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Medical News & Perspectives
June 7, 2016

In Infants With Necrotizing Enterocolitis, Gut Dysbiosis Precedes Disease

JAMA. 2016;315(21):2264-2265. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.4341

When Edward McCabe, MD, PhD, was a pediatric resident in the mid-1970s, he often treated preterm infants with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). “It’s a horrible disease,” he said. Forty years later, when he retired from clinical practice in 2012, few strides had been made in prevention, treatment, or mortality. The lack of significant advances to prevent or treat NEC in fragile preterm infants is frustrating to clinicians who care for them, McCabe said.

“There have been lots of studies on [causes and treatments] with essentially no change in mortality,” said McCabe, the senior vice president and chief medical officer for the March of Dimes. Currently, about 12% of preterm infants weighing less than 1500 g develop NEC, and about one-third die from sepsis or other complications (Gephart SM et al. Adv Neonatal Care. 2012;12[2]:77-87; http://1.usa.gov/21IRhiH).

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