Eureka Alert

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Oct. 2, 2018 – The relationship between the gut microbiome and human health is widely accepted in the medical community.

Now, new research shows that the breast gland also has a microbiome, and like the gut microbiome, it too can be affected by diet, according to scientists at Wake Forest School of Medicine.

“Being able to shift the breast microbiome through diet may offer a new approach to preventing breast cancer or at least reducing the risk,” said the study’s lead author, Katherine Cook, Ph.D., assistant professor of surgery – hypertension and cancer biology at the Medical School, a part of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Published in the current issue of the journal Cell Reports, the study utilized a well-established non-human primate model of women’s health to compare the effects of a Western diet to a Mediterranean diet on breast tissue. Female monkeys were fed a specially prepared diet that mimicked either a high-fat Western diet or a plant-based Mediterranean diet for two-and-a-half years, which is equivalent to about eight human years.

The research team found the group that ate the Mediterranean diet had a distinctly different set of bacteria in their breast tissue than


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