The research team led by Dr. Jeffrey
Gordon had discovered that sialylated milk oligosaccharides found in human
breast milk are the key components in aiding growth in gut microbia in healthy
babies. Selecting Malawian mothers with
6-month old healthy and stunted babies, they have discovered that mothers with
stunted growth infants lack the sugars found in mothers with healthy
infants. To verify their findings, the
group compared the effect on germ-free mice, one group was introduced to cultured
fecal microbia from infants with stunted growth while the other group remained
as is. Both groups were fed Malawian diet
with the presence of the sugars. Results
show that gnotobiotic mice have improved liver, muscle and brain development
compared to germ-free mice. Results are
also the same with gnotobiotic piglets.
Read more about their work here.