I think most everyone is aware of probiotics, and, judging by our discussions here, many of you take them. A problem is that we don't really know how to target specific probiotics to a particular microbiome situation, meaning that not every probiotic works for everyone. In some cases, I think we do the equivalent of dropping a tropical fish into the Arctic Ocean. THIS ARTICLE from Forbes looks at how synthetic biology is attempting to engineer better probiotics
THIS SITE has multiple links discussing the microbiome's role in various human health issues. Enjoy!
We all recognize that history's most elite athletes--Jordan, Ali, Gretzky, Phelps, Chestnut (pictured above)--are, well, "different." But how? Is it purely inborn coordination, strength, and grace? Mental acuity and fortitude? Some combination? Well scientists now believe that some aspects of an elite athlete's performance may come from--you guessed it--the gut microbiome. Thanks to the multiple members of halfhuman.org that sent me this info. Check it out HERE!
Thanks to Bonnie Jones for sending THIS ACKNOWLEDGEMENT of what appears to be a clear role between the gut and our brains, along with the reminder that we still don't understand what it all means! Thank you, Mrs. Jones!
Most recognize the name Michael J. Fox as the actor from the Back to the Future movies and a number of other successful comedy programs. Many are also aware that he was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson's Disease back in 1991 at the age of 29, a fact he disclosed to the public seven years later. He has devoted much of his life since to the foundation he started to promote research toward finding a cure for the disease. My grandfather sent me THIS ARTICLE on the Michael J Fox Foundation website, which gives a broad overview of the work being done in the microbiome. Thanks, Poppy!
Note: While the author 's source for the article is here at the Center for Microbiome Innovation at UC San Diego, I was NOT their expert (ha ha)!
Did you know that 2/3 of humans and all nonhuman mammals lose the ability to digest milk after weaning from mothers' milk? This is primarily genetic, but recent studies have suggested that altering the microbiome can improve symptoms of lactose intolerance. Check out this report from CNN.
CLICK HERE to read about the amazing findings in young autism patients treated with fecal transplantation.
Have cleanliness and antibiotics improved our lives? Of course they have...but like most phenomena in the natural world, there is a price. Click HERE to check out the latest from the New York Times.
Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is a very common condition, with 200,000 cases diagnosed in the U.S. each year. You certainly know someone who has it. You may even have it yourself. It is a long-term ailment of inflammation in the large intestine, often with intermittent "flares" of severe abdominal cramping, diarrhea, and bleeding. The cause is unknown, but it is believed that something triggers the body's immune system to be unnecessarily and inappropriately "revved up," causing illness.
Treatments for UC have typically centered around efforts to inhibit this immune activity. Because patients suffering with UC have been found to have significant alterations in their gut microbiomes, scientists and doctors have wondered if, as in C. diff, efforts to change the microbiome might have a role in therapy. Studies thus far, however have been rather mixed and inconclusive.
However, a small, blinded Australian study published last week in JAMA offers more hope. 32% of participants receiving donor fecal transplant went into remission (results very similar to the usual medications used to treat UC), as opposed to only 9% of those transplanted with their own stool. The primary difference in this study design vs. prior ones was the fact that oxygen was excluded from the preparation of the transplanted stool because it is believed that a significant portion of the "helpful" bacteria might be anaerobic, that is, they might die in the presence of oxygen.
While more research is certainly needed, this would seem to be a very promising result!
Researchers at the University of Delaware--collaborating with the energy and environmental research company ARCTECH--have shown how microbes living in the guts of termites can convert coal to methane, a process that could help turn a major source of pollution into cleaner energy.
Most gut bacteria recover quickly, but, as this New York Times article illustrates, there CAN be long-lasting consequences.