Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Every Man Is an Island (of Bacteria)

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the outnumbered-by-your-gut dept.

Medicine 193

Shipud writes "There are ten times more bacterial cells in our body than our own cells. Most of them are located in our guts, and they affect our well-being in many ways. A group at Washington University has recently reported that although our gut microbes perform similar functions, it appears that different people have completely different compositions of gut bacteria: every man is an island, a unique microbial ecosystem composed of completely different species. One conclusion is that the whole division of bacteria into species may well be over-used in biomedicine."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

haha (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631135)

sex with ducks

Re:haha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631291)

Isn't it lonely?

Re:haha (1, Funny)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631607)

I'm offended. Sex with ducks is NEVER redundant. What are you implying, mods?!?

Re:haha (0, Offtopic)

Missing_dc (1074809) | more than 5 years ago | (#26632635)

sex with ducks

Is that some kind of crude attempt at a duck-roll?

the whole division of bacteria into species may be (3, Interesting)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631171)

overrated? That doesn't even make sense. Even if the features of most colonies bacteria are completely unique, that would only indicate a requirement even deeper seperation by individual feature. (i.e. metabolization of a particular substance into sugar by using a particular amino acid reaction)

Re:the whole division of bacteria into species may (1, Informative)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631233)

Agreed but only under the condition that I can't read the article because it's been slashdotted.

Anyway, different pathogenic bacteria have certain antibacterial medicines that they're susceptible to and others that their not. Ergo, division of bacteria into separate species is not overused but necessary.

Re:the whole division of bacteria into species may (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631573)

Agreed but only under the condition that I can't read the article because it's been slashdotted.

Anyway, different pathogenic bacteria have certain antibacterial medicines that they're susceptible to and others that their not. Ergo, division of bacteria into separate species is not overused but necessary.

Actually, with the abundant transfer of both virulence and drug resistance, more bugs that were previously non-virulent and / or not drug resistant are getting those traits. Therefore, for medicine, functional assays are more useful than phylotyping (determining species composition). Also, RTFA (not slashdotted, just read it myself). TFA talks about the bacterial ecosystem that affects body weight, not about pathogens.

Re:the whole division of bacteria into species may (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631737)

"division of bacteria into separate species is not overused but necessary"

We are effectively living symbiotically with some of these other bacteria. But then again, ever since our ancestors became multicellular organisms, each of the organism's own cells were living symbiotically with each other.

Re:the whole division of bacteria into species may (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26632909)

Agreed but only under the condition that I can't read the article because it's been slashdotted.

You say that like it matters.... ?

Re:the whole division of bacteria into species may (4, Interesting)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631629)

In terms of the animal kingdom, the concept of 'species' may easily be understood in terms of the concept of breeding. When two organisms cannot produce fertile offspring, they are separate species. This is a well defined barrier. A population does not become a new species overnight.

In terms of bacteria, they can become what might be termed a new species overnight. In the case of this article, they're noting that though the bacteria may be dissimilar at a genetic level, at a morphological level they are essentially the same, hence the question of the value of the species idea. We all have different species of bacteria living inside of us, but they all do the same basic things.

Re:the whole division of bacteria into species may (4, Interesting)

duh P3rf3ss3r (967183) | more than 5 years ago | (#26632559)

In terms of the animal kingdom, the concept of 'species' may easily be understood in terms of the concept of breeding. When two organisms cannot produce fertile offspring, they are separate species. This is a well defined barrier. A population does not become a new species overnight.

This is an incredible oversimplification, especially when you realise that asexual reproduction is very common in the animal kingdom. The idea you quote is often cited but is, in itself, an insufficient criterion. For example, there are organisms which can interbreed and can produce fertile offspring that are clearly considered separate species by any objective measure. In many species, lots of individuals are incapable of interbreeding with lots of individuals of the same species. Interbreeding is a complex thing that synthesises anatomical, behavioural, geographical and genetic components. A failure in any of these can cause a failure to interbreed which does not necessarily equate to a different species. There are also complexes of closely related species that interbreed frequently and produce fertile offspring but they are still distinct species.

In any case, TFA is about bacteria and not animals. The principle of using inability to interbreed as a definition of species in animals is even more removed from reality in bacteria which often share genetic material across species, even species that are not closely related.

