New Research Looks at Microbiomes & Ear Infections

Posted On: 09-15-2017
New Research Looks at Microbiomes & Ear Infections
According to new research presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, clues that point to a patient’s vulnerability to ear infections may be located in the middle ear.

Microbiomes, the naturally occurring bacterial colonies in the ear, are different in those who deal with recurring ear infections. Currently, ear infections are the most common reason that children are brought to a doctor by their parents, and five of every six kids has an ear infection by the time they are three years old.

In a study conducted by researchers at the National Institute of Sensory Organs in Tokyo, swab samples of the middle ears of 155 adults and children were examined. All of the participants were having ear surgery because of recurrent ear infections (in 88 cases) or another condition. In patients with a history of ear infections, there were differences in the makeup of the microbial communities.
Researchers are wondering if specific bacteria contribute to dry, wet, or active inflammation, or if some are genetically predisposed to chronic ear infections, which in turn contributes to the growth of certain bacteria.

There is a lot of bacteria living in the middle ear, and significant further research needs to be done in order to apply this information to the prevention of recurring ear infections.

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