Colic's secret identity unmasked?

July 30, 2009

It's time to find who you really are, colic.

It’s time to find who you really are, colic.

Colic, which can strike fear of an inconsolable infant in the heart of new parents, is understood now to be an inflammation of the gut, which is new to digesting food and providing nutrition. But the exact nature of the inflammation was up in the air.

Perhaps not anymore. In the Journal of Pediatrics, J Marc Rhoads, MD, and colleagues have identified a likely suspct in the various crimes of colic. That suspect? The Klebsiella bacterium, a common organism found through the GI tract and on the skin. In a study of 36 babies, half of whom were colicky, only those with colic were found to have Klebsiella in their intestines. Noncolicky babies had more bacteria in their instestines, but not Klebsiella.

Colic can cause more than restless nights and stomachaches. It’s suspected to be a root cause for gastrological diseases such as celiac disease and Crohn’s disease. And it affect 15% of all newborns. This research may lead to a probiotic treatment for colic, which, if it works, could make three out of 20 new parents very, very happy.