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Our Microbiome

Phones carry bacterial ‘fingerprint’
(This is why I read the BBC)

You know, we hominids carry around 2-3 pounds of bacteria all the time!   1/3 of feces is bacteria and fungal flora.   In cows, bacteria and fungi consume the plant matter cows eat, and then the cows actually digest those bacteria and fungi for nourishment!

Furthermore, they’re beginning to find that a strong possible cause of Cron’s Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome, some obesities, constipations, et al, are likely caused by an imbalance of the good and bad flora in our digestive tracts.   This can easily be caused by a regimen of strong antibiotics, not enough water, and so on.

Guess the cure?
Yep, an enema with a bit of fecal material from a healthy person….

Recent analysis of prehistoric hominid coprolites found in Spain (deposited on an extinguished campfire, lol) shows indoles of plant material, proving that Neanderthals consumed vegetables, as well as meat.

Oldest faeces show Neanderthal diet

This is a breakthrough as it had formerly been thought that Neanderthals had been out-competed to extinction by Cro Magnon (our species) about 30,000 years ago, because they ate only meat.   Now, sensibly, it appears they ate what was available.

Neanderthal is believed to be the first exodus of hominids out of Africa, and fossils have been found in Spain as far back as 800,000 years old.   Most Neanderthal fossils have been found in the countries along the Mediterranean and to its East, which makes sense given the ice ages during that period.

There was a fascinating episode of Nova recently called Decoding Neanderthals, which explained that they’ve successfully characterized much of the Neanderthal genome, and compared it with the genome of high school kids of various racial backgrounds, including Asian, black, white, Indian, and so on.   They found that only the very white kids had any significant trace of Neanderthal DNA (2-3%)!   Asians came in second, with up to 1%.   Black kids and others had none.   This could be seen as a bit insulting to the white kids, although the program points out that Neanderthal DNA may have conferred survival advantage with their toughness to survive through many climate and resource conditions.

Anyway, I’m watching now a series called “Vikings”, a dramatization of the Iron Age Nordics when they first began raids to the West, on England and France.   Seems very well done and realistic. (except for the equality given to women in the show…   of course that was done to not turn off half their audience, but the fact is women were considered ‘property’ then.   It was a primitive time)

~~   Update – 8 October   08:14   ~~

A new partnership has been announced to explore diagnosis and therapies based on our microbiome:

Second Genome, Mayo Clinic team up to explore the microbiome

Second Genome is stepping up its plan to develop therapies based on microbiome research by partnering with the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine.

The South San Francisco company said Tuesday it will team up with researchers at the prestigious Mayo Clinic to turn knowledge of the microbiome — the trillions of bacteria on and inside the human body — into treatments for diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, metabolic disorders and colorectal cancer, a new area for Second Genome.

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