Understanding the human microbiome
Researchers are a step closer to understanding how the gut microbiome is formed, adapts and is affected by nutrition, lifestyle and disturbances like antibiotics. A team from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of California, Berkeley are currently studying and trying to understand how to manipulate the gut ecosystem allowing scientists to design probiotics that could positively influence human health. The researchers are focusing on 12 types of bacteria that they believe represent the diversity of the human microbiome and have been shown to significantly affect human health. These 12 have associations with different conditions including Chron’s disease, diabetes, IBS and colon cancer.
In another recent study researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have identified a by product of gut bacteria that protects against Salmonella. The molecule was found to inhibit the growth of Salmonella in the Intestinal tract. The researchers believe this may explain why some individuals are better able to fight infection by Salmonella. “Humans differ in their response to bacterial infections. Some people get infected and some don’t, some get sick and others stay healthy, some spread the infection while others clear it,” said Denise Monack phD, professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford.