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Bacteria in Baby's Belly May Influence Growth, Study Says

Infants' early growth is influenced by the types of bacteria in their digestive system, a new study says.

A variety of bacteria quickly populate the sterile digestive tract of a newborn. Norwegian researchers identified connections between specific types of bacteria and infant growth rates.

For their study, published May 9 in the journal PLoS Computational Biology, the researchers examined stool samples from 218 babies and developed a method to identify specific points in time when the presence of certain bacteria is associated with growth.

For example, the study found that detection of Bacteroides species when a male infant is 30 days old is significantly associated with reduced growth. In contrast, the presence of E. coli species between ages 4 days to 1 month is linked with normal growth in male and female infants.
 
 

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