Finally, the postulate that two creatures that are functionally similar within a diverse community, despite genetic dissimilarity, might not be considered different species is simply ludicrous. For example, in fish community assemblages, there are normally planktivores and piscivores. From a broad community perspective, the top-level piscivores all perform precisely the same function. No one, however, would argue that that makes them the same species. By way of illustration, the lake trout in a salmonid/coregonid community fulfills the same functional role as the northern pike in an esocid/coregonid community. That doesn't make lake trout and northern pike the same species.

Dear god stop splitting text across subject and (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26632079)

body!

My initial reaction to your post was that that was the moderation you hoped for.

Full of it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631185)

Yes folks, every man is full of shit in a unique way! Yes, I said "man". Women don't shit or fart, and probably have no bacteria in their colons either.

Re:Full of it (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631253)

That could explain why they're vitamin deficient...

Not news (1, Informative)

PeterPlan (1304775) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631191)

Common knowledge you can find in most microbiology or immunology textbooks.

Re:Not news (2, Insightful)

nbauman (624611) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631383)

Many /. readers never took biology, or if they did they were drunk or stoned when they came to class.

Re:Not news (1)

rk (6314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26632517)

Guilty as charged. Biology is my weakest science by far. Only took the one quarter required by my high school at the time, and wimped out taking environmental science to satisfy my bioscience college requirement.

But if you met my bat-shit loco biology teacher in high school I think you'd understand. I suspect his knowledge of biology came from comparative organic compound ingestion. It was made more scary that he was also my driver ed teacher.

Re:Not news (5, Interesting)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631395)

I heard about it in the radio (assuming it was the same research, I heard it about 2 weeks ago), and what I found interesting was the caloric intake for different foods was dramatically different for different people (based on stomach biology).

Re:Not news (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 5 years ago | (#26632045)

Sweet, so if I'm unconditionally skinny, does that mean that fatties are going to be paying me to drink my vomit any day soon?

Re:Not news (2, Funny)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26632191)

Let's hope so...

Re:Not news (5, Insightful)

Nimloth (704789) | more than 5 years ago | (#26632581)

I would say the fact that you keep vomitting might be what's making you skinny, not the bacteria in your gut.

Re:Not news (4, Funny)

Missing_dc (1074809) | more than 5 years ago | (#26632689)

Since most of the useful bacteria likely live lower in the digestive system, eating your shit might be more productive for those unfortunate people.

Re:Not news (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26632819)

>>I heard about it in the radio

What kind of radio do you have? Sadly, I can't fit into mine.

Re:Not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26632953)

Duh. I am always annoyed by all of those dieticians expressing weight gain as a precise formula of calories eaten versus calories expended by exercise. It is obviously dependent on digestion and fuel efficiency.

Re:Not news (1)

Mex (191941) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631661)

How about "Stuff that matters"? No? Maybe it will generate a good discussion?

I don't see the point of criticizing in an obvious way (ie "I CAN FIND THIS IN A BOOK") without contributing something to our general knowledge =)

Re:Not news (5, Interesting)

Shipud (685171) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631677)

Common knowledge you can find in most microbiology or immunology textbooks.

Quite the opposite. What you would find in most textbooks is the assumption that there is a core human gut microbiome common to whole human populations. The Nature article refutes this. There are millions of $ being put into sequencing the human core gut microbes, but apparently there are no core gut microbes, and this human microbiome sequencing strategy needs rethinking.

Re:Not news (4, Funny)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 5 years ago | (#26632131)

There are millions of $ being put into sequencing the human core gut microbes, but apparently there are no core gut microbes, and this human microbiome sequencing strategy needs rethinking.

What this paper means is that you can spend billions of dollars sequencing the gut bacteria of thousands of different people and never get the same Nature paper twice. It also means that the number of boring "we sequenced everything we could find" papers in Nature and Science is going to skyrocket from what is already too many.

Re:Not news (4, Interesting)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631687)

Indeed, and this is an understatement. I've been told that the reason dogs can track you by smell is not so much that your OWN cells produce a unique smell, it's more that they're actually smelling your unique bacterial garden growing on your body. Which is also why they need fairly fresh clothing or scent, it changes over time. Another interesting tidbit I was told in microbiology class: every time you made out with someone, you probably picked up new SPECIES of bacteria in your mouth. Of course, he was talking to a classroom of college students, maybe that's not true for dating in a senior center.

Note that I'm not saying that I myself have so much as wiki'd this information. But if this is new knowledge, I've been massively lied to.

