In a recent study published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, a team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania performed an analysis of the gut microbiota of children treated for Crohn's disease, with results showing that diet and anti-inflammatory treatments can change different components of the gut microbial population without completely re-establishing the natural stability of gut bacteria and fungi. These unexpected results could lead to the development of novel strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). "We show that microbes in the gut respond to treatment of inflammatory bowel disease in a much more complex way than has been previously appreciated," said co-principal investigator Dr. Gary Wu in a news release. "The results of our study provide information that could be used to track or predict disease, as well as new diet-based therapeutic strategies." The human gut microbiota is densely populated by microbes from all three domains of life together with viruses. Crohn’s disease results from a pathologic interaction between the mucosal immune system and the environment, particularly the microbiota residing in the gut lumen, and is characterized by altered — or “dysbiotic” — gut bacterial composition. Early onset of Crohn's disease in children can lead to problems including a delay in puberty, weak bones, and stunted growth. These patients usually receive treatment with antibiotics, anti-TNF (an anti-inflammatory drug), or with a restrictive diet that may involve tube feeding. In the study entitled “Inflammation, Antibiotics, and Diet as Environmental Stressors of the Gut Microbiome in Pediatric Crohn’s Disease”, the team of researchers led by Dr. Wu and colleagues Drs.