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Baby's Gut Bacteria Can Influence Immunity

Baby's guts have different bacteria living inside them based on if they are bottle or breast-fed. A new study indicates these bacterial differences could lead to differences in their immune systems.

"The findings show that human milk feeding promotes the beneficial microbe population in the gut and crosstalk between these bacteria and the immune system of the infant and are helping us to define exactly why breast is best," study researcher Sharon Donovan, of the University of Illinois, said in a statement.

The types of bacteria in the gut turn on certain genes of the immune system. And there is strong evidence that this has an important influence on the development of infants' immune systems.

The study was published in the April 30 issue of the journal Genome Biology. "This study provides a first insight into the interactions between microbes and the developing infant and how these interactions are affected by diet," Mihai Pop, researcher at the University of Maryland who wasn't involved in the study, said in a review of the study, published in the same journal. "It also demonstrates the power of new experimental and analytical approaches that enable the simultaneous analysis of the microbiome and the host response."

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