Germs ‘R’ Us

There isn’t as much of each of us as we thought. The latest research suggests that each of us contains ten times as many bacteria as human cells — we are, in fact, just a small minority of our own bodies!

Changes in these microbial communities may be responsible for digestive disorders, skin diseases, gum disease and even obesity. Despite their vital imporance in human health and disease, these communities residing within us remain largely unstudied …

Martin Blaser of New York University has been working to identify the various bacteria that live on the human skin and help to form a protective barrier on the outside. Before he started his research it was estimated that fewer than 100 different species of bacteria lived on the skin … Blaser now estimates the number of different bacteria species living on the skin could approach 500 …

Due to their overwhelming numbers, the fact that their byproducts can be found in most human fluids, and the evidence of their potential role in health and disease, it is quite possible that mapping and understanding the human microbiome may be as important or more important to understanding human health than mapping and understanding the human genome.

So remember, wherever you are and whatever you are doing, you are never alone.

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