Re:Not news (4, Insightful)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 5 years ago | (#26632169)

Another interesting tidbit I was told in microbiology class: every time you made out with someone, you probably picked up new SPECIES of bacteria in your mouth. Of course, he was talking to a classroom of college students, maybe that's not true for dating in a senior center.

You have obviously never dipped your pen in senior center ink, my friend.

Re:Not news (1)

Shipud (685171) | more than 5 years ago | (#26632923)

Indeed, and this is an understatement. I've been told that the reason dogs can track you by smell is not so much that your OWN cells produce a unique smell, it's more that they're actually smelling your unique bacterial garden growing on your body. Which is also why they need fairly fresh clothing or scent, it changes over time. Another interesting tidbit I was told in microbiology class: every time you made out with someone, you probably picked up new SPECIES of bacteria in your mouth. Of course, he was talking to a classroom of college students, maybe that's not true for dating in a senior center.

Note that I'm not saying that I myself have so much as wiki'd this information. But if this is new knowledge, I've been massively lied to.

True. But the thought was that every human would have a core microbime, at least in the gut. Even if there were variances between people, and within the same person over time. But it appears to be that there is no set of core species. Also, you're talking about skin, somewhat different story given that there is a lot less symbiotic and interlinked metabolic activity going on there, so a lot less need of "social engineering" of bacteria.

Crohn's Disease (1)

Digitus1337 (671442) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631199)

I've heard it speculated that this could be one of the causes of Crohn's Disease and Colitis. Can anyone here comment on this?

Re:Crohn's Disease (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631685)

Yes: Frrrrrrp.

Re:Crohn's Disease (4, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631969)

I've heard it speculated that this could be one of the causes of Crohn's Disease and Colitis. Can anyone here comment on this?

Sure, it's possible: We know that Crohn's / Ulcerative Colitis have genetic predisposition - it's certainly possible that a susceptible person's immune system sees a particular bacterium or portion thereof or byproduct thereof and starts down the pathway of an autoimmune phenomenon.

In light of the nature of the pathologic findings in Crohn's disease (see later) and ulcerative colitis, it has long been clear that IBD represents a state of sustained immune response. The question arises as to whether this is an appropriate response to an unrecognized pathogen or an inappropriate response to an innocuous stimulus. Over the decades, many infectious agents have been proposed as the cause of Crohn's disease including Chlamydia, Listeria monocytogenes, cell wall-deficient Pseudomonas species, reovirus, and many others. Paramyxovirus (measles virus) has been implicated etiologically in Crohn's disease as a cause of granulomatous vasculitis and microinfarcts of the intestine[30]; a proposed association between early measles vaccination and Crohn's disease has been largely disproved.[31] Another suggestion has been that the commensal flora, although normal in speciation, possess more subtle virulence factors, such as enteroadherence, that cause or contribute to IBD.[32]

Among the most enduring hypotheses is that Mycobacterium paratuberculosis is the causative agent of Crohn's disease. This notion dates to Dalziel's observation in 1913 that idiopathic granulomatous enterocolitis in humans is similar to Johne's disease, a granulomatous bowel disease of ruminants caused by M. paratuberculosis.[33] M. paratuberculosis is extremely fastidious in its culture requirements, and some proponents of this hypothesis have speculated that the presence of M. paratuberculosis as a spheroplast may confound efforts to confirm the theory. Efforts to confirm this theory have included attempts to culture the organism; demonstrate it by immunohis-tochemistry, in situ hybridization, and polymerase chain reaction methodology; and empiric treatment with antimycobacterial antibiotics. Most investigation in this area has been inconclusive, providing insufficient evidence to either prove or reject the hypothesis.

from Feldman: Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease, 8th ed.

So sure, maybe. Stay tuned.

Re:Crohn's Disease (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26632987)

IBD is almost certainly influenced by gut bacteria. Once intenstinal bacteria are fully understood, it would be reasonable to expect either a cure or a highly effective treatment for IBD.

Does this mean... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631207)

...I can claim my ass as a dependent?

Re:Does this mean... (1)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 5 years ago | (#26632209)

Does this mean I can claim my ass as a dependent?

I think you already can, judging from the size of it.

can anyone explain this with actual science? (0)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631211)

Somehow my body weighs 80kg and yet the 10x as many cells of bacteria only weigh 1.5kg?

Sounds like bullcrap to me.

Re:can anyone explain this with actual science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631273)

cells can vary in size quite alot.

