Writing Exercise #15-Project funding

If I was the head of a funding agency (like the National Institute of Health) in which my job is to look at proposals for research projects and decide what projects to award funding to I would look for projects with the topics of antibiotics versus probiotics and how they can both affect human health. There are pros and cons to both medications for example, antibiotics can help prevent and cure some diseases, but taking them to often or to many types can lead to patients becoming immune or bacteria evolving which can cause diseases to worsen. Whereas, probiotics kill only the bad bacteria in our bodies, but they do not cure most diseases, but they can be taken more naturally than antibiotics. This is important for future healthcare because it can shine a light on whether or not patients should be prescribed these types of medications or not and how often they should be taking them. It can also help with future research on diseases that can only be cured from antibiotics. Can probiotics be designed to eliminate the bad bacteria of the disease and cure that disease without having to take any antibiotics? There are many paths that can be taken when researching antibiotics versus probiotics. It will be interesting if these topics are talked about more in the future.

Writing exercise #14-Non infectious disease

Part 1- A list of non-infectious diseases that I can think of are  stomach cancer, asthmas, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, COPD, brain cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and edema.

Part 2-  Looking back at my first writing exercise from week 1, I wasnt very sure about non-infectious diseases, or very many that came to mind right away. My list has definitely grown and become more positive to what non-infectious diseases are. Some important topics that I will take away from this course are how medications have evolved over time, the pros and cons of probiotics and antibiotics, how sleep or diet can effect our bodies just physically, but for our microbiomes, different diseases that I didnt know even existed. This course has also helped me become a better writer and make me more confident about research papers. I didn’t think one course could help me so much, and have an impact at how I look at the medical field in a different way or topics I can research in the future to help patients. I’m very glad to have taken this course and take away everything I have learned.

Writing Exercise #13-Interpreting Scientific literature

In W. P. Hanage’s article, he discusses the importance of five key questions when interpreting scientific literature:

  • Can experiments detect differences that matter?

W.P. Hanage first talked about profiling a microbiome which is able to categorize at the level of phyla, species or genes. The disadvantage is from criterion which researchers used the different ratio of bacteria to distinguish microbes. For example, if an experiment was used to characterize animal communities, based on the ratio between an aviary of 100 birds and 25 snails and the ratio between an aquarium with 8 fish and 2 squids,  both an aviary of 100 birds and 25 snails were identical with an aquarium with 8 fish and 2 squids. However, it was not right because of the differences in stains in the genes which each species contain. if the networks are not characterized well, the outcome to any specific object is hard. In addition, the ability to identify functional differences in related genes play the important role to understand the genes or networks. An experiment can detect differences or not play a significant role for researchers to understand fully.

  • Does the study show causation or correlation?

This section discusses how an experiment was conducted in two directions, inverse and reverse directions in order to know if the study showed causation or just correlation. A study about gut microbiomes and diet in a 2012 article which was proposed a causal relationship after conducting a study between the gut microbiomes of old people living in care homes and old people living in the community. Though the data and proposal were fit together, the reverse causality, the potential for poor health to alter the gut microbiome, was not investigated. The less active immune system and differences in the digestion of frailer people could lead changes in the microbiome. The conclusion about the causal relationship was incorrect.

  • What is the mechanism?

This question allows researchers to understand the subject on a deeper level. All scientists are taught that correlation is not causation, but correlation almost always implies some sort of causal relationship. Researchers just dont know what it is, and must determine it with careful experiment. Experiments can be designed to precisely define actions of components of microbiomes, for example by reconstituting communities but leaving out specific taxa. The experiment can be done to define actions of elements in microbiome related to the biochemical activity. This contributes to making a study become more convincing.

  • How much do experiments reflect reality?

Focuses on examination the reflection of experiments to the reality. For example, the study about gut flora and weight gain. The researchers did the experiment on germ-free mice which did not represent the natural state of animals and do not have healthy owing. Meaning, the study did not include the responses in animals with flouring microbiomes related to different adaption between mice and their microbiomes and human. This question provides researchers about their subject choices and evaluation if the result from their study is suitable.

  • Could anything else explain the results?

When researches want to experiment on a specific subject they should think about a variety of variables that could also contribute to results. That there are other potential factors which could affect the results of their study and the way to analyze the data, make generate the hypotheses and evaluate the conclusion. For example, bacteria affects human but whether or not there are possible factors contributing to these effects.

