Bacteria may transfer mom's stress to fetus

Expecting mice under pressure passed altered microbes to their pups, affecting the babies’ brains

By Laura Sanders, 17:58 PM November 12, 2013

SAN DIEGO — When stress during pregnancy disrupts a growing baby’s brain, blame bacteria. Microbes take part in an elaborate chain reaction, a new study finds: First, stress changes the populations of bacteria dwelling in a pregnant mouse’s vagina; those changes then affect which bacteria colonize a newborn pup’s gut; and the altered gut bacteria change the newborn’s brain.

The research, presented at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting, may help explain how a stressful environment early...

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