For the microbiomes of our future

Picture of a baby with bacteria visualized on it.
University of Utah (Learn Genetics)

The vaginal microbiome: We live in a world of microbes, and yet we are still learning new things about these millions of ‘germs’ every day and how they influence us, but what about our children? New research suggests a mother’s stress during pregnancy could be another puzzle piece in the development of baby’s microbiome and brain. According to the CDC nearly 4 million children were born in the United States in 2016, which resulted in mothers giving their offspring microbes, whether the baby was born through c-section or vaginally. Recent research (Rutayisire et al., 2016) is starting to show that there may be an advantage to birthing vaginally, as young are exposed to their mother’s microbiome. Continue reading “For the microbiomes of our future”

How Does Your Microbe Community Change During Pregnancy?

Background

The vaginal microbiota undergoes major compositional changes throughout a women’s lifespan from birth, to puberty, to menopause. However, very little is known about the composition of the vaginal microbiota throughout these transitional stages (Romero 2014). So if the microbial community of the vagina changes throughout a women’s life, how does pregnancy change it, if it does at all? Continue reading “How Does Your Microbe Community Change During Pregnancy?”

How the gut microbiome is impacted: Patients with stage 4 hepatitis C virus

Background:

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a liver infection that is a worldwide major health problem. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), they estimated approximately 71 million people in the world with chronic HCV. In this blog I will be focusing more on chronic HCV and how it affects our gut microbiome. There are many different genotypes of the virus, and sadly there is still no pre-exposure prophylaxis available to this day but there is currently much research being done on HCV (CDC, 2018). Following the chronic infection, most people will develop cirrhosis or liver cancer. A large portion of the people who die from HCV die because they have already entered the terminal stages of cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma. Cirrhosis is a serious disease that occurs once liver cells are damaged with scar tissue, when the organ starts to fail the patient will die unless they receive a liver transplant (CDC, 2018). Hepatocellular carcinoma is a type of cancer that is correlated with hepatitis C virus, hepatitis B virus, heavy drinking, iron storage diseases or aflatoxin (CDC, 2018). The most common sources of HCV infection are by injection drugs, using contaminated needles, and transfusions of blood that has not been tested for blood pathogens. Throughout the years there has been a significant amount of research on the role of gut microbiota in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and liver cirrhosis, but there is not much research on chronic hepatitis C and the human microbiome. This is because most of the other research focuses on how alcohol affects the liver. Continue reading “How the gut microbiome is impacted: Patients with stage 4 hepatitis C virus”

The Connection Between Our Personalities and Our Gut Microbes

Image provided by vrx/Shuttestock via Shape.

Background

Personality, according to the American Psychological Association, refers to “individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving”. In short, it’s what makes us us, what makes me different from you. It shapes how we process and understand our individual lives and all the nuances they bring, and in turn those experiences also shape our personality.

Though it may have seemed obvious, there have been recent findings that personality could play a larger role than we may have thought in determining an individual’s health. For example, Youyou et al found computer-based personality judgements could predict an individual’s physical health or even if they’re more prone to substance use (Youyou et al 2015). Continue reading “The Connection Between Our Personalities and Our Gut Microbes”

Attention Deficit in Teenage Boys: Who Would’ve Guessed?

A Brief Background

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, also known as ADHD, is one of the most prevalent psychiatric diseases in childhood adolescence across the globe (Polanczyk et al, 2005). Children with ADHD find difficulties with their inattention, hyperactivity, and/or inability to control their impulses. These lifelong symptoms are caused by numerous neurotransmitter systems and various brain functions. Prenatal conditions such as low birth weight, prematurity, and prenatal exposure to alcohol and/or other toxins are external risk factors. The socioemotional environment during postnatal development and food constituents/micronutrients can also contribute to ADHD symptom severity (Capusan et al, 2005). There are many risk factors in early development associated with ADHD, such as delivery method, gestational age, type of feeding, maternal health, and early-life stressors, all of which have an effect on the gut microbiota of patients with ADHD. Continue reading “Attention Deficit in Teenage Boys: Who Would’ve Guessed?”