Study finds gut, immune system benefits to kids growing up around animals

Getting up close—and a little dirty—with farm animals just might help us fend off illness, say scientists who have further demonstrated the benefits of early exposure to a wide variety of environmental bacteria.

A recent study co-led by Zhongtang Yu, professor of microbiology in CFAES’ Department of Animal Sciences, reported that bacteria and other microbes from rural Amish babies were far more diverse—in a beneficial way—than what was found in urban babies’ intestines. And, in a first-of-its-kind experiment, the researchers found evidence of how a healthier gut microbiome might lead to more robust development of the respiratory immune system.

Read more in our recent CFAES Story.