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Microbes That Keep Us Healthy Starting To Die Off

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the intestinal-fortitude dept.

Medicine 260

Dr_Ken writes with a quote from Scientific American: "The human body has some 10 trillion human cells—but 10 times that number of microbial cells. So what happens when such an important part of our bodies goes missing? With rapid changes in sanitation, medicine and lifestyle in the past century, some of these indigenous species are facing decline, displacement and possibly even extinction. In many of the world's larger ecosystems, scientists can predict what might happen when one of the central species is lost, but in the human microbial environment—which is still largely uncharacterized—most of these rapid changes are not yet understood. 'This is the next frontier and has real significance for human health, public health and medicine,' says Betsy Foxman, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Ann Arbor. Meanwhile, each new generation in developed countries comes into the world with fewer of these native populations. 'They're actually missing some component of their microbiota that they've evolved to have,' Foxman says."

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260 comments

If we evolved to have them... (1)

Pteraspidomorphi (1651293) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557330)

Maybe we no longer need them?

Re:If we evolved to have them... (2, Insightful)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557386)

I think its more that we are using more external means to stay healthy than just not needing these at all.

Re:If we evolved to have them... (3, Insightful)

JDeane (1402533) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557396)

I was thinking the same thing.

There may be a downside to all this though, from what I understand of digestion and our immune system, it seems to me that when you lose X amount of microbes then you will end up with more of a different microbe that may breed much faster due to lack of competition.

Re:If we evolved to have them... (2, Interesting)

bretticus (898739) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557834)

Basically. If you somehow lost them all in the same proportion, this might not happen. The general problem is that you take, for example, an antibiotic like clindamycin that selectively kills anaerobes of the gut but not Clostridium Difficile. Now all of a sudden you have created a selective pressure that favors the growth of C.diff, and you develop an infection with pseudomembranous colitis.

Re:If we evolved to have them... (5, Interesting)

caramelcarrot (778148) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557456)

Whether or not we "need" them can only be judged retrospectively, and not after a fairly sudden (in evolutionary terms) change in environment before the consequences have worked out - us having evolved to have them would probably indicate that they give some sort of advantage to not having them.

Re:If we evolved to have them... (2, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30558288)

The problem is that the consequences will never "work out" - change is happening fast and will not slow down, so there will always be new data and new issues to worry about.

Re:If we evolved to have them... (0, Offtopic)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557530)

Maybe, but you wouldn't be real happy if I cut off one of your legs (That is, maybe they are disappearing due to factors that are sort of external to 'ideal' functioning of our current bodies).

Re:If we evolved to have them... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30557776)

and I always wondered why people cut off the ends of their penis.

Re:If we evolved to have them... (2, Informative)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557900)

Some of us didn't have any say in the matter.

Re:If we evolved to have them... (2, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30558122)

We do not need them... We ARE them!

They say that wars, hate and greed will kill humanity.
But I believe, that it’s the human arrogance will kill us.

Re:If we evolved to have them... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30558192)

Maybe we no longer need them?

After all, what's really wrong with going into fatal allergic convulsions just because someone waves a bag of peanuts in your general direction?

I for one... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30557332)

am saddened by the death of our microbial overlords (or underlords as the case may be).

Re:I for one... (2, Funny)

Kleen13 (1006327) | more than 4 years ago | (#30558010)

Innerlords, for gods sake... sigh.. It's Innerlords. Trust me, they punished me last night for my insubordination with 3 day pizza.

Re:I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30558160)

I for one can always repopulate you colon if you'd like.

holy penis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30557334)

WHAT A SCOOP!!! I want pictures! Pictures of microorganisms! Where's Parker?

Bought the tshirt (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30557376)

I have Crohn's, as many news studies are showing it is largely caused by (the major symptoms at least) lack of certain intestinal flora. My sister was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis after they found a large tumour in her intestines. So I for one hope more attention is focused on our little commensural buddies.

Re:Bought the tshirt (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557432)

"So I for one hope more attention is focused on our little commensural buddies."

We should do for them what we should do for any life form we wish to preserve, which is breed them.

There is no shortage of domestic cattle, but elephants are endangered because humans want to use and eat them yet make little effort to preserve them in quantity.

