image by: Liberty Science Center
WE HAVE all experienced the influence of gut bacteria on our emotions. Just think how you felt the last time you had a stomach bug. Now it is becoming clear that certain gut bacteria can positively influence our mood and behaviour. The way they achieve this is gradually being uncovered, raising the possibility of unlocking new ways to treat neurobehavioural disorders such as depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
We acquire our intestinal microbes immediately after birth, and live in an important symbiotic relationship with them. There are far more bacteria in your gut than cells in your body, and their weight roughly equals that of your brain. These bacteria have a…
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When the skin’s bacteria are in balance, protective strains guard against problem strains such as Staphylococcus aureus (yellow), which is associated with eczema and other disorders.
The brain was thought to be a sterile place. What are they doing there?
The link between the gut and metabolic disease is a growing area of obesity research.
Bacteria are at the centre of all life forms on planet earth and are the essential building blocks that make living organisms the way they are.
Both the mitochondrion — found in most organisms, which generates energy in the cell — and the chloroplast — the solar energy-harvester located in plants — can be traced to their bacterial ancestors. These specialized microbes laid the foundation for the biodiversity we live amongst.
Everyone knows the adage about an apple a day, and like other old health axioms based on anecdotal evidence, modern research has basically shown it to be true. The numerous health benefits of apples are known to be due to various components within the apple—the fiber or the pectin, the vitamins, the polyphenols. But a new study in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology finds that apples also harbor a startling amount of bacteria—some 100 million organisms per apple. But far from being a health risk, these bacteria are likely a good part of the reason that apples are so healthy.
We’ve spent centuries trying to kill bacteria. Now, scientists have shown that subtler approaches can work—at least in mice.
Common microbes seem to help treat cancer—at least in mice.
You have a beautiful line: "...microbes are not the enemies of animals, but the foundations upon which our animal kingdom is built." It makes this co-evolution so clear — and also shows how much we’ve misperceived microbes for so long.
Research holds promise for treating respiratory illness and limiting overuse of antibiotics.
Is there money to be found inside the human gut?
Breast-fed milk may nourish a baby’s microbiome in ways that bottled breast milk can’t.
Science continues finding evidence that the bacterial universe in our guts (the microbiome) affects our overall health, though big parts of the story still aren't clear.
The process of learning about our microbiome is in its early days, but even the most tentative results have begun to transform our understanding of human health.
The body’s microbial community may influence the brain and behavior, perhaps even playing a role in dementia, autism and other disorders.
If ratio gets out of whack, the same organisms that ensure our well-being can make us sick.
Your vagina is full of the same probiotic bacteria that is packed into every health-conscious product from yogurt to kombucha. If the vagina is full of good bacteria, and people are eating as much good bacteria as they can, why not eat pussy?
Health care workers’ mobile devices could make patients sick.
In their efforts to find new approaches to fighting harmful bacteria without harming the microbiome, researchers are actively studying how our microbial populations protect us and how microbial imbalances cause disease.
Compared to a rain forest or a prairie, the interior ecosystem is not well understood, but the core principles of ecology — which along with powerful new sequencing machines have opened this invisible frontier to science — are beginning to yield some preliminary answers and a great many more intriguing hypotheses.
Experts have warned that we may be headed for a “post-antibiotic era” in which the drugs no longer work. The drugs have been a literal lifesaver for millions of people, contributing to a dramatic increase in lifespan in the past century.
We may think of ourselves as just human, but we’re really a mass of microorganisms housed in a human shell. Every person alive is host to about 100 trillion bacterial cells. They outnumber human cells 10 to one and account for 99.9 percent of the unique genes in the body.
A study suggests new gut flora-based early warning systems for a potentially wide range of illnesses.
Gut bugs can change the way our brains work, offering new ways to relieve problems like stress, anxiety and depression, say two leading professors.
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Bacteria are the simplest of creatures that are considered alive. Bacteria are everywhere. They are in the bread you eat, the soil that plants grow in, and even inside of you. They are very simple cells that fall under the heading prokaryotic. That word means they do not have an organized nucleus. Bacteria are small single cells whose whole purpose in life is to replicate.
Contagions is a place to collect some thoughts on history, infectious disease and science in general. My primary interests are in the history of plague, and the impact of infectious disease on the Americas. I also hope that this blog will be a bridge between the sciences and humanities.