Does Gut Microbiota Influence Lipid Metabolism in the Sexes?

Background:

Differences between human males and females can be large or small; one of our largest problems in the more recent years may be influenced by a very small thing, or things rather. It turns out that the microbes living in our gut can affect our metabolism of fats (Eldin et al, 2016), impacting fat storage and digestion in the body.

In the paper by Baars et al (2018), the authors investigated the differences in male and female lipid (fat) metabolism, responsible for the breakdown and storage of fats (Goldberg, 2018),  by looking at their gut microbes. These authors are researching this difference in lipid metabolism based on the previous study done by Sugiyama, M. G. and L. B. Agellon (2012) that suggested that microbes and host sex can influence the metabolism. In this study, the authors are testing whether or not the bacteria in our gut has an effect on the lipid metabolism in our bodies, specifically between males and females. Continue reading “Does Gut Microbiota Influence Lipid Metabolism in the Sexes?”

Little life-forms inside your head!

A little bit of background

What in the world is ADHD you might ask? ADHD stands for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and it is a common mental disorder that is found in school-aged children, but can also affect many adults (Parekh et al. 2017)! Symptoms of ADHD include inattention, impulsivity, and/or hyperactivity. If you have ever driven a vehicle without power-steering, you might have experienced the vehicle steering less sharply than what was intended by the driver. Some people describe their experience of having ADHD as if their brain is doing this! With ADHD, you might find yourself having to put in a lot more effort in a specific task just to avoid going off of the road. Continue reading “Little life-forms inside your head!”

Moms and Microbiomes: Making the Breast(feeding) Decision

Background

Parents want to know the best ways to protect and maintain their child’s health. Most parents have strong opinions about the best way to ensure their child stays healthy. The decision to breastfeed or use formula is just one example of a highly controversial parenting choice in recent years. Another very contested issue is the maternal diet during pregnancy, which has been found to have lasting impacts on the child’s health. Continue reading “Moms and Microbiomes: Making the Breast(feeding) Decision”

Which came first, antibiotics, or antibiotic-resistance? A study of Uncontacted Amerindians.

The geographical location of the Yanomami tribe as a whole. The specific village exists in the highlighted region.  (Image courtesy of Viralfast)

Background

The Yanomami people are patches of isolated South American tribes who occupy mountainous regions of southern Venezuela. Recently, a Yanomami tribe of 34 subjects discovered by helicopter, was investigated by a team of researchers who accompanied medical care professionals who were providing care to the villagers. These researchers, Clemente et. al. (2015), then wrote the paper, “The microbiome of uncontacted Amerindians” to analyze this population which was uniquely untouched by Western Society. An interesting topic that this research paper addresses is antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Antibiotic-resistance are the adaptations of a bacterial species in response to antibiotics. Antibiotics are medications that have been developed in more recent times to destroy bacteria cells but not human cells. They do this by targeting specific differences between the two types of cells, for instance, penicillin inhibits the synthesis of the peptidoglycan layer of bacterial cell walls a feature not present in animal cells. Other bacteria have distinct DNA replication processes and some antibiotics are able to interrupt that function as well. This Yanomami population is intriguing because their microbiomes are likely the most accurate representation of an ancient human microbiome due to their isolation from the Western world. The presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the Yanomami gut provides evidence for the claim that antibiotic-resistant bacteria have been around since before the invention of antibiotics, so stay tuned for a persuasive evidentiary argument further down. Clemente et. al. also state that the Yanomami population that is sampled is the most diverse microbiome ever recorded. It is important to understand what kind of diversity the researchers are talking about. The Yanomami show extremely high beta diversity when compared to Guahibo, Malawi, and U.S. populations but exhibit low alpha diversity amongst individuals in the village population. Beta diversity represents the differences in species composition among samples while alpha diversity is just the diversity of each sample. This means that the Yanomami microbiome sample is extremely unique but microbiomes within that sample are very similar, this is most likely due to the Yanomami leading vastly different lifestyles than Western societies and individuals in the village being in extremely close quarters with each other (eating the same food, drinking from the same water source, no waste removal, etc.). Continue reading “Which came first, antibiotics, or antibiotic-resistance? A study of Uncontacted Amerindians.”

Mothers with Viral Infection Coupled With Wrong Gut Microbiome Could Lead to Autism in Offspring

Background

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2016), between the years 2000 and 2012, autism rates have risen from 1 in 150 children to 1 in 68 children diagnosed with this disorder. This disorder is most often associated with repetitive behaviors and social deficiencies and can be physically characterized by abnormal patches in the brain’s cell arrangements (Kim et al. 2017). Since autism is an increasing problem, researchers are trying to find a cause and solution to control the disorder. Continue reading “Mothers with Viral Infection Coupled With Wrong Gut Microbiome Could Lead to Autism in Offspring”

Alterations of the gut microbiome in multiple sclerosis

Image courtesy of Andreu Prados, Gut Microbiota: Research and Practice. The health and contents of the gut microbiome play a pivotal role in immune function and overall human health.

BACKGROUND

Picture this, you are a field researcher who stumbles upon a population of diseased and mutated humans. These humans live in an environment plagued with disease and pollution. The question you have is whether the mutation in the humans caused the disease/pollution or if the disease/pollution caused the humans to mutate. This question forms the basis of what microbiologists are interested in today; is the gut microbiome causal in the formation of [autoimmune] diseases, or is the microbiota the result of the diseased environment in which they inhabit? Continue reading “Alterations of the gut microbiome in multiple sclerosis”

Individual Response to Drugs May Be Influenced by Your Gut Microbes

You probably know someone – or are someone – who says ‘____ drug just doesn’t work for me.’ or, ‘____ drug really messes me up’. Individual response to drug dosage is a pervasive confounding issue in health care. We know some of the pieces of the puzzle; age, metabolism, activity, and overall health are all factors contributing to individual drug response, but what if your guts have something to do with it, too? Bacteria present in the human gut make up what is called the ‘Human microbiome’, and it is the newest frontier in health research. Continue reading “Individual Response to Drugs May Be Influenced by Your Gut Microbes”

A Look at Resolving Milk Allergies Through the Gut

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Milk Allergies affect 2-3% of children in developed countries (Høst 2002). Image from Pixabay user estefania17

Background

Cow’s Milk Allergies are the most common food allergy in children, affecting 2-3% of these individuals in developed countries (Høst 2002). In most cases 45-50% of those affected by milk allergies will naturally resolve their allergies by their 1st year of age (Høst 2002). Milk allergies are associated with hives wheezing and or coughing immediately after consumption and symptoms such as cramps, itching, and diarrhea which take time to develop. A true milk allergy differs from lactose intolerance in that a milk allergy will involve actual immune system response whereas intolerance does not. The reasoning for allergy resolution is quite unclear but Bunyavanich et al. uses her study to connect allergy resolution to microbiome composition. To better understand this work,we can look at allergic responses and digestive issues as a response or the inability of the living microorganisms in the human body’s inability to process these allergens (Round & Mazmanian 2009). Continue reading “A Look at Resolving Milk Allergies Through the Gut”