Re:Bought the tshirt (5, Interesting)

Tezcat (927703) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557918)

There is no shortage of domestic cattle, but elephants are endangered because humans want to use and eat them yet make little effort to preserve them in quantity.

I hate to play pedant, but that's a poor analogy. Cattle have been bred to mature quickly; meanwhile the never-fully domesticated Elephants of Africa and India rival humans for their long maturation and gestation periods.

Microbes, on the other hand, are easy to breed in quantity once you have established their optimal developmental environment. Once we work out what we have inside and around us and what we need, we could conceivably tailor our anti-biotic intake based on our inherited and environmental differences.

'Intelligently planned' biotic yoghurt supplements may be the next big thing in preventative health care.
/IANA Micro-biologist

Re:Bought the tshirt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30557936)

This right here.

Even cloning will help them at this point in time, regardless of the dangers of cloning. ("eggs in one basket" with respect to infections, one will hit all)
But as long as you keep them safe for at least one generation, that will probably be all that is needed.

Hell, you could always throw in some increased radiation around some of the clones. Artificial evolution is fine too, we have only been doing it for millennia with very slow, indirect methods, why not just do it more precisely and quicker? Radiation is the biggest reason for most of the evolution throughout the history of everything, random mutations. Some lead to disease, some led to "breakthroughs", some just changed the color of hair / skin / eyes.

CAPTCHA: irrigate, very appropriate.

Re:Bought the tshirt (2, Interesting)

Magic5Ball (188725) | more than 4 years ago | (#30558194)

Industrializing elephants wouldn't work out so well for the creatures we know as elephants today. 10 of the 12 Bovini are either entirely domesticated or highly endangered, and the Bos taurus of which we have a billion are not viable outside of highly controlled artificial conditions which optimize for milk and steak. For related reasons, the species of chicken and swine which we have in abundance wouldn't be worthwhile to preserve if our primary concern is ecological health or diversity.

Fits in with the Hygiene hypothesis (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30557970)

The Hygiene hypothesis postulates that the seeming rise in food and other allergies and auto-immune diseases like Crohn's coincides with the rise in hygiene in the developed world.

The immune system evolved in an environment with many more challenges from both symbiotic and parasitic organisms. Excessive hygiene shifts the equilibrium towards the immune system attacking itself.

If fact, Helminthic therapy has shown promise in Crohn's. Infecting patients with parasites or the killed eggs of parasites give the immune system something to chew on other than your own mucosa.

Easy solution (1, Informative)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557410)

Just go back to nature, eschew all this horrible modern sanitation and antibiotics, they are all poisoning you. Of course you expected lifespan will be changed from ~80 to about 35, but at least you won't be destroying our precious internal ecosystem. Come on, take one for the team!

        Brett

         

Re:Easy solution (4, Insightful)

kiatoa (66945) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557466)

Maybe there is a middle road? Reasonable sanitation (ya know, soap up the groin, armpits and feet when showering and all that) but cut out the obsessive stuff. At work we have little things that you can use to spray your hands with antibacterial solution at the exit from stairwells. People take antibiotics "just in case", and so forth.

Maybe less really is more sometimes. I.e. there probably is such a thing as being too clean. No need to swing to the other extreme.

Re:Easy solution (2, Interesting)

spiffydudex (1458363) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557846)

Maybe less really is more sometimes. I.e. there probably is such a thing as being too clean. No need to swing to the other extreme.

I tend to agree. I am more on the age of thinking, "If i'm not dying(sick in bed), I don't need medicine."

My mother also raised me this way when I was a crawling around on the ground/toddler. Out of my friends I always seem to be the one that doesn't get sick hardly ever. I don't know if that is a trend means I am special. Perhaps I was exposed to more bacteria on a regular basis when I was young, and therefore my immune system grew stronger. Either way, it is an interesting trend.

Another easy solution! (4, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557476)

Just dismiss any investigation of it as backwards or some form of vapid tree-hugging, don't study it, and ignore any problems until peoples' expected lifespan returns to 35!

Re:Another easy solution! (4, Informative)

schon (31600) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557602)

peoples' expected lifespan returns to 35!

