Healthy Living

Cystic Fibrosis Patients Have More Bacteria—Good and Bad—In the Lungs

The results are complicated

A multicenter study that was recently published in the European Respiratory Journal discovered that young children with cystic fibrosis had a richly diverse microbiome compared to children with other disease, and compared to older cystic fibrosis patients. The findings suggest that over time, the deteriorating condition of the lungs reduces microbiome diversity, though scientists are unable to determine whether or not this a positive or negative outcome.

Dr. Susanna McColley, MD, with Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, believes that the answer is more complicated than simply identifying a trend towards lower diversity as a person with cystic fibrosis ages. She says that “young children with cystic fibrosis have many of these ‘good’ or normal bacteria in the lung. However, in cystic fibrosis patients, these common bacteria occur in an environment where there is more inflammation compared to children with other diseases.”