When thinking about gut microbial communities in humans, there are various behaviors that individuals engage in that can cause changes. To start, taking oral antibiotics can dramatically change the amount and types of bacteria present in the gut and potentially have detrimental health impacts. Despite the fact they are often excellent at fighting infections and making it hard for bacteria to survive, this can have consequential effects when it also kills the good bacteria we need in our gut. So although they kill off the bad bacteria, they also end up killing the good which causes changes to the microbiome and can present as dysbiosis and other GI issues. Secondly, when thinking about behaviors that impact the gut, supplementing your diet with fermented foods that are rich in probiotics and even taking a probiotic supplement can have pronounced beneficial effects. By providing the gut with additional beneficial bacteria, it will help keep you healthy by fighting off bad bacteria, aiding in digestion, breakdown and absorb medications and other functions to maintain balance. Additionally, regular exercise has also been proven to improve gut health by way of good heart health and weight maintenance. Research also suggests that working out may increase species diversity in the gut as one study found that athletes had a larger variety of gut bacteria when compared to those that were non-athletes.
Due to the fact that Human papillomavirus has been named one of six cancer causing viruses, scientists are continually working to research new treatments. While being the culprit for almost all cases of cervical cancer in women, HPV has also been linked to causing anogenital cancer as well as some head and neck cancers. At this point, various strains of HPV have been identified to be more high risk than others, which is why research for treatments has been focused on specific strains. Strains such as HPV’s 16, 18, 31, 45 are the most high risk strains for cervical cancer as they account for roughly 80% of cases. Incredibly enough, vaccines have been developed to target the HPV16 and HPV18 strains and they are available now to protect against cancer development from these high risk strains. If a new treatment were to be created, the HPV31 or HPV45 strains should be targeted next in order to continue to eliminate high risk cancer causing strains of HPV. If a vaccine were to be created for HPV31 or HPV45, it would likely need to be administered to children ages 11-12 in accordance with guidelines for the already developed HPV vaccines. Additionally, it would be ideal for vaccines to be developed that would account for all high risk strains of HPV, but given a cost/benefit analysis, the HPV31 and HPV45 would be of upmost importance at this time.
Thinking of the ways in which microbes modulate diseases, we can being to craft a list of such diseases to better understand what microorganisms are and how they act within the human body. To start, micrograms play a role in cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, skin conditions such as eczema, obesity and likely many other other chronic diseases. Over the course