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Eeeww. There's a zoo full of critters living on your skin — a bacterial zoo, that is. Consider your underarm a rain forest. Healthy skin is home to a much wider variety of bacteria than scientists ever knew, says the first big census of our co-inhabitants. And that's not a bad thing, said genetics specialist Julia Segre of the National Institutes of Health, who led the research.
People's bodies are ecosystems, believed home to trillions of bacteria, fungi and other microbes that naturally coexist in the skin, the digestive tract and other spots. But scientists don't have a good grasp of which microbes live where, much less which are helpful, even indispensable, in maintaining health. The NIH's "Human Microbiome Project" aims to change that, recruiting healthy volunteers to learn what microbes they harbor so scientists can compare the healthy with diseases of microbes gone awry — from acute infections to mysterious conditions like psoriasis or irritable bowel syndrome.
The skin research, published in Friday's edition of the journal Science, is part of that project. Scientists decoded the genes of 112,000 bacteria in samples taken from a mere 20 spots on the skin of 10 people. Those numbers translated into roughly 1,000 strains, or species, of bacteria, Segre said, hundreds more than ever have been found on skin largely because the project used newer genetic techniques to locate them.
It causes pus-filled boil-like sores, bleeding lung abscesses and flesh-eating disease, and it's called community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (ca-MRSA). MRSA used to be only acquired in hospitals. Recently, it escaped into the community and is spreading around the world. Transmission was thought to occur with skin-to-skin contact, without abrasion, and with indirect contact with contaminated objects like towels, sheets, and sports equipment. Now, "Clinical Infectious Diseases" investigators from New York report that "Community-associated MRSA can be regarded as a sexually transmitted disease."
Originally posted by Silcone Synapse
I found a great little snippet about our symbiotic stomach bacterial friends:
external source " Metagenomic Analysis of the Human Distal Gut Microbiome
Steven R. Gill et al.
The human intestinal microbiota is composed of 10 to the power of 13 to 10 to the power of 14 microorganisms whose collective genome ("microbiome") contains at least 100 times as many genes as our own genome. We analyzed 78 million base pairs of unique DNA sequence and 2062 polymerase chain reaction-amplified 16S ribosomal DNA sequences obtained from the fecal DNAs of two healthy adults. Using metabolic function analyses of identified genes, we compared our human genome with the average content of previously sequenced microbial genomes. Our microbiome has significantly enriched metabolism of glycans, amino acids, and xenobiotics; methanogenesis; and 2-methyl-D-erythritol 4-phosphate pathway-mediated biosynthesis of vitamins and isoprenoids. Thus, humans are superorganisms whose metabolism represents an amalgamation of microbial and human attributes.
This is really important stuff -- our nutrition is very dependent on these microbes, and there is every reason to think that their ecology affects our overall health status as well. And we know very little about them -- heck, these guys are using the same metagenomic techniques to fine organisms in our bodies that are used to find new unidentified ocean life! "
Wow,theres a whole universe of species helping us out!
Thats before we even consider that our own genome could be another super organism.
"Symbiotic",I like that word.I wish humans were symbiotic with each other and nature.Oh well.
Originally posted by ravenshadow13
Pretty soon we can publish a Field Guide to the Human Body.
Now consider that you are possibly just a giant robot, piloted by micro-organisms
Originally posted by ZeroKnowledge
We are a host for a lot of microbes ,viruses and fungi. Not only on skin, but also inside (like several kilograms we carry in our gut, bon appetite).
...i would accept the hypothesis that our brain size and its "abnormal" function is a result of actions of some parasite. Not controlling us, but influencing our development to mutual benifition. To control our CNS one has to have similary high developed capabilities.
Dr. Michael Gershon has devoted his career to understanding the human bowel (the stomach, esophagus, small intestine, and colon). His thirty years of research have led to an extraordinary rediscovery: nerve cells in the gut that act as a brain. This "second brain" can control our gut all by itself. Our two brains -- the one in our head and the one in our bowel -- must cooperate. If they do not, then there is chaos in the gut and misery in the head -- everything from "butterflies" to cramps, from diarrhea to constipation. Dr. Gershon's work has led to radical new understandings about a wide range of gastrointestinal problems including gastroenteritis, nervous stomach, and irritable bowel syndrome. The Second Brain represents a quantum leap in medical knowledge and is already benefiting patients whose symptoms were previously dismissed as neurotic or "it's all in your head."