Breastfeeding may influence immune system development in early life Medical News Today

February 22, 2015 8:07 AM

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The research team, including Dr. Christine Cole Johnson, chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, MI, says the findings further support the "hygiene hypothesis" - the idea that early childhood exposure to pathogens affects later-life risk of disease.

"For years now, we've always thought that a sterile environment was not good for babies. Our research shows why. Exposure to these micro-organisms, or bacteria, in the first few months after birth actually help stimulate the immune system," says Dr. Johnson.

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