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Gut Feeling

Surprised baby

Gut Feeling

Why do some babies react to perceived danger more than others?

According to new research from Michigan State University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, part of the answer may be found in a surprising place: an infant’s digestive system. 

The human digestive system is home to a vast community of microorganisms known as the gut microbiome. 

The MSU-UNC research team discovered that the gut microbiome was different in infants with strong fear responses and infants with milder reactions. 

These fear responses— how someone reacts to a scary situation—in early life can be indicators of future mental health. And there is growing evidence tying neurological well-being to the microbiome in the gut. 

The new findings suggest that the gut microbiome could one day provide researchers and physicians with a new tool to monitor and support healthy neurological development. 

Learn more: Bacteria are connected to how babies experience fear

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