbreaking study now under way will determine the best combination of pre- and probiotic supplements to give to premature infants to prevent a deadly intestinal disease, according to lead researcher Mark Underwood, assistant clinical professor of neonatology at UC Davis Children's Hospital. The study is a novel approach to the primary prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), the third-leading cause of death among preemies. The study is unique because it combines the expertise of UC Davis neonatologists with the expertise of researchers in the departments of Chemistry and Viticulture and Enology who specialize in research on the bacteria enriched by human milk. The department's researchers have been examining the components of human milk that previously had no known nutritional value to the infant but now appear to nourish healthy bacteria in the intestine.