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While previous studies indicated that preterm birth affects an infant's future brain health, a new study has highlighted that kids who are born prematurely and have depicted a growth slower than expected, have a delayed development of their microbiome, or communities of bacteria and other micro-organisms residing in the gut. Analysis of these infants' metabolism revealed that their bodies are responding as if they were fasting, despite calorie intake similar. The study findings published in the journal 'Scientific Reports' also suggest that the unique makeup of the microbiome in infants with growth failure might contribute to their inability to properly metabolize nutrients thus affecting their overall health. The human microbiome is estimated to have over a trillion bacteria in a single person, with 10 times the number of microbial cells to every human cell. Specific microbiome characteristics play causal roles in obesity, allergy, asthma, diabetes, autoimmune disease, depression and a variety of cancers.