dieseltaylor Posted August 28, 2012 Share Posted August 28, 2012 Whilst it seems to some that we are a unique species with our own deity for those who believe we are of the animal kingdom this, at a very fundamental level [ : ) ] shows we are part of the ecosystem. On an interesting medical matter: http://www.economist.com/node/21560523/print ...... A healthy adult human harbours some 100 trillion bacteria in his gut alone. That is ten times as many bacterial cells as he has cells descended from the sperm and egg of his parents. These bugs, moreover, are diverse. Egg and sperm provide about 23,000 different genes. The microbiome, as the body’s commensal bacteria are collectively known, is reckoned to have around 3m. Admittedly, many of those millions are variations on common themes, but equally many are not, and even the number of those that are adds something to the body’s genetic mix. And it really is a system, for evolution has aligned the interests of host and bugs. In exchange for raw materials and shelter the microbes that live in and on people feed and protect their hosts, and are thus integral to that host’s well-being. Neither wishes the other harm. In bad times, though, this alignment of interest can break down. Then, the microbiome may misbehave in ways which cause disease. ............ Another intervention, though, allows entire bacterial ecosystems to be transferred from one gut to another. This is the transplanting of a small amount of faeces. Mark Mellow of the Baptist Medical Centre in Oklahoma City uses such faecal transplants to treat infections of Clostridium difficile, a bug that causes severe diarrhoea and other symptoms, particularly among patients already in hospital. According to America’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, C. difficile kills 14,000 people a year in America alone. The reason is that many strains are resistant to common antibiotics. That requires wheeling out the heavy artillery of the field, drugs such as vancomycin and metronidazole. These also kill most of the patient’s gut microbiome. If they do this while not killing off the C. difficile, it can return with a vengeance. Dr Mellow has found that treating patients with an enema containing faeces from a healthy individual often does the trick. The new bugs multiply rapidly and take over the lower intestine, driving C. difficile away. Last year he and his colleagues announced they had performed this procedure on 77 patients in five hospitals, with an initial success rate of 91%. Moreover, when the seven who did not respond were given a second course of treatment, six were cured. Though faecal transplantation for C. difficile has still to undergo a formal clinical trial, with a proper control group, it looks a promising (and cheap) answer to a serious threat. Perhaps the most striking claim, however, for links between the microbiome and human health has to do with the brain. It has been known for a long time that people with autism generally have intestinal problems as well, and that these are often coupled with abnormal microbiomes. In particular, their guts are rich in species of Clostridia. This may be crucial to their condition." A long article well worth reading, it covers in passing, curing diabetes and IBS benefits ...and more. 0 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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