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Media about microbes in us, our homes and our gardens is becoming ever more plentiful. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn about how these incredible organisms support our daily life and how we can best live in balance with them for our health and the health of the planet.

To Make a Building Healthier, Stop Sanitizing Everything

In the Western world, humans spend 90% of their time indoors. The average American spends even more than that—93%—inside buildings or cars. For years scientists have sounded the alarm that our disconnect from the outdoors is linked to a host of chronic health problems, including allergies, asthma, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, and obesity. More recently, experts in various fields have begun studying why buildings, even those designed to be as germ-free as possible, are vectors for disease, not the least Covid-19.

The Gut Stuff: why it’s time to talk about your poo

The Evening Standard, Giullia Crouch

With her identical twin sister, Alana, she founded The Gut Stuff in 2017; an online wellness platform. If you’re already put off, don’t be. The straight-talking sisters are no Gwyneth Paltrow wannabes and their company isn’t part of the ‘eat like me, look like me’ brigade of Instagram. Instead, with the help of a wealth of experts researching this exciting new field, they’re on a mission to bring gut health to the masses. Read more. 

‘Rewilding skin’ is the gentle beauty trend that soothes inflammation and sensitivity

Glamour, Elle Turner

But re-wilding, has emerged as a novel answer to our very modern problem. It focuses on taking skin back to its roots and undoing the intervention of astringent skincare products.

Microbiome-friendly skincare brands like EsseAureliaMother Dirt and Gallinée have all innovated to create formulas that work with our skin’s natural flora – the community of billions of friendly micro-organisms and ‘good bacteria’ that make up our microbiome. Read more.

A Changing Gut Microbiome May Predict How Well You Age

The New York Times, Anahad O’Connor

The secret to successful ageing may lie in part in your gut, according to a new report. The study found that it may be possible to predict your likelihood of living a long and healthy life by analyzing the trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi that inhabit your intestinal tract.

The new research, published in the journal Nature Metabolism, found that as people get older, the composition of this complex community of microbes, collectively known as the gut microbiome, tends to change. And the greater the change, the better, it appears.

Read more.

The Gut-Lung Axis: How Your Microbiome Might Be Linked to Respiratory Health

Discover, Iris Kulbatski

The lungs also have their own distinct microbiota, though lower in number and diversity than the gut. The two-way communication hub between the gut and lungs, called the gut-lung axis, influences the immune status of both organs. Crosstalk occurs through chemical messengers that are produced directly by microorganisms and by the immune system responses that they trigger. These messengers travel via the blood and lymph to help regulate immune system function throughout the body. A healthy gut microbiota will produce chemical signals that suppress inflammation in the gut and body, while an impaired microbiota will produce signals that increase inflammation. Read more.

Distinct Microbiome and Metabolites Linked with Depression

The Scientist, Rachael Moeller Gorman

The human gut microbiome is a world in miniature, populated by a chatty community of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa nestled within various gastrointestinal niches. Over the past decade, researchers have linked disturbances within this complicated microbial society to a variety of diseases.

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is one such condition, but the studies have been small and the findings imprecise. A study published December 2 in Science Advances changes all that with its vivid description of a distinct microbiome associated with major depressive disorder, as well as the profile of molecules these organisms produce. Read more.

How COVID-19 Measures Might Be Impacting Your Microbiome — and What to Do About It

Discover, Carina Woudenberg

Face coverings and social distancing are necessary for keeping the novel coronavirus at bay, but are pandemic-related precautions affecting our ability to ward off other ailments down the road? Health experts may not be able to say for sure yet, but there are ways to balance the two interests. Pro tip? Get outside (preferably a good distance from people who don’t live in your household) and take a deep breath. Your microbiome will thank you. Read more.

One of London’s top doctors on why gut health is so important right now

Tatler, Dr Tim Lebens

In troubled times like these, it is important that we support our gut, to provide us with a robust immune system and some mental resilience.

It is incredibly important to nurture our gut flora early on in life, but equally throughout adult life. The recent germophobic mentality, paradoxically, may be harming us in other ways. Read more.

Good gut bacteria helps human immune system protect brain from infections, says study

Firstpost, Myupchar

It is a well-known fact that the gut and the brain are closely connected with each other. Anything that happens in the brain (stress and anxiety for example) has a tendency to affect the gut and the gut sends signals to the brain when it is distressed.

Now, a group of researchers at the National Institute of Health (NIH) and Cambridge University say that it is the gut microbes that train your immune system to protect your brain from infections. Read more.

Multiple sclerosis: some patients may already hold the key to protecting the brain against viruses

The Conversation, Loran Hayden and Marieke Pingen

A lot of research has gone into determining why the immune cells of MS patients attack the brain. Researchers are especially interested in understanding why MS patients make so many antibodies, which are important for protecting the body from viral infections. Large quantities of antibodies are found in their cerebrospinal fluid (the liquid barrier that surrounds the brain).

In researching this phenomenon, we have actually identified that some of these antibodies can be beneficial as they enhance immunity against viruses. This stronger immune response could help protect these people from certain viral infections. Read more.

New evidence links gut bacteria alterations to autism

New Atlass, Rich Haridy

A new study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances, is shedding light on the potential link between autism and gut microbiome impairments. The research reveals a mechanism by which altered gut bacteria populations can lead to abnormal microbial detoxification and mitochondrial dysfunction. Read more.

Gut Bacteria’s Role in Anxiety and Depression: It’s Not Just In Your Head

Smithsonion, Max G. Levy

Mounting evidence suggests that intestinal microbes profoundly shape our thinking and behaviour. Human trials are now underway to investigate how these microbes boost our overall well-being. If the results hold up, new bacteria-based therapies could expand a mental health treatment landscape that has been mostly stagnant for decades. Read more.

Scientists Discover Exposed Bacteria Can Survive in Space for Years

Smithsonion, Max G. Levy

Framed by an infinite backdrop of dark, lifeless space, a robotic arm on the International Space Station in 2015 mounted a box of exposed microbes on a handrail 250 miles above Earth. The hearty bacteria had no protection from an onslaught of cosmic ultraviolet, gamma, and x-rays. Back on Earth, scientists wondered whether the germs might survive these conditions for up to three years, the length of the experiment, and if they did, what the results might tell the researchers about the ability of life to travel between planets. Read more.

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