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View Diary: Microbiome research vaults science and politics in reach of Lao Tzu (56 comments)

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  •  but perhaps there are other recent changes too (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joy of Fishes, Roadbed Guy, Justus

    is our microbiome challenged by exposure to novel bacteria and viruses more frequently than in the past? Humans did not travel like they do now as widely or as quickly.. our immune systems and the biome are challenged not only by a dearth of exposure early in life due to improved hygiene which leaves the immune system stunted or imbalanced... then add to that increased levels of toxins both natural and man made which also are likely factors in damaging the usual balance in the microbiome. I had an unnecessary appendectomy in my youth and my digestion has been problematical for the rest of my life (I lived in tropical areas too... and had many immunizing shots for tropical and exotic diseases too)

    Humans are omnivores and evolved as nomadic seasonal wanderers able to thrive on a very varied diet in changing conditions but they ate what their people ate and their ancestors ate... they were tuned to their environment genetically and environmentally. They also interacted with much the same populations of bacteria as their tribe and ancestors did too. And today just as then, we do get "Trained" by the bacteria and viruses we are exposed to in our early years to make the most of our environment and the usual diet of our people... And until recently people would have been part of a local population selected over centuries to thrive on the local food and in the local climate with the local bacteria and viruses..

    BUT in modern times our environments are not as relatively static and predictable as they used to be... we are challenged in many ways both in known ways and likely by many things we have not realized yet...  by many novel and unexpected changes in what we eat and what we are exposed to not all of which we are even aware of yet (or even will be entirely). So it is reasonable to expect some of us to not adapt quickly enough or completely enough to emerging diseases or changes in our microbiome as others... And an aging immune system is also less likely to adapt easily and especially in a faster changing and often disrupted environment on many levels. Digestion may get worse with age due to our bacterial flora changing as our metabolism changes or its relation to our immune system breaks down and many other balances and relationships may be come destabilized or perform less efficiently.

    The fecal transplant insights are an important breakthrough but are we are still in their early stages of fully understanding much of the interplay of our flora and no doubt more complete understanding of how to suit it to each person and improved methods will help a great many people...

    Perhaps we will be able to find ways to reset or retrain our immune system, re-tailor our personal flora or introduce beneficial strains suited to our specific genetics and approach a more ideal microbiome for each person.

    Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

    by IreGyre on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 03:30:32 PM PST

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