When exactly was our lifespan 35?

Or are you just demonstrating that you suck at math?

Here's a mental exercise for you:

Say you have 1000 people. 499 of them die before they turn one year old. 499 of them die at the age of 70. Two of them die at the age of 35.

What is the average lifespan? At what age did most of them die?

Our "average lifespan" has been increasing because we're eliminating infant mortality, not because most people only lived to some ridiculously low age.

Re:Another easy solution! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30557746)

Any citations? I agree with your argument, but I've only heard it from second hand accounts. Data would be helpful.

Re:Another easy solution! (1)

linhares (1241614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557856)

When exactly was our lifespan 35? Or are you just demonstrating that you suck at math? Here's a mental exercise for you: Say you have 1000 people. 499 of them die before they turn one year old. 499 of them die at the age of 70. Two of them die at the age of 35. What is the average lifespan? At what age did most of them die? Our "average lifespan" has been increasing because we're eliminating infant mortality, not because most people only lived to some ridiculously low age.

beyond me how you got modded troll

Re:Another easy solution! (0, Offtopic)

spiffydudex (1458363) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557860)

Our "average lifespan" has been increasing because we're eliminating infant mortality, not because most people only lived to some ridiculously low age.

Or we are not considering abortion as infant mortality anymore.

mod parent up (3, Interesting)

bussdriver (620565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557868)

Parent is correct in pointing out this basic failure to recognize the problem with averages in statistics.

In addition, abortions can also be counted as early deaths.

We already save many that would naturally die which has skewed the average even further. If the technology froze, one would expect the average to go down as the genetic defects live long enough to reproduce and increase the defect rates possibly leading to complications medicine can not fully counter.

Just think about it -- a dominant defective trait allowed to continue leads a large demographic of people (or all humans) who have some sort of defect that requires advanced technology to continue the species... The makings of an interesting science fiction story?

Re:mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30557976)

How does abstinence figure into the equation . . . every little sperm is sacred.

Re:Another easy solution! (1)

PenisLands (930247) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557986)

You're a penis master. Listen to me, that person used the number 35 only because the person they were replying to used that number first and was also a master cocker, one who was skilled with the penis. Is this because you suck at reading comprehension?

Re:Another easy solution! (1)

proficiovera (1099145) | more than 4 years ago | (#30558002)

You guys must of flunked Sunday school! Everyone knows people used to live to be hundreds of years. After the flood god switched to Windows and the max lifespan became 120. Most people don't make it to 120 due to lack of user maintenance.

Actually it's both for average lifespan. (3, Insightful)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30558056)

But the average longevity is only going up because of fewer early adult deaths. Longevity only considers those that reach adulthood.

Basically you are flat out wrong. The maximum expected age hasn't moved much. The rates of death for all younger years has been going down for many centuries.

The 99th percentile may have always lived about the same length of time. The 50th percentile are living much longer now.

Re:Another easy solution! (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557984)

Norman Borlaug [wsj.com] - "saved more lives than anyone who has ever lived".

I see your Norman Borlaug and raise you Thomas Midgley [wikipedia.org] - "Midgley had more impact on the atmosphere than any other single organism in Earth's history".

Re:Easy solution (1)

Ozlanthos (1172125) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557486)

If the choice was between keeping my natural microbial defenses and dying by 35, or living to 135 with GPS-trackable nanites, I'd keep what I have and die 100% biological.

-Oz

Re:Easy solution (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557518)

What about non GPS trackable nanites? Are you solely anti nanite, or anti govrnment tracking?

Re:Easy solution (1)

Ozlanthos (1172125) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557698)

Honestly I am against both. I figure if we are too weak to survive without direct technological intervention, (such as "nanites") we are most likely too weak to survive at all. As for the GPS-tracking, I think anything as sophisticated as tiny robots that float about your body keeping you healthy, would most likely be trackable via some means or another. That being said, if they are trackable, "you" are trackable.

-Oz

Re:Easy solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30557824)

It sounds like you have a gripe against technology in general, not nanites. Do you refuse to drink pasteurized milk or consume cooked foods (possibly in sterile containers)? After all, if you are too weak to survive without this direct technological intervention, you are most likely too weak to survive at all.

Re:Easy solution (1)

linhares (1241614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557878)

and here I was thinking this was the wonderful yearly x-mas thread having absolutely nothing about government tracking paranoia

Re:Easy solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30557608)

Is that you, Togusa?

Re:Easy solution (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557620)

You're an anti-nanite aren't you? Bastard.

Re:Easy solution (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557726)

So you've had your fillings removed, right?

(and wtf are you doing on slashdot if you think you can be tracked from somewhere else due to "gps".)

Re:Easy solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30557688)

Or, how about we study the effects of our technology and how it impacts upon our health and the quality of life that we enjoy. Then when we identify areas where our technology is not yet perfected we can look for better solutions. That way our knowledge base grows and our technology improves. There is a name for it, sci...wait for it...ence!

Re:Easy solution (1)

catchblue22 (1004569) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557768)

False dichotomy.

Re:Easy solution (2, Insightful)

glwtta (532858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557848)

Just go back to nature, eschew all this horrible modern sanitation and antibiotics, they are all poisoning you. Of course you expected lifespan will be changed from ~80 to about 35, but at least you won't be destroying our precious internal ecosystem.

What a profoundly stupid thing to say. Unless they are used to treat a specific life-threatening infection, antibiotics don't prolong your lifespan. And nobody is saying you shouldn't treat your Bubonic plague to protect your E. coli.

So yes, you can stop sterilizing your entire environment and taking antibiotics "just in case", and still enjoy the benefits of modern advances in sanitation, medicine and nutrition.

Dumb logic (3, Insightful)

SlantyBard (1040070) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557420)

The logic doesn't follow entirely. Just because something's been there or done a certain way in the past doesn't make it necessary for the future. Clearly you don't want to be born with everything your parents have. That's why we put antibiotics in the eyes of every newborn in developed countries. The antibiotics prevent chlamydial/gonorrheal blindness [wikipedia.org] in newborns. That being said, it's something to think about and evaluate scientifically - so far it's very early to make any decisions about this stuff given the real lack of data.

No antibiotics for me (5, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557426)

Unless I feel like I'm at death's door, I do not go to the doctor. I'll bet most of the people who are missing these microbes have been exposed to a lot of antibiotics. This may also explain why staph infections are turning deadly, and I know it's why Western kids have lots of strange allergies.

The Hadza are the last hunter gatherers in the world, probably. They seem to be doing alright. (Not saying I'd give up my lifestyle, but there are lessons to be learned.)

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2009/12/hadza/finkel-text [nationalgeographic.com]

Re:No antibiotics for me (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557478)

Staph infections aren't a great deal more deadly than they have been in the past, they are less treatable with antibiotics than they were when we first started using antibiotics.

Re:No antibiotics for me (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557796)

Funny, a family friend of ours, who contracted antibiotic resistant staph in his spinal column following surgery, would tend to disagree, given he had to lay there for quite some time with open wounds that had to be debrided and drained. Thank god vancomycin-resistant staph is still fairly uncommon, as otherwise the infection may have killed him.

Re:No antibiotics for me (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557892)

If it had happened prior to the invention of antibiotics, he would likely be dead rather than glad it was only resistant to some antibiotics. The point is that the antibiotic resistance is the thing that makes it deadly, and it is a new thing resulting from us even having antibiotics, the infections were just as deadly when we couldn't treat them at all.

Re:No antibiotics for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30557908)

I think you pretty much missed the previous poster's point: staph was deadly before antibiotics and its deadliness is about the same level today if you don't get antibiotics or have a resistant strain.

In other words, if it killed you in a week back then, it (in those special cases) kills you in a week today, too. It's not a catchier or faster-killing strain.

Re:No antibiotics for me (1)

adbge (1693228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30558134)

Unless your family friend had a staph infection a couple hundred years ago and then another recently, I'm not sure how this anecdote is really pertinent.

Re:No antibiotics for me (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#30558168)

It's not. I missed the point. But thanks for being the third poster to point it out. I wonder who the fourth will be?

Re:No antibiotics for me (5, Informative)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557806)

Unless I feel like I'm at death's door, I do not go to the doctor.

I hope you never get cancer. If you finally go to the doctor when you fell like you on death's door, it will be too late. If caught early enough, most cancers are easily treatable.

Re:No antibiotics for me (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 4 years ago | (#30558006)

I hope you never get cancer. If you finally go to the doctor when you fell like you on death's door, it will be too late. If caught early enough, most cancers are easily treatable.

And yet, if you go early enough, good luck convincing a doctor to run those tests for your non-specific tiredness and pains.

Re:No antibiotics for me (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30558300)

You don't have the concept of routine annual medical checkups?

Yes, let me restate for the hopelessly stupid. (4, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30558038)

Yes, for all of the hopelessly stupid people out there. If you feel like you are sick and you don't have a cold, go to a doctor to find out what it is. If your lymph nodes stay swollen for some reason, go to the doctor. If you have unexplainable pain, go to the doctor. When you get to a certain age, turn and cough. However, if you come down with the sniffles, suck it up and don't run to get Tamiflu and antibiotics shoved up your ass just because.

Christ almighty. I hope they never take the warning labels off small electronics. Otherwise you'll probably end up trying to use your Bagelator in the bathtub.

Re:Yes, let me restate for the hopelessly stupid. (1)

thejynxed (831517) | more than 4 years ago | (#30558334)

Actually, I hope they DO reverse the warning label trend, so we can finally weed out all of the idiots that would stick a butter knife into a toaster to retrieve the toast, for example.

If we're lucky, it would weed them out before they had a chance to breed.

Pushing your neighbor off the cliff. (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30558088)

I hope you never get cancer. If you finally go to the doctor when you fell like you on death's door, it will be too late. If caught early enough, most cancers are easily treatable.

You could say the say the same for hundreds of other life-threatening conditions. Swine Flu among them. But the contagious disease makes you a danger to everyone.

Re:No antibiotics for me (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557836)

Alright by some standard, anyway. Towards the beginning of the story, they mention a man who has lost half his teeth. No thanks, I'm happy for modern dentistry. Later on we read this nugget:

About a fifth of all [Hadza] babies die within their first year, and nearly half of all children do not make it to age 15.

That may be your ideal, but for me there are advantages to modernity.

Idolizing the Hadza is like those people who never take their pets to the vet, because the animals don't go to the vet in the wild. It's true animals don't go to the vet in the wild, but they also have shorter life spans.

Interesting article, btw. Glad you posted it. But doctors do good things.

Re:No antibiotics for me (1)

velja27 (1427879) | more than 4 years ago | (#30558274)

The man who has lost half of his teeth is 60 or something years old and in modern society rare are the people that don't lose teeth at all most of them get braces with new artificial teeth. Well the children that live will pass on the genes that helped them live and thus improve the generations to come. Their live span is also shortened by interaction with other animals and not only by lack of proper medical intervention.

Re:No antibiotics for me (1)

vakuona (788200) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557840)

I have thought about the allergies thing, and whilst it might be that the sterile environments lead to increased allergies, it might just be that back in the day, we didn't test for allergies, so we had lots of unexplained deaths in infants. Nowadays, kids are assessed for allergies pretty much on birth, so we can avoid exposing them to allergens rather earlier, and thus there is the appearance of an allergy epidemic.

Re:No antibiotics for me (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557852)

The reason why staph infections can be worse now then in the past is two fold. The first is because hospitals are pushed to be super-clean environments. This first part allows very hardy bacteria to thrive where they normally wouldn't. The second is when antibiotics are given, a lot of people don't take them to the full duration. This second part causes a lot of issues as people are building on top of the chain.

As well the prevelence of anti-bacterial hand washes/wipes/dish soaps/etc are highly damaging to a safe environment. If you goto a hospital or doctors office you won't find antibacterial washes, you'll find microbicide. Let me say this first, thanks a lot flapping heads(I mean sales guys) you're fuckin' us all.

Oh allergies? Yeah. Get yourself outside and eat some dirt. It does a body good.

Re:No antibiotics for me (1)

Eternauta3k (680157) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557930)

Unless I feel like I'm at death's door, I do not go to the doctor

What about cancer, cavities, hypertension and such?