Re:can anyone explain this with actual science? (5, Informative)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631275)

Each of your cells takes up 100-1000x more space than bacteria.

yes, size does matter (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631521)

Was just wondering about this myself... cells are big factories that carry out specialized tasks on a large scale, and contain a copy of the DNA for the entire body. (short of RBC's) Bacteria only need to contain one small set of mechanics for their own life, they're not performing a function for the body and so can be much smaller. All bacteria do is eat and divide.

You've got a box of BBs, and I've got a box the same size, of bowling balls. Of course you have "more" of them. Same box though.

The summary needs to clarify between quantity and volume/mass.

Somehow reminds me of the famous comment, "over 45% of students scored below average on this test!" no, really? learn your maths.

Re:yes, size does matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631575)

If it's a one-point (pass-fail) test, and 19 people fail, and one person passes, then 95% of people scored below average.

You probably have more than the average number of legs, too.

Learn your maths.

Re:yes, size does matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26632639)

Or, the average can be the mode, in which case 95% scored average! Average is just a central tendency, and is usually, but not always, the arithmetic mean. And whether I have more than the average number of legs really depends not only on what kind of average, but on what the sample population I'm being compared to is comprised of.

Learn your maths.

Re:yes, size does matter (1)

professionalfurryele (877225) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631605)

Not sure exactly what your last comment is about.

Consider the following set. (0, 100, 100, 100, 100). There are three primary measures of average. When most people say average, they mean the mean. In this case the mean is 80. The mode and median are both 100. In each case if these were test scores, only 20% of students scored below average.

Re:yes, size does matter (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631725)

When most people say average, they mean the mean.

Incorrect. Mode is closer to the layman's definition. When he talks of the average family, he isn't thinking of a mother, a father, two children and a disembodied leg.

Re:yes, size does matter (2, Funny)

professionalfurryele (877225) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631935)

And so the legend of torso boy continues... He may only be .4 of a boy, but he's 110% heroic, in this weeks episode... Sorry that made me chuckle.

You are probably right, although in the context of test scores I'm not convinced. My stats are right even if my knowledge of what people are thinking when they say stuff sucks.

Re:yes, size does matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631731)

Incorrect - one of those (median and mode, I can't remember which!) is halfway between min and max. Go fish!

Re:yes, size does matter (1)

professionalfurryele (877225) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631867)

I'm afraid not...

The median is the middle value when the values are ordered. In this instance it is the value 100 as we have five values and the third (middle) value is (0, 100,) 100. Here I interpret below as less than, hence there is only one element of this set less than 100, zero. Hence only 20% of students are below the median.

The mode is the most common value, in this instance also 100.

Re:yes, size does matter (1)

professionalfurryele (877225) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631981)

As a further point, the midrange, the value that is halfway between the max and min is 50. So as it turns out 20% of people in this set scored below the midrange as well.

The midrange sucks as a measure of central tendency (as this data set shows).

Re:yes, size does matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26632167)

That's not a set.

Re:yes, size does matter (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631791)

Was just wondering about this myself... cells are big factories that carry out specialized tasks on a large scale, and contain a copy of the DNA for the entire body. (short of RBC's) Bacteria only need to contain one small set of mechanics for their own life, they're not performing a function for the body and so can be much smaller. All bacteria do is eat and divide.

Bacteria are not as simple as you might think, they carry out some quite complex tasks. Rather than implying they're small because they're simple, I'd say they are small because they're so much more efficient than our own cells.

Re:yes, size does matter (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26632439)

Bacteria are not as simple as you might think, they carry out some quite complex tasks.

Indeed, but nothing like as complex as reproducing a human being.

Re:can anyone explain this with actual science? (1)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 5 years ago | (#26632179)

+ A significant portion of our mass is not cells, bone, collagen etc.

Re:can anyone explain this with actual science? (1)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631283)

Well, there's iron in your blood... :)

Re:can anyone explain this with actual science? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631301)

Prokayrotic (most bacteria) cells are much much smaller than Eukaryotic (your body) cells. Therefore event though you have less cells, those cells you do have weigh much more.

Re:can anyone explain this with actual science? (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631457)

Which makes this the equivalent of "BREAKING NEWS! Humans outnumbered by ants, researchers say. Is the battle for the planet about to begin?"

Re:can anyone explain this with actual science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631305)

No, it's human crap. Not all cells are created equal or the same size; a bacterium cell can be *MUCH* smaller than a human skin cell or a blood cell. Likewise, they could be much larger, of more or less density, etc..

