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Writing Exercise #9

Human behaviors that contribute to decreased exposure to microbes:

Method of Birthing: Vaganal births expose infants to more bacteria within the vaginal canal compared to a cesarean birth

Use of Antibiotics: Antibiotics are non-specific and target all bacteria, even the good bacteria.

Cleaning/Sanitation: Kill off bacteria in areas that people touch, thus creating less exposure to microbes.

Hand Sanitization: Soap and hand sanitizers eliminate/decreases microbe presence,

Small Social Circle: If an individual is not surrounded by many people such as siblings or people then it limits their exposure to different microbes.

Time Spent Outside: Being in the outdoors, increases the exposure to microbes, especially in dirt. Therefore, if a person doesn’t go outside much and spends more time inside, it decreases their exposure to microbes.

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Writing Exercise #8

This course has taught me many interesting things regarding the microbiome that exists within all human. A certain matter that really stood out to me was how a person’s diet can affect their microbiome. I recall reading about the study that pertained to Crohn’s Disease and how a healthier diet decreased some of the symptoms associated with the disease. With there being so many different versions of diets in today’s world, I wonder how the keto diet would have effect our microbiomes; I am curious if it would improve it or create an issue in our equilibrium.

Keto diets consist of high fats and proteins with a very low amount of carbohydrates and almost no sugar. This has been proven to be a beneficial way to lose weight, but I would suspect that increasing the amount of fat consumption and eliminating sugar carriers such as berries and other fruits would have a negative effect on the gut microbiome. With that being said, I know a few people who use the keto diet and who have autoimmune diseases. It would interesting to look at whether or not this diet aids in any sort of immune function.

To begin developing this paper, I may speak to some of those individuals I mentioned about why they chose that diet and if they have felt a difference in terms of their immune system. Most importantly, I would find research article that are about the keto diet and how it affects the gut microbiome. After I have gathered all necessary information and a better understanding, I will begin an outline.

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Writing Exercise #7

Potential factors that the mother or the infant could be exposed to that could influence the colonization of the microbial community in the newborn infant:

Delivery and feeding technique: Infants who are born through the vaginal canal compared to being born through a cesarean section, encounter a variety of bacteria that lies within the canal. A technique that has been done during delivery to expose infants who are born through a cesarean section to bacteria is by collecting the bacteria within the vaginal canal of the mother and spread it onto the newborn child. In addition to this, newborns also experience bacteria through formula feeding or breastfeeding. The type of bacteria’s the infant is exposed to varies between feeding techniques which the colonize of the infant.

Bacteria present in amniotic fluid: Infants who are not yet born encounter bacteria that exists within the amniotic fluid. However, there is no substantial evidence that a microbiome is formed within the placenta.

Smoking: Women who partake in smoking expose their child to serious health risks such as being born prematurely, effects to facial features, issues in development such as the adult microbiota.

Exposure to Antibiotics: Due to the fact that antibiotics are non-specific, meaning they function to destroy all forms of bacteria, they can cause harm to the development of microbiomes. Therefore, when a mother or an infant is exposed to antibiotics, it can cause dysbiosis.

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Writing Exercise #6

When being prescribed antibiotics in the past, I honestly did not think much about what I was taking and how it would affect my body. Normally I would be prescribed antibiotics by a doctor or physician assistant in urgent after going in with flu like symptoms. My primary physician has prescribed me antibiotics many times before when I had an appointment regarding flu like symptoms as well. In both cases of doctor visits, I never have thought to talk about why this treatment is being prescribed to me and what the percussions may be. Since becoming more educated about the gut microbiome, I think I would have asked for other ways in which I could treatment my illness. I do have an autoimmune disease, so antibiotics can help with flair ups or enhanced symptoms but I would choose alternating taking antibiotics and another alternative the next time I got sick. I do think that antibiotics are beneficial, but it is always important to let your body try and fight infection on its own or use another treatment method to deter infection.

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Writing Exercise #5

I have always been told how important nutrition was to my health when growing up, but I never paid too much attention to it. I grew up in a poor community that did not provide great options in terms of nutritional education, or the healthiest options were not within reach, financially. In addition to my nutritional tendencies, I was never really involved in physical activities. After I graduated high school and started my freshman year in college, I had free access to the school gym that was within walking distance of my dorm room. I also have had the opportunity to learn more about the importance of nutrition through my courses I have taken in college. By becoming more active and educated since entering college, I have had more control and understanding of my health. I have religiously stayed clear of any processed food and have implemented more food that contains probiotics to benefit my gut microbiota, and I workout four days out of the week for physical activity. Both my diet and activity are beneficial to my gut microbiome because the diet provides “good bacteria”, probiotics, and exercise promotes the development of short-chain fatty acids that aid in lowering the risk of inflammatory diseases and other diseases such as diabetes (https://www.healthline.com/health-news/exercise-improves-your-gut-bacteria#1). A detrimental health habit that I often partake in is eating late at night and then going straight to bed. Eating late and going to bed is hard on your digestive system because the body has a harder time breaking down food when you’re asleep, compared to when you are exercising and burning calories.