I, for one... (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557434)

regret the defeat of our former microbial underlords.

Hey!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30557462)

Hey, here is another thing we haven't thought much about. I don't know how it would affect us, but it could be, like, super heavy important.

Re:Hey!! (1)

linhares (1241614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557922)

Hey, here is another thing we haven't thought much about. I don't know how it would affect us, but it could be, like, super heavy important.

yeah dude like they have been with us for millions of years and they do lots of stuff we don't know well and there are plenty of interaction effects and... Well I could go on, but there's so much village idiot bait one can take per day.

mother nature (5, Insightful)

mikey177 (1426171) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557468)

this is why we need to let our children interact with other people and go out and play in the dirt. I did and let me tell you, I do still get sick but not as much as some of my friends who had lived sheltered lives with there parents who thought that every little cold they got they would need to go to the doctors to be treated for it. we now live in a world with Sissies who can't take life's discomforts like there parents.

Re:mother nature (1)

bretticus (898739) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557770)

And get off my lawn! </sarcasm>

Anyway, I look forward to your RCT comparing not being a sissy to placebo.

Re:mother nature (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 4 years ago | (#30558162)

this is why we need to let our children interact with other people and go out and play in the dirt.

Common sense would also suggest we should let them play with animals as well as dirt. It's the adults who didn't have any pets as kids that suffer from pet allergies.

Re:mother nature (1)

adbge (1693228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30558180)

Not only interaction with other people, but animals too.

Re:mother nature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30558208)

this is why

This

who had lived sheltered lives with there parents who thought that every little cold they got

  1. their
  2. This sentence sounds like a run-on after the 2nd subordinant clause starting with "who."

it. we

We

with Sissies

sissies. Last I checked, "sissy" isn't a proper noun, except to some people who like shemales or what-have-you.

like there parents.

their

So what you're saying is that:

  1. Being feminine is bad (or whatever you meant by "Sissy" [sic]).
  2. Playing in the dirt makes one masculine.
  3. ...
  4. Even the girls will be manly men among men! Profit!

Re:mother nature (1)

Paracelcus (151056) | more than 4 years ago | (#30558290)

I had TB & polio as a kid, and when I was hospitalized I acquired a massive staff infection with huge open sores, all this BEFORE the widespread adoption of penicillin! I was moved to Kings county general where I was given massive doses of the (then) fairly new antibiotic.

In short, don't knock modern medicine, your grandparents who didn't have it suffered terribly without it!

fags are a bio hazard! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30557484)

they like sperm up their ass. hopefully they get the aids and die!!!!!!!!

DIE FAGGOTS!!!!

They're very useful... (4, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557504)

The presence of neutral microbes offers resource competition against random microbes taking up residence, especially harmful ones.

Since there is competition, new Microbes of any sort, are less likely to flourish unchecked, than if there was no competition.

Think of how many computer users would be using MacOS or Linux KDE, if Windows didn't exist, or if Microsoft were to suddenly drop dead and stop making new versions of Windows that were successful at competing for placement on people's computers.

The loss/extinction of some of these neutral, or even beneficials microbes could be quite bad, if it makes humans more vulnerable to spontaneous intrusion by others and digestive system issues.

The less diversity in the neutral microbes... the more likely that a malicious microbe releases one toxin that happens to kill them all.

Re:They're very useful... (2, Funny)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557542)

Lol you just equated Macs and Linux to harmful microbes, id hunker down and wait for the down modding from mac and linux mods, but you may just recieve positive mod points from the windows fanboys. On a side note, can you kill windows with antibiotics?

Fake 'Science' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30557508)

Don't believe a word of it, unless you buy the stock or are a patent holder.

No facts (1)

sgt101 (120604) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557512)

Reading the original article, I notice a complete lack of facts. Were there any statistics about relative declines in gut flora in various populations? Or particular flora that are disappearing.

I find the hypothesis pretty unlikely to be honest, but that can be a good thing in hypothesis... if someone can start presenting some facts to back it up.