Re:can anyone explain this with actual science? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631307)

Most bacteria are much, much smaller than most somatic cells. The statement is true but uninteresting.

Re:can anyone explain this with actual science? (1)

Artraze (600366) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631319)

Bacteria are simple and do not need to do much. You, on the other hand, have an entire system to maintain. This means things like proteins, blood (water), bones, etc. Also, most (if not all) human cells are quite a bit larger than bacterial cells.

It all adds up a great deal.

Re:can anyone explain this with actual science? (5, Informative)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631341)

Bacteria are a tiny fraction of the size of your cells.

http://www.cellsalive.com/howbig.htm [cellsalive.com] has a nifty little flash movie demonstrating the size difference.

Re:can anyone explain this with actual science? (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631441)

Um, most of your body weight is water. And water is not cells :)

Re:can anyone explain this with actual science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631937)

Most of the weight of an active bacterium is water too.

Re:can anyone explain this with actual science? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26632937)

Um, most of your body weight is water. And water is not cells :)

Actually, the vast majority of the water in your body is found inside your cells, so in fact water IS cells (or rather cells ARE water)

Re:can anyone explain this with actual science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631723)

Geez, get over it, fatty.

Saccharomyces boulardii (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631241)

Admittedly this comment is only half-relevant, but I thought it would be informative for people to read about the many and varied praises heaped on Saccharomyces Boulardii [wikipedia.org] , a tropical yeast which seems to have wonderful effects on gut flora.

This probiotic [wikipedia.org] appears to be (gradually) gaining recognition in the mainstream medical community.

Re:Saccharomyces boulardii (1)

arh9623 (49521) | more than 5 years ago | (#26632221)

About a year ago I was on a strong antibiotic and some probiotic pills helped me out alot!

Hey. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631267)

I already learned this from an episode of House last year.

Re:Hey. (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26632583)

I already learned this from an episode of House last year.

The AC is probably lying
/I learned that from an episode of House too

Our located? (2, Insightful)

reSonans (732669) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631313)

I can't believe the summary got "affect" vs. "effect" right, and "than" vs. "then" correct, but whiffed on "our" vs. "are." That's a new one for me.

Re:Our located? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631429)

Sorry, but I've never known any affective bacteria in my lifetime.

Grammar more dumbfuck.

Re:Our located? (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631933)

I can't believe the summary got "affect" vs. "effect" right, and...

Reading comprehension is good too.

A real user... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631323)

Well, Im a user here, but im going anony because of my topic.

Every man is an island: Bacteria.

I could tell. How? Every person has a certain scent profile about them, even if they cannot smell it most of the time. I know mine when I work outside on a hot day. Some people at work also sometimes have a pronounced smell.. Perhaps its pheromones or something, I dont know. My GF also has one (and no, I dont mean vaginal smell). Like I said, this is one of the reasons why Im being a coward.

Now, why do I know? I had a diarrhea about 2.5 months ago, from being food-poisoned at our local Subway (friend at same, same sickness, assumed food). Standard food poison is vomiting and diarrhea, neither are which are fun in the least. Along with that are heavy sweats. However, I smelled something weird: when I went to #2, I smelled an acrid smell of the faint "pheromone" I normally smell.. It was like whatever bad food I had was killing off all my good bacteria, and I was smelling it.

So yes, I can understand Island of bacteria comment. I could also see linking the specific bacteria to weight gain/loss, BO factor, and other things. It would be neat to see a culture test of healthiness based upon non-self cultures, and perhaps inoculate yourself with other bacteria to aid in true digestion.

Back in the 80's in OMNI, there was a toothpaste on the market for about 1 month before being pulled, that had a plaque bacteria that could not digest teeth (made no cavities). Of course, gross factor was high and was summarily pulled from market...Perhaps they were right, just 20 years too early.

Re:A real user... (3, Interesting)

Jabbrwokk (1015725) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631621)

a plaque bacteria that could not digest teeth (made no cavities). Of course, gross factor was high and was summarily pulled from market...Perhaps they were right, just 20 years too early.

Now, they would just have to spin it right ("Pro-biotic! No artificial whiteners! Organic ingredients!") and they could make millions.

Re:A real user... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631705)

In this day, its as you said. Just slap on there "Probiotic, healthy, and natural! Encourages a healthy and active immune system by reducing the harmful agents in your gastrointestinal tract!"

