What is Short Gut Syndrome?
Brian Ragain, RN
Short Gut Syndrome happens primarily in premature babies when the intestines become infected with the wrong germs, with 10% of severely premature infants developing this disease. It is also known as Necrotizing EnteroColitis (NEC). This is a devastating illness that has been linked to the use of formula instead of breast milk, an increase in the amount of food, and lower than normal oxygen levels.
The research physicians, with funding provided through CMMRF, are looking at stem cells to improve the survival rate of these children. So far, these stem cells are increasing the survival rate to 80-90%. Research has shown that these stem cells can actually produce hydrogen sulfide, a very poisonous gas that every oilfield worker is familiar with. And although hydrogen sulfide can be deadly at very low doses, but these stem cells produce it at an extremely low and steady rate and can greatly improve the survival rate and digestive health of these infants.
Hopefully, with research funded through CMMRF, this horrible disease can become a thing of the past. Now that we understand how and why NEC happens, we can treat it when it happens and maybe even prevent it before it starts.