March 7 2017

A new study provides more evidence of the importance of gut bacteria in the health of newborn babies.

The study, conducted at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, suggests that exposure to antibiotics in the womb may permanently weaken the child’s immune system and increase the likelihood of lung disease. It does this by killing important gut bacteria in the mother—immune-building bacteria that would have been passed along to the infant during a normal birth. The researchers found that the bacteria release chemicals that tell the new lungs when to make immune cells, how many to make, and when to use them.

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