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Gut bacteria: Each species may need its own kind

Last week, scientists reported on a 5-year study of all the bacteria that inhabit the human body – 100 trillion of them, weighing 2 to 6 pounds total (in a 200-pound person) – and of 10,000 different types, though not all of them will reside in any one particular person.

This week, an interesting article published in the journal Cell points to just how crucial the correct bacteria may be for developing a robust immune system.

Scientists know that mice reared in a germ-free environment don’t develop normally. Their guts look different and they don’t absorb food as well as germy mice.

Plus there are abnormalities in the immune cells and immune processes around the intestine. (The gut is a hive of immune-cell activity, which makes sense -- our bodies need protecting from all the stuff in the outside world that gets in there.)

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