There's more to malnutrition than poor diet. Two complementary studies suggest that microbes have an important role to play in both the onset and treatment of a poorly understood form of malnutrition called kwashiorkor.
Malnutrition, the leading cause of death among children worldwide, remains something of a puzzle. It is unclear, for instance, why some children are especially prone to becoming malnourished when siblings they live with appear to fare better.
Now Jeffrey Gordon at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, and his colleagues have found that a child's risk of malnutrition may come down to the microbes in his or her guts.