Re:No facts (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557882)

Yes, that struck me too. For Scientific American, I thought it was pretty weak. A bunch of conjectures and a scary conclusion. We are changing our gut flora, but it is an open question as to whether or not this is a bad thing. Certainly we should avoid over prescribing of antibiotics, but we knew that.

100 Trillion Microbial Cells? (2, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557568)

The human body has some 10 trillion human cells--but 10 times that number of microbial cells.

That supposed total of 110 trillion cells overall weigh about 150 pounds. Are the microbial cells really something like 1% the weight on average of a human cell? 100 trillion microbial cells seems hard to believe.

Re:100 Trillion Microbial Cells? (5, Informative)

glwtta (532858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557680)

Are the microbial cells really something like 1% the weight on average of a human cell?

Yes, they are. See Procaryote [wikipedia.org] vs Eukaryote [wikipedia.org] .

Re:100 Trillion Microbial Cells? (1)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557924)

Are the microbial cells really something like 1% the weight on average of a human cell?
Yes, they are. See Procaryote [wikipedia.org] vs Eukaryote [wikipedia.org] .

It's a small world after all.

Re:100 Trillion Microbial Cells? (4, Informative)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557808)

Think back to high school, doc. Remember the parts of a human cell?

One of 'em, the mitochondria, is essentially a specially-evovled bacteria used to help your cell produce energy. It's easily less than 1/10th the size of the whole cell. Maybe 1/20th, or even 1/100th, for very big cells.

And not all cells are the same size. You have some cells in your body that stretch for the better part of a yard, and if you're a woman you produce one certain cell every four weeks or so that's almost big enough to be seen with the naked eye.

Farewll then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30557598)

midi-chlorians

Eat at White Castle (2, Funny)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557676)

Consuming a few "sliders" will re-populate lots of gastro-intestinal things.

Re:Eat at White Castle (2, Informative)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557786)

Consuming a few "sliders" will re-populate lots of gastro-intestinal things.

            Great idea, with one minor issue - projectile diarrhea kills more people each year than AIDs.

       

My BS meter is going off. (1)

MattSausage (940218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557880)

This summary is suggesting that our bodies house 110,000,000,000,000 cells total? Why do I find that hard to believe? 110 TRILLION?? really? Could i see some math on that please?

Re:My BS meter is going off. (2, Informative)

pydev (1683904) | more than 4 years ago | (#30558238)

Wet mass of an E. Coli cell is about 1 pg (pico-gram), or 10^-12 g. So, 110 trillion cells is about 100g of bacteria (1/5th of a pound); most of those are in your gut, the rest on your skin and mucous membranes. (The insides of your body are sterile for the most part.)

NOOOOES (3, Interesting)

hldn (1085833) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557902)

NOT MY MIDI-CHLORIANS!!

How will this affect the Colon Cleansing Industry? (1)

electricprof (1410233) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557940)

*GASP* I shudder to think how this will affect the growing colon cleasing industry. Will it be destroyed or will the industry adapt with new "microbial ecosystem replacement" products?

Re:How will this affect the Colon Cleansing Indust (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30558360)

I take it you never heard the radio ads for "nature's healthy trinity" (an intestinal flora repopulating capsule product consisting of three bacterial lines that you'll find in most brands of yogurt.)

In fact many brands of yogurt contain five beneficial bacterial lines and are a fine way to repopulate your gut if the antibiotics (or "colon cleansing") have thrown the population out of balance.

The US (0, Offtopic)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 4 years ago | (#30557956)

Obviously the USA - whether they knew it or not - is 100% to blame. We should tax them and redistribute the wealth to those less fortunate to make up for it.

Repopulating in your local microbal ecosystems (2, Interesting)

kowala (1707988) | more than 4 years ago | (#30558032)

This is a good a reason to breed your own microbes contained within Home brewed Beer and Wine, Sauerkraut, Kim-chi, Sourdough, and Kombucha. http://www.wildfermentation.com/ [wildfermentation.com] And set the stage for microbal growth in your local farm soil ecosystems, by participating in and supporting organic agriculture.

Soap vs Santizers (4, Insightful)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30558184)

Seems that most products advertised today pull on the "santize everything you touch" FUD that's out there. I work at a large technology company, and they recently installed automated hand sanitizers by every external door. I read an article recently that claimed that EMC was having cleaning crews sanitize every doorknob in their campus once a week.

