But while there's a lot left to learn, the new studies stand out. As Craig M. Powell, a neuroscientist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas who wasn't involved in the research, pointed out in an accompanying editorial: These papers demonstrate a clear connection between the gut bacteria, the immune system, and brain development. The team's next plan is to figure out how to counter this bacteria and prevent it from triggering unnecessarily high production of interleukin 17a. This could be accomplished, Huh says, by finding microbes that outcompete segmented filamentous bacteria. "Perhaps then those bacteria could be used as a probiotic to treat women before or during pregnancy."