But alas, it was in one of the biggest "teh UFO's are surrounding us" magazines in the US: OMNI. I still, even to this day, remember the electronic deodorant blocks that 'purify your sweat glands'. Perhaps the tooth paste had true scientific merit, but it was doomed to fail then.

(same guy, btw)

Re:A real user... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631657)

Bacteria do not digest your teeth. They eat the sugar that you consume. It's their #2 (as you called shit) that dissolves the enamel on your teeth.

Re:A real user... (3, Interesting)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 5 years ago | (#26632041)

Back in the 80's in OMNI, there was a toothpaste on the market for about 1 month before being pulled, that had a plaque bacteria that could not digest teeth (made no cavities). Of course, gross factor was high and was summarily pulled from market.

I heard that something like this is being going through human trials right now; a strain of bacteria that replaces the current kind entirely, populating your mouth but not causing caries or other dental complications. For our children the phenomenon may happily be a thing of the past.

With Deepest Apologies to John Donne (5, Funny)

reverseengineer (580922) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631357)

No bacterium is an island, entire of itself; every bacterium is a piece of the intestine, a part of the main. If a Lactobacillus be washed away by the sea, the colon is the less, as well as if an Escherichia were, as well as if a colony of thy friend's or of thine own were: any bacterium's death diminishes me, because I am involved in the gut biota, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Re:With Deepest Apologies to John Donne (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26632481)

best. comment. ever.

So, I'm a self-propelled ecosystem... (2, Funny)

idontgno (624372) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631509)

I'll have to remember that next time I get pulled over for driving "alone" in the high-occupancy vehicle lane.

Can it be used like a finger print? (1)

cenc (1310167) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631543)

So, is it possible to uniquely identify someone say by their shit?

Re:Can it be used like a finger print? (1)

Shipud (685171) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631599)

So, is it possible to uniquely identify someone say by their shit?

No, because the composition of your shit changes over time. RTFA. You are an island, but with a huge population migration turnover rate.

Re:Can it be used like a finger print? (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631817)

But I would think you could get a person's DNA from a stool sample (although I wouldn't want to.) Your body sheds a very large number of intestinal cells every day. There's more bacteria, but there's still billions of your own cells, many with your DNA still intact.

Re:Can it be used like a finger print? (1)

Shipud (685171) | more than 5 years ago | (#26632151)

But I would think you could get a person's DNA from a stool sample (although I wouldn't want to.) Your body sheds a very large number of intestinal cells every day. There's more bacteria, but there's still billions of your own cells, many with your DNA still intact.

Yes, in this case you could use human-specific primers to amplify only the shedded human intestinal cells that are in the feces.

Re:Can it be used like a finger print? (1)

glittalogik (837604) | more than 5 years ago | (#26632743)

A recent example from Australia [news.com.au] - a hotel patron in Sydney found poo in his gelato, I believe after having made a complaint earlier that day. DNA tests and hilarity ensued.

And it's ever changing (5, Interesting)

StuartFreeman (624419) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631617)

I heard a piece about this on NPR about a month ago.  What I found very interesting was that the bacteria help you to digest foods, so one person's personal bacteria may allow her to receive more energy from say a piece of pizza than another person with different bacteria.  Also very interesting was that by traveling and eating food from different regions you can pick up different bacteria and possibly gain even more energy from the foods you eat.

Re:And it's ever changing (2, Informative)

SlashBugs (1339813) | more than 5 years ago | (#26632525)

Yes, and changing the population of gut bacteria in mice can control whether the mice stay thin or get fat.

Briefly, mice with no gut bacteria were innoculated with bacteria from either obese or lean mice. The animals given bacteria from obese mice got fat, the animals given bacteria from lean mice stayed thin. There's a good writeup here [scienceblogs.com] .

The details for humans aren't known, but it seems likely that it's basically the same for us. I used to know a guy who worked on classifying gut bacteria. He was always desperate for samples so almost all of his friends had, at some stage,kept a food diary then provided him with a turd in a box to work on. It's important work, but we were all secretly afraid that our samples were actually going into the construction of some sort of shrine...

Also: farts are gas released by your gut bacteria, not directly from you. So if you have a particularly deadly brand it's not your fault, it's your bacteria.

Re:And it's ever changing (2, Funny)

Genda (560240) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633053)

Though I would also recommend boiling the water in Tijuana, the additional bacteria you pick up there will not give you more energy...

