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Diabetes Discoveries & Practice Blog

Type 1 Diabetes Study Sheds Light on Development of Infant Microbiome

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Mother breastfeeding her child

NIDDK-funded study shows the importance of breastfeeding in the development of the infant microbiome.

New results from The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY) study, one of the largest-ever clinical microbiome studies in infants, show that breastfeeding, including breastfeeding supplemented with formula or solid foods, was the most important factor in determining how the gut microbiome developed in the first years of life.

Supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the TEDDY study has been collecting data at multiple sites in the U.S. and Europe with the goal of understanding what triggers development of type 1 diabetes in a child who is genetically at higher risk.

These latest results show that infants fed breast milk had higher levels of probiotic bacteria in the gut until breastfeeding stopped. The study team also described three distinct phases of human microbiome development during the first four years of life. Birth mode also influenced microbiome development, although to a lesser extent.

These results and a companion paper describing the genetic make-up of the infant microbiomes in relation to type 1 diabetes and islet autoimmunity were published on October 24 in the journal Nature. For more information, visit the TEDDY study website.

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