The proposal attempts to address the lack of a simple, low-cost, prospective biomarker for future short stature or stunting. It aims to validate the use of absolute neutrophil count as a predictor/biomarker for stunting in infants. It has been hypothesized that infants in settings with poor sanitation conditions and associated abnormal inflammation of the gut from infections subsequently have poor absorptions of nutrients and loss of supplements which eventually leads to stunting. Neutrophils are drawn to these sites of microbial colonization or are exhausted during the clearing of microbes from circulation. The study tries to establish the low absolute neutrophil count as a measure of mucosal inflammation and as predictor of linear growth in Indian infants.
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