When it comes to which is most important when discussing controversies I would have to say defining the mechanism because this allows the researchers to understand what they experimenting on a deeper level, become more interested and knowledgeable on the subject they are studying. This allows for the researcher to go farther and when they get different results multiple times, they will be willing to do the experiment over again to get results that are similar to each other.

Writing Exercise #12-Microbial influence on Brain and Mental Health

Describe how microbial communities in the body could influence brain and mental health states. Then, describe how brain and mental health states could influence microbial communities in the body. In what ways might these promote health and/or disease?

Gut microbiomes can influence the brain and mental health through systemic communication by affecting neurotransmitters through bacterial metabolites that produce Cytokines. Also, the production of butyrate of the microbes which is correlated with the activity of cells in the blood-brain permeability. The gut microbes break down the carbohydrates into short-chain fatty acids such as fatty acid butyrates which enhance the blood-brain barrier by tightening connections between cells.

The brain and mental health influencing gut microbiota with changes in neural communication that causes behavioral or release of neurotransmitter, hormones, and steroid. An example is, in the early maturity life in the animal, the stress increased the level of corticosterone production. The stress situation cause the decline of gut function related to changes in the microbial community and gut differences.

Microbes and mental health are influenced by each other based on research done. Psychological and physical stressors can affect the composition and metabolic activity of the gut microbiome, while changes in the gut microbiome have been found to play a role in brain diseases like autism spectrum disorder, anxiety, and depression.

Writing Exercise #11-Reviewer of peer-review

Critiquing other students’ articles is sometimes intimidating because I dont consider myself a fluent writer, especially for a writing intensive course or when it has to do with specific topics because I may not know a lot about that topic. It’s interesting to read other students’ articles though because it gives me an idea on how to make my paper better or I can also note to myself that may be something I did in my article and I should probably fix that so it’s easier for someone to read. After reading the articles I thought to myself I should do a little more research on the topics just so I can help review them better, give the other students a different point of view and ask questions they may have not thought about when they were writing their article. Anther interesting point I discovered is by reading the articles, I got an idea of who the author is, how they may think or their views on the topic. In a way, it’s kind of fun to read other students’ work because it not only lets me get to know them more, it gives me future ideas of what I could write about or topics to look further into to help understand before going into a career that I could face with this topic. Reviewing articles also helps me get an idea of the audience I want to capture because some words or sentences in my article may be to scientific and should lean more towards an audience like myself where they are in the Biohealth field, but not scientific experts. Overall, it was a good exercise to do, so I could go back to my paper and edit it to make it better.

Writing exercise #10- Peer review

Peer review is the process to determine the originality and authenticity of an article. Most reviewers are professionals in the scientific field that can validate the research behind the article to help confirm or deny the data, and can also say if the article is plagiarized or has already been written about. To have more peer reviews in an article can have it’s pros and cons, some pros are that it can validate the information in the article, that more data can contribute to the article to help prove a point or the research behind the article. Some cons are that not all peer reviews are scientifically valid, the research behind some peer reviews have not be proven or have had valid data to back up the hypothesis. Peer review has a process of a few steps, number one is to submit the rough draft of the article, the second step is for the reviewer to go over the article to validate the research for a solid base of the paper, this is kind of the editing process. Third step includes multiple reviewers going over the article, these reviewers are professionals in the field the article is based on, they also validate the research, what kind of citations have been used in the article, they also summarize their comments to the writer of the article. The fourth and fifth step kind of go hand-in-hand, the author of the article receives the comments from the reviewers, then makes changes on the article based off those comments. Once the author is finished with those changes, they can resubmit the article to go through the process over again to help finalize the article to make it valid and become a usable research article. Another con that comes with peer review is the time it takes to process an article before it can become official, while the research can be ground breaking or the beginning of an idea in the field, it can take years for the research to become valid. In that time someone else could already be doing the same research but be farther ahead, which could make the research someone else is working on invalid. A pro to this process is that it takes years which in the end validates the research data even more. The more peer reviewing of an article the better because it could mean the data has been looked at multiple times and made sure it’s correct and able to be supported for future research.

Writing exercise #9- decrease microbes

There are many ways to changes someone’s behaviors to help decrease the amount of microbes they come in contact with, here is a list of some:

1. Hand washing: always wash your hands before and after you have eaten or are about to eat, if you touch public objects like door handles or buttons to open doors, and when you sneeze or shake someone else’s hand. This will help kill bacteria that you may have come in contact with, and make sure to use hot soapy water.