New episodes of CSI comming up (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631659)

....with a nice alternative to fingerprints....

Re:New episodes of CSI comming up (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 5 years ago | (#26632261)

Fursuits? Wait, they already did that one.

back to the past (1)

vajorie (1307049) | more than 5 years ago | (#26632133)

Every man is an island

and obviously, the summary was written in the 40s, before feminist criticism of language became familiar to the mainstream.

Re:back to the past (2, Insightful)

Shipud (685171) | more than 5 years ago | (#26632211)

Every man is an island

and obviously, the summary was written in the 40s, before feminist criticism of language became familiar to the mainstream.

Obviously, you did not recognize the John Donne reference.

Bacteria did it. (1)

ziggorat (1460801) | more than 5 years ago | (#26632511)

This would explain why i fart so much.

goethe - 'conceive of the animal as a small world' (1)

johnrpenner (40054) | more than 5 years ago | (#26632751)

We conceive of the individual animal as a small world, existing for its own sake, by its own means. Every creature is its own reason to be. All its parts have a direct effect on one another, a relationship to one another, thereby constantly renewing the circle of life; thus we are justified in considering every animal physiologically perfect. Viewed from within, no part of the animal is a useless or arbitrary product of the formative impulse (as so often thought). Externally, some parts may seem useless because the inner coherence of the animal nature has given them this form without regard to outer circumstance. Thus...[not] the question, What are they for? but rather, Where do they come from?

(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Scientific Studies)

Re:goethe - 'conceive of the animal as a small wor (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633171)

That's just sophistry. Every animal is "physiologically perfect?" Only if your definition of perfect is meaningless...

What does it even mean? (2, Interesting)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 5 years ago | (#26632773)

What does it even mean to break bacteria up into species? They don't reproduce sexually. They take up new genetic material from their environment. It's a bit of a misnomer.

Grr... (1)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 5 years ago | (#26632883)

In a way this validates some claims by my ex wife in regards to my personal hygiene.

this explains a lot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26632887)

My girlfriend is into anal stuff, and I've noticed that since doing some things with her that would get some of her gut bacteria into my body my digestion has changed. And no, I have not changed anything about my diet. I think her gut bacteria has colonized me.

summary has wrong emphasis (1)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | more than 5 years ago | (#26632963)

from the actual abstract written by the scientists:
each person's gut microbial community varies in the [species present]..... However, there was a wide array of shared microbial genes among sampled individuals, comprising an extensive, identifiable 'core microbiome' at the gene, rather than at the organismal ..level.
Obesity is associated with ...[changes]. These results demonstrate that a diversity of organismal assemblages can nonetheless yield a core microbiome at a functional level, and that deviations from this core are associated with different physiological states (obese compared with lean).

Part one means that althought the bacterial species present vary, the functional capacity of all the bacteria, put together is similar - if you compare hertz and avis, they have different numbers of different models, but the function - give renters a car - is similar.

The second part say that there are specific changes associated with obesity; it does not say if this is a cause [changes in bacteria change digestion leading to obesity] or an effect [overeating changes your gut ]

Be right back. (1)

Omegamogo (1388313) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633087)

I'm off to get a patent for Authentication Based on Gut Bacteria Composition.

Our guts are not the same, I know (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633309)

About 3 years ago, I had a terrible meal. Cheeseburger with broiled spinach topping.

That's not the gross part.

I had the diarrhea as I have never had before. It took more than a week for me to keep anything from going through me in an hour or less. But let's not make this alt.gross...

Before that, I had no serious digestive problems. Never constipation for more than a day, nothing to complain about. My wife hated that, she has her issues.

Since then, however, my digestion is different. In almost every way. Some foods just don't work for me any more, the toilet is no longer my friend, and it's just very different.

I have no doubt that 'cleansing' incident sure cleaned me out. My doctor was curious about how I could drink a quart of water and have go straight through me. He let up when I could take broth and didn't show serious signs of dehydration. Drinking 12 quarts of water and broth a day helped... Ugh.

When I could actually keep my bowels for a half a day, my wife started me on a little bit of yogurt to give my gut something to work with. It sure did. I went from 235 to 210 that week. I would not recommend that as a weight-loss regimen...

I've got a different gut biota now. If it can change, it can be different.

No, I haven't been back to that restaraunt. I haven't even been back to that strip mall.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?