Minggu, 08 Juni 2008

Your Bacterial Friends

How many bacteria normally live on or in your body, and what are they doing there? The government wants to know, with the goal of better understanding their roles in health and disease. So last year NIH launched the Human Microbiome Project. The early results show that bacteria and other microbes colonizing human tissues outnumber the body’s cells by ten to one! Over 600 different bacteria have been identified in such places as the vagina, belly button, nose, mouth, and digestive tract, not to mention all over the skin. And would it surprise you to know that there are more bacteria in your belly button than between your toes? Different bacteria influence our ability to fight infections, digest nutrients, and produce vitamins, plus there may be many other functions that we don’t even know about yet.

See the brief news article on this subject in Science magazine (“Bacteria are Picky About Their Homes on Human Skin”, Science May 23, 2008, p. 1001.)

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