Raising a newborn can be one of the most challenging periods of a parents’ life even if the newborn is 100% happy and healthy. But, if seems that most all newborns get sick far more often than adult, causing parents added anxiety worry about why their child is always sick.
It’s been believed that, like walking and talking, fighting viral infections is something children will develop when they get older. But a University of Michigan Health System study suggests the natural ability to fight infection is actually there very early on.
Scientists learned key cell signals inhibit the growth of essential immune cells early in life. Blocking this signaling could lead to improving an infant’s response to infection.
“What happens at early age is that natural killer cells, like many other immune cells, do not complete their functional maturation until adulthood,” says study senior author Yasmina Laouar, Ph.D., assistant professor in the U-M Department of Microbiology and Immunology.
“During this time we are left with an immature immune system that cannot protect us against infections, the reason why newborns and infants are more prone to infection,” she says.
Knowing that newborns naturally become ill far more often than adults should ease the worries of all parents worrying that their child is sick “too much.”
Source: Reproduced with editorial adaptations from Press Release by University of Michigan Health System.
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