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Writing Exercise #4

From the article, “The Evolution of Helicobacter pylori Antibiotics Resistance Over 10 years in Beijing, China” (2010), researchers Wen Gao and Hong Cheng’s study shows that antibiotic resistance towards the bacterium H. pylori is climbing. Over a 10 year period samples that were cultured were collected from participants who had been either treated or not treated. Findings from these samples showed that the more antibiotics that an individual received, the greater chance H. pylori strains were antibiotic resistance. The research article investigates the characteristics of varying H. pylori strains, along with other techniques or methods used to treat this harmful bacterium. To further this research, Gao and Cheng plan to expand on their knowledge on this bacteria and its effects, by connecting with other gastroenterologists, microbiologists, and physicians who are working on new research regarding H. pylori.

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Writing Exercise #3

Behaviors that have the ability to cause changes to the gut microbial community:

Age:

The gut microbiota within those who are young compared to those who are older is much different according to the article “Role of the gut microbiota in health and chronic gastrointestinal disease: understanding a hidden metabolic organ.” However, the microbiome within children is established around the age of two and is comparable to those of adults.

Diet:

From the primary research article, “An altered Gut Microbiome Profile in a child Affected by Crohn’s Disease Normalized After Nutritional Therapy,” the finding showed that a diet with increased amounts of protein, anti-inflammatory fats, and antioxidants is linked to a decrease in symptoms of Crohn’s Disease. Food that is put into our body either has the ability to be negative or beneficial to our gut’s microbial community.

Probiotics:

Probiotics are known to promote the healthy bacteria within our gut’s community. Although ingesting beneficial bacteria may not give your body enough bacteria to have your gut in equilibrium, it does have the ability to promote the growth and establishment of helpful bacteria. Positive outcomes of this may reduce gut inflammation or issues that may arise intestinally.

Antibiotics:

To put it simply, antibiotics do not target one specific bacteria or virus. They are used to eliminate any sort of microbe that may be present in within the body or in this case, the gut microbial community. Overall, they aim to lover a wide range of microbes and do not target one specific microbe.

Smoking:

Smoking is known to cause an unbalanced microbiome by increasing the levels of unhealthy bacteria in the gut and decreasing any bacteria that is good for the gut’s microbiome.

Environment:

Living in different environments can subject you to more or less microbiota in terms of both quantity and variety. It may surprise some individuals, but living in a less microbe-rich environment may be negative to their gut health. For example, from the article “Linking the Gut Microbial Ecosystem with the Environment: Does Gut Health Depend on Where We Live?” it mentions that due to the “western lifestyle” that includes sanitization, antibiotics, formula feeding, and more, there is a decline microbiota within the gut. With that being said, there has been an increase in diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and inflammatory bowel disease.

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Writing Exercise #2

After ready the article Viruses and Human Cancer: From Detection to Causality by Sarid and Gao, my recommendation as a healthcare professional in terms of which HIV strains should be accounted for in a new treatment, I would suggest including HPV strains 31 and 45. Ideally, all strains could be treated, but the cost of such treatment would increase greatly. With that being said, when moving forward with a new treatment, it is important to weigh the cost and benefits. Therefore the benefits should be greater than the cost of the new treatment.

Viruses have the ability to possess oncogenes(cancer genes), and these genes get integrated into normal human genes after a person gets infected with the virus. The Human Papillomavirus(HPV), is defined as a virus that carries oncogenes. Different strains of HPV can be more harmful than some. For example, HPV strains 33, 35, 39, 51, 52, 56, 58, and 59 are likely to be cancerous; however, HPV strains 16, 18, 31, and 45 are known to be highly cancerous, and cause around 80% of cervical cancers in women. With that being said, constructing a treatment for the types of strains that cause more cancer in individuals is more effective than treating the strains that are less likely to be the cause.

Looking at the status of treatments today, the HPV strains 16 and 18 already have a vaccine. The course of action should be to focus on creating a treatment for HPV strains 31 and 45, therefore all highly cancerous strains have a vaccine. Also if a treatment is created for just those two strains it will keep the cost of the vaccine down. Hopefully after the vaccine is available to all women, that the amount of individuals with cervical cancer will become less and less.

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Writing Exercise #1

Microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses are very relevant to an individual’s health due to the fact that people are continually being exposed to organisms such as these. However, many microorganisms work with humans to lend a hand in everyday function such as the breakdown of food we ingest. With that being said, microorganisms can also negatively affect human health. 

Everyday there is someone fighting a non-infectious disease caused by a microorganism. To explain, a non-infectious disease is a disease that is not contagious, and that is not directly caused by a pathogen. Diseases that are considered non-infectious are some cancers, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and heart disease. For example, oral bacteria has the ability to secrete a toxin that builds up and breaks down proteins, thus decreasing the amount of nerve cells available for communication and therefore causing Alzheimer’s. In addition, autoimmune diseases that cause an individual’s immune system to attack itself, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus can also be caused by microorganisms. 

It is interesting how microorganisms can be both helpful and detrimental to people. Diving deeper into the connection between microorganisms and noninfectious diseases will give me more knowledge for my future profession of being a physicians assistant. This is a topic more individuals should probably take note of to have a better idea of how some diseases can be caused.