This isn't just a corporate activity, I've got a friend with a 5yr old son in that the son has been conditioned to ask mom for Purel every 5-10 minutes. I also find it funny that kids are being taught to eat a McDonald's burger by holding the wrapper. The funny part is that the people making the burgers aren't wearing gloves...

Reminds me of the old joke: A Harvard and MIT student, both just finished using the urinal and the MIT student walks towards the door. The Harvard student says, "Hey, at Harvard they teach us to wash our hands after using the urinal!" The MIT student fires back, "At MIT they teach us not to pee on our hands!"

Probiotic supplements (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 4 years ago | (#30558202)

In the past we got a lot of the microbacteria that our bodies need from our food supply. With the invention of herbacides, fertilizers and various other modern farming "advancements", the food supply has become less diverse. The digestive system is one of the first lines of defense for the immune system. Anyone who is concerned about their digestive health can start with a good probiotic supplement. I like Jarrow Labs EPS probiotic. There are many others on the market though.

Wait! Is there 10 x more "not-me" than "me" in me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30558312)

Wait! Is there 10 x more "not-me" than "me" in me?

"The human body has some 10 trillion human cells—but 10 times that number of microbial cells."
So it's like we are all parasites of microbial colonies?

Time to panic!! (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30558318)

We needed another crisis, gotta get that government program in place.. appoint a 'microbe czar'... raise our taxes.. save us!!

Of cycles and balances... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30558330)

I am someone, who always seeks to find simple rules that describe complex mechanisms and patterns. And if there is one all-encompassing mechanism in nature, that can be described by simple rules, it’s that of the cycles and balances.
In our bodies, as in all of nature.

See, they are complex systems of interacting cycles, that are in perfect balance.
If you change something... anything... no matter how small it seems... it influences the whole cycle. Then it can create a feedback loop. And it can spread to related cycles. And so on, and so on...
Until in the end, it falls into another less perfect balance... or everything dies.

Until now, we always had luck, since the cycles often had good fallback mechanisms that made them still run stable for decades.
A good example for the body, are most of those “age-related” diseases. They don’t come because of old age. They come with old age. They are the reason for a not-so-stable cycle/system that starts to fail after decades. So nearly nobody links them to the original cause. Usually it’s caused by pushing a cycle out of balance for decades.

The exact same thing happens on a global level with nature. The machine slowly fails. But since the duration between action and punishment is no extremely slow, and since we humans learn by association, we do not learn from our misbehavior.

And later, we go to the doctors, let them give us tons of pills for everything, and even the doctors tell us the lie, that “it’s just because you’re old”. (Mind you, that of course there are some things that really are because of old age. But e.g. gout and hair loss definitely aren’t.)

Also until now, it did not affect our ability to reproduce. So it really did not matter that much.
But in the last years/decades, infertility rates rose dramatically, and the overall effort to keep ourselves alive and (in the illusion of being) “healthy” rises and rises.
I once extrapolated a graph of those infertility rates, and by my prediction, if it does not flatten out somewhere, all humanity will be unable to reproduce in around 3 generations.

I just hope we will notice, until it’s too late. But I don’t expect everyone to notice. Natural selection will finally do its job again. :)

So I decided, to also become a hacker on another level. To hack world’s most advanced machine: The human body.
So that even if most of humanity goes down the drain, I (my genes any my ideas) will be one of the few, who will be left.
And I think for people like us here on Slashdot, who pride themselves in being so good with such complex machines, that would be the ultimate mastery, wouldn’t it?

Mostly Harmless (4, Interesting)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | more than 4 years ago | (#30558378)

The vast majority of bacteria are either harmless or beneficial to their human host. Only a very small number of bacteria are pathogenic, and most of the time your body does a great job keeping those out. Here's a great book for bacteria spotters, amateur and pro, which tells you how to find bacteria without a microscope.

http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/cup_detail.taf?ti_id=3864 [cornell.edu]
http://www.amazon.com/Field-Guide-Bacteria-Comstock-Book/dp/0801488540 [amazon.com]

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