The Alberta BLOOM Preterm Neonate (PTN) Study seeks to understand how maternal, dietary and environmental exposures shape the ecological development of the preterm neonate’s gut microbiota. The kind of microbes that make up the microbiome in the gut in the first months of life have a major impact on the microbiome that will form during childhood. However, we have not yet discovered what specific microbiome features are involved in development of premature babies. Therefore, we are studying the impact of very premature birth (less than 32 weeks of pregnancy) on the premature baby’s microbiome.
The goal of the Long Term Follow Up Study (LTFU) is to learn more about the development of the preterm gut microbiome in the first years of life and how it is linked to immune development, asthma and allergies. While these diseases are very common in children, premature children are at a higher risk of developing them. Despite their heightened risk, very little is known about how the gut microbiome of children born prematurely may impact the development of immune diseases like asthma and allergies. The Long Term Follow Up Study is investigating this by doing allergy testing and collecting samples from premature children born in Calgary, Alberta.
The Alberta BLOOM Premature Child Study (PCS) was initiated to determine the specific microbiome features of children born premature and observe the effect of their microbiome on childhood health and disease development. The community of microbes that make up the microbiome in the first years of life can have a major impact on a child’s health and development. This study will examine the many environmental factors that are present during pregnancy, birth and the first years of life that can change the microbiome present in a child’s gut, which in turn can influence the risk of developing childhood health conditions such as asthma and allergies. The role of the microbiome in this increased risk of health conditions is not well understood, so the Premature Child Study will investigate the association between the premature child’s gut microbiome and possible adverse health outcomes.
The main objectives of the Alberta BLOOM Preterm Birth (PTB) Study are to understand why preterm labour occurs and how preterm labour/birth affects babies. By studying the microbes they may have a role in causing preterm labour this study hopes to help find ways to predict when a mother is at risk of spontaneous preterm labour. This could help to prevent the health issues associated with preterm delivery and lead to healthier babies.