LAST MONTH THE Food and Drug Administration sent out an emergency alert: Two people who had undergone fecal transplants developed multi-drug-resistant infections from bacteria in the stool they were given, and one died. Continue reading THE DEATH OF A PATIENT AND THE FUTURE OF FECAL TRANSPLANTS
The Hazda is a small group of hunter-gatherers living in the central Rift Valley of Tanzania, one of the few remaining groups of people left in the world who still collect the majority of their diet through foraged foods. Modernity has still managed to touch their lives, of course, but far less than it has for those of us in the post-industrialized West. For this reason, scientists have long been interested in studying their biology, in hopes of gleaning something about humanity’s evolutionary path.
If the eyes are windows to the soul, they’re open windows, potentially letting in all kinds of unwelcome bugs. To ensure that doesn’t happen, our tears are loaded with microbe-killing compounds and immune cells. In fact, our eyes are so inhospitable that it was long thought they were the only part of our bodies which lacked a symbiotic bacterial community. But now, scientists have found evidence of a once-inconceivable ocular microbiome—and it may help eyes fight off disease.
Body odor is a universal human experience. As such, we as a species put a lot of time, money, and effort into finding ways to eliminate unpleasant natural stenches. But most of us put less time, if any, into understanding what actually causes our malodorous condition. But understanding the processes that create b.o. is the first step to creating a less smelly future.
The subway is crowded–and not just with people. Sharing your commute are trillions of invisible microbes. They’re on the seats, poles, ticket kiosks; pretty much on anything people hold, lean against, sneeze on, swipe, or bump into. “We’re constantly shedding bugs into our environment,” says Curtis Huttenhower, an associate professor at Harvard’s School of Public Health.
Cardiovascular disease can take many forms and numerous causes have been identified. Most of these have been associated with genetics and behavior. Yet there may be one other reason for heart troubles although it may seem highly unlikely.
William Wordsworth was on to something. As the poet claimed, a newborn never enters the world in utter nakedness but instead comes trailing clouds of glory—if by clouds of glory you mean a coating of mostly helpful microbes picked up from the fluids inside mom’s birth canal.