Writing Exercise #4- Behaviors that could influence gut microbiota

One potential behavior that may influence the gut microbes in an individual is over eating to the point of developing obesity. Obesity has shown to be linked to different gut microbes than that of a normal, healthy human. This change in microbial population has shown to be detrimental to an individuals health because there has also been a linkage between the gut microbiota, insulin resistance, and chronic inflammation [1].

Another potential behavior that could influence the gut microbial population is the living environment. One research study showed that co-housing could potentially alter the microbial environment. The study found that OB mice microbial population was invaded by their Ln cage mates microbial population, more specifically by the bacteroidetes. I feel that more research needs to be done to determine the health impacts but for now I feel that this effect is fairly neutral [2].

Some other potential behaviors that could alter gut microbiota are smoking, drinking, and the amount of exercise an individual participates in. As for the smoking and drinking, I would assume that the effects would be detrimental to the gut microbiota, since smoking and drinking are heavily linked to disease. As for increased levels of exercise, this could have a positive on the gut microbial population but more research would need to be done.


  1. Boulange C, Nevas A, Chilloux J, Nicholson J, Dumas M. (2016). Impact of the gut microbiota on inflammation, obesity, and metabolic disease. Retrieved from: Micro Comm Gut Obesity_Poulange et al 2016. Pdf.
  2. Ridaura, V. K., J. J. Faith, F. E. Rey, J. Cheng, A. E. Duncan, A. L. Kau, N. W. Griffin, V. Lombard, B. Henrissat, J. R. Bain, M. J. Muehlbauer, O. Ilkayeva, C. F. Semenkovich, K. Funai, D. K. Hayashi, B. J. Lyle, M. C. Martini, L. K. Ursell, J. C. Clemente, W. Van, W. A. Walters, R. Knight, C. B. Newgard, A. C. Heath, and J. I. Gordon. “Gut Microbiota from Twins Discordant for Obesity Modulate Metabolism in Mice.” Science (New York, N.Y.). September 06, 2013. Accessed April 29, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24009397.

Writing Exercise #3

Out of the six HPV strains that are classified as “carcinogenic to humans” I think the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) should be covered in a new treatment.

It would be well worth it to design a preventative vaccine for HCV which should be administered before infection in order to prevent infection. HCV would be well worth designing a new treatment for because there is a relatively high incidence rate in the United States and the virus is proven to be fatal. It is associated with asymptomatic acute hepatitis, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and possibly Cholangiocarcinoma. Its association with chronic hepatitis, liver cancer, and HCC are well worth the cost and benefit. The list for a liver transplant is long and many patients die before receiving one. I feel that a new treatment for HCV would be worth the cost.

I would also argue for Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpes virus (KSHV) since it is know to be associated with Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS), however, the incidence of KS is so rare that the cost may not be worth the benefit. The same goes for Merkel cell polyomavirus. Merkel cell carcinoma is fatal but it is usually only found in elderly, immunosuppressed patients. It sounds harsh but in most Merkel cell carcinoma cases, a new treatment may not be worth the cost. The same goes for Epstein Barr virus, there is an association with nasopharyngeal carcinoma, Hodgkins lymphoma, and extranodal NK/T-cell lymphomas but out of the six HPV, the cost may not be worth the benefit due to the nature of the diseases it’s associated with and the incidence of the disease in the United States.

Of course, if money were not a factor I would say treat them all, but in this case, I feel that out of the six HPV strains known to be carinogenic, HCV should be treated first.


Sarid R, Gao SJ. 2011. Viruses and Human Cancer: From Detection to Causality. Cancer Lett 305(2): 218-227.

Writing Exercise #2- Rhetorical precis for Li et al 2007

1) In the review article “Symbiotic gut microbes modulate human
metabolic phenotypes” (2007), Li et al explains that the gut microbiome can be linked to various metabolic phenotypes through  the use of transgenomics and statistics. 2) Li et al demonstrates that population microbial cometabolic differences are reinforced by the structural differences found in the gut microbiomes of different nationalities, they also discuss functional metagenomics and how bacteria, such as Faecalibacterium prausnitzii,  can alter host metabolism and therefore affect host health. 3) The purpose of this paper  was to inform the reader about functional metagenomics so that it can be used to test the systemic effects related to drugs and diet in order to refine treatment options available in health care. 4) This paper provides a strong foundation for those looking to further their education on functional metagenomics, how they can be used to analyze the gut microbiome, and potentially refine how we treat patients in health care.



Li M, Wang B, Zhang M, Rantalainen M, Wang S, Zhou H, Zhang Y, Shen J, Pang X, Zhang M, Wei H, Chen Y, Lu H, Zuo J, Su M, Qiu Y, Jia W, Xiao C, Smith L, Yang S, Holmes E, Tang H, Zhao G,  Nicholson J, Li L, Zhao L. 2007. Symbiotic gut microbes modulate human metabolic phenotypesPNAS 105:2117-2122.

Writing Exercise #1 – Non-infectious Microbial Diseases

Non-infectious Microbial Diseases

A non-infectious microbial disease sounds like an oxymoron. I must admit, when I think of non-infectious diseases my mind goes to non contagious diseases that are typically caused by genetic and environmental factors, such as diet and age. For example, kidney disease and heart disease. Neither of these are known to be caused by microbes. Microbial diseases are usually contagious in nature.

The first few diseases that come to my mind when I think of microbes are the flu, measles, chicken pox, strep throat, malaria, urinary tract infections, and the list goes on! The issue is that all of these maladies are infectious. They are caused by microorganisms that are considered to be contagious and therefore are infectious.

However, the real topic to be discussed is not, whether or not microbes are causing non-infectious diseases. It’s whether they are influencing them. Which I must say, of course they are! It is well known that our bodies are flourishing with microbes, both inside and out. It would next to impossible to prove that these microbes have absolutely no influence on our general health and well being. There are many factors that go into illness, infectious or not, and my background in science leads me to believe that there probably is some sort of affect resulting from microbes. However, I am unsure of the specifics regarding microbial influence on non-infectious diseases.

I am curious to learn more about the topic of non-infectious microbial diseases because as it stands right now, I can’t think of any non-infectious diseases in particular that are associated with microbes!