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MIMBLE – Restoring the gut microbiome of children with severe acute malnutrition

Severe Acute Malnultrition (SAM) is one of the big killers of children in many countries, creating a vicious circle of infection and illness. Dairy and nut-based formula foods, mostly made in Europe, are a central part of the treatment, providing all the protein, energy, vitamins and minerals a child needs. Yet mortality remains stubbornly high, with almost a quarter of the children dying in hospital or soon after discharge. This has left many doctors wondering if something is missing.

The MIMBLE (Modifying gut integrity and microbiome in children with severe acute malnutrition using legume-based feeds) project looks at whether locally produced feeds containing fibres from beans, soy and sweet potatoes, can help restore African children with SAM to health by providing food for beneficial gut bacteria. This film was made in Uganda and at Reading University, where researchers have been testing different foods from Africa in an artificial human gut.

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