Over the past decade, the gut microbiome and its effects on human health have become a topic of considerable interest in the scientific community and popular media. The gut microbiome is composed of bacteria that naturally reside in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which have an effect on various biological processes such as digestion, metabolism, regulation of the immune system and protection against pathogens. Interestingly, researchers … Continue reading Bacteria may live naturally inside the human brain
by Ilia Gelfat figures by Nicholas Lue Whether you are perusing the aisles of your local grocery store or scrolling through news articles, there’s a term that has been hard to miss in the past few years – probiotics. You might know it has something to do with bacteria helping digestion, but this broad view of the concept might leave you fuzzy on some of … Continue reading Probing Probiotics: the scientific process behind the hype
by Jemila C Kester, PhD figures by Rebecca Clements In the Seinfeld episode “The Stranded,” Jerry is choosing between two cold medicines. “This is quick-acting, but this is long-lasting,” he notes. “When do I need to feel good, now or later?” We often face a similar dilemma when choosing a particular diet as weight-loss “medicine.” With a third of American adults overweight, there’s a veritable … Continue reading Eating for a Trillion: Can your microbiome be the key to long-lasting weight loss?
Carrying diseases such as malaria, West Nile virus and yellow fever, a few species of mosquitoes are responsible for more than one million deaths each year. Certain species of mosquitoes actually prefer feeding on humans, and even show preferences between people. A common wives’ tale suggests to kids that mosquitoes prefer sweeter blood (“eat more veggies!”). However, there is no scientific evidence supporting changing your … Continue reading Why Mosquitoes Like You The Most
Developing cancer drugs is challenging. Often, scientists will find a drug that kills cancer cells in a petri dish but fails to act on an actual tumor. Ravid Straussman from the Weizmann Institute of Science and Todd Golub from Harvard Medical School think that in situ, bacteria can protect cancer cells from drugs. To test their theory, Staussman and Golub mixed some healthy skin cells with cells from a … Continue reading Bacteria May Help Protect Cancer Cells
by Jess Kanwal figures by Shannon McArdel Would you be willing to pop “freeze-dried-poop” pills for a chance to slim down? While this weight-loss strategy certainly doesn’t sound appetizing, scientists are currently embarking on a clinical trial to find out whether such a method could be a new treatment for obesity. Researchers are collecting fecal samples from lean, healthy donors, freeze-drying their stool and packaging … Continue reading A Second Brain: How microbes in your gut may affect your body and mind
Forensic investigators often rely upon the uniqueness of human DNA and fingerprints, but a recent study suggests that many people may also be identified by the microorganisms that call that person home. Thousands of different species of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes live on and inside of our bodies, many of which perform tasks that are essential for human survival. Intriguingly, the compositions of these … Continue reading Of Microbes and Men: How Our Small Sidekicks Influence Human Individuality
Science journalism is an essential medium for keeping the general public well informed about ground breaking and exciting science. But in the process of translating complex research into attractive material for general consumption important details and subtleties are often lost. Unfortunately these losses can result in misleading representations of science, communicating preliminary and correlative data as nearly proven fact. Separating truth from hype isn’t easy … Continue reading The Human Microbiome and Media Confusion