Recently in the news
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.
Scientific American, Esther Ngumbi
Global soils already hold three times as much carbon as exists in the atmosphere, and there’s room for much more. According to a recent study in Nature, enhanced carbon storage in the world’s farmland soils could reduce greenhouse gas concentrations by between 50 and 80 percent. Read more
The Week, Web Desk
Why do some babies react to perceived danger more than others? According to new research from Michigan State University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, part of the answer may be found in a surprising place: an infant’s digestive system. Read more
The Scientist, Abby Olena
“What is exciting to me about this paper is that it provides evidence, not only that there is microbial exposure in utero . . . but that it is important for education of the developing fetal immune system—especially memory T cells, which are important then for preparing the newborn to deal with additional antigenic exposures, microbial exposures, and possible infectious pathogenic exposures,” Read more
HuffPost, Natasha Hinde
His study suggests gut transit times are a more informative marker of your gut microbiome function than traditional measures used currently, such as the Bristol stool chart. (You might remember this from a trip to your GP. The poster shows you different poo types, from hard, rabbit-like rocks to runny sludge. Patients are asked to pick which one of these seven types they are.) Read more
Cornell Chronicle, David Nutt
A Cornell-led collaboration has been awarded a five-year, $3.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to explore the ways that the gut microbiome – that mass of microorganisms inside us all – impacts bone quality. Their findings could potentially lead to the creation of a microbiome-based therapeutic for improving bone health. Read more
Wall Street Journal, Fiorella Valdesolo
A properly functioning skin microbiome, composed of bacteria known also as skin flora, is critical to skin’s health: It fortifies the skin’s barrier, trapping moisture, shielding against infection and environmental aggressors and reducing inflammation. When the microbiome is lacking in good bacteria, the skin’s barrier function is compromised. The result is what Bowe calls “leaky skin,” her riff on the term “leaky gut,”. Read more
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.
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 Esse, Aurelia, Mother 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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