2. Vaccination: Getting vaccinated is a way against bacterial infections. Bacterial vaccines are able to kill bacteria. Antibodies can against particular bacteria and prevent bacterial infections later. Some form of vaccines such as Tuberculosis vaccine and vaccines to against meningococci, pneumococci, and enteropathogenic E. coli.

3. Clean objects that have been used a lot: Baby toys, objects that are high traffic use in the house, or areas that have high traffic use should be cleaned often to help kill bacteria that may be growing on them. Use hot water and bleach to help kill the bacteria, or disinfectant wipes. High traffic areas include door knobs, faucets, light switches, and surface areas.

4. Stay informed about food and water recalls: It’s important to stay informed in order not to ingest contaminated water or food. Food contamination is a common issue. People can listen to the local news about contaminated food and water supply. If there is the situation of food and water contaminated, people should purchase water bottle to drink and not to take showers. This is also important for dogs and cats, dogs can get very ill or possibly die from contaminated water such as blue green algae.

5. Food preparation: Make sure to clean fruits and vegetables before eating them because there could be foodborne bacteria on them. When it comes to meat, make sure it is cooked to the right temperature before eating or serving it, if it’s under cooked, it could still have harmful bacteria living in it and cause someone to get sick.

exercise #8-free write/brainstorm

Step 1: Since starting this course I have learned a lot about the human body, and more importantly microbiomes of the human body. Some interesting topics that we have studied are differences between probiotics and antibiotics. These two types of biotics can affect the human body in many ways. Probiotics are what help good bacteria in the human body grow and strengthen, where antibiotics kills bad bacteria in the body that may be trying to invade, but it also kills some of the good bacteria. After a week of researching the difference between the two there are different natural ways someone can go to possibly do the same things antibiotics do before resorting to antibiotics.

Step 3: There are many difference between antibiotics and probiotics, they can affect our bodies and how we can become immune to some antibiotics if given to many treatments. They can affect weight gain with relations to antibiotics as well, and they can affect infants between C-section or vaginal births. Instead of giving antibiotics patients can try a more natural route, with different foods that can help prevent against certain bacteria that could invade the body.

Step 4: To help prep for the final essay, I can research articles that relate to antibiotics vs probiotics, what the difference between them are, and how they affect the body. Also look for different sources as well, like primary sources, or review articles, or case studies.

writing exercise #7-microbial community in the newborn infant

There are many different potential factors that could affect an infants colonization of microbial communities, here is a list of some:

  1. The method of infant feedings: There are differences in gut microbiota between breastfed infants and formula-fed infant. The major organism in breastfed infant is Bifidobacteria while the formula-fed infants have Enterococci and Clostridia mostly. The breastfed infants have more bacterial cells and less species diversity. The methods of feeding have effects on infant’s oral microbiome also.
  2. Delivery method: Gut microbiome is affected by the delivery method of the infant, between vaginal birth or C-section. Infant born by C-section have a higher number of antibiotic-resistance genes compared with infants born vaginally. The gut microbiota of vaginally born infant is colonized by bacteria from maternal vagina including the enrichment in the Prevotella, Sneathia, and Lactobacillus group. The infant born by C- section has delayed colonization of the phylum Bacteroidetes and alpha diversity during first 2 years of life.
  3. Changes in Gut microbiome during pregnancy: The first trimester of pregnancy the mothers gut microbiome is similar to a healthy non-pregnant woman, by the third trimester, it has changes significantly. These changes are characterized by increased members of actinobacteria and Proteobacteria phyla, as well as a decrease in woman’s richness.  Also woman gain weight, insulin insensitivity, and greater inflammatory.

Exercise #6- philosophy about antibiotics

Growing up it seemed like I got sick a lot, had to go to the doctors and get medicine to feel better. Now I dont seem to get that sick, it may just be because my lifestyle is different, I exercise and eat healthier which could have built my immune system up, and fight off infection and bad bacteria than when I was younger. When I do get sick my doctors prescribe antibiotics to help fight off my infection, like when I get strep or a cold. Since I’ve been taking BHS 323 I’ve learned antibiotics aren’t always the best cure, there are more natural treatments someone can take before going to antibiotics. Antibiotics are horrible, but taking them to often could make your body build up an immunity which can cause bad bacteria to infect your body more and with a worse outcome. Growing up it was just normal to take the medicine my doctor gave me, now I try to find home remedies to try and cure a cold or some infection I may have. My advise to anyone is to do research, look up what can happen if someone takes to many antibiotics for every cold or sickness they may have. It may be a fast treatment, but it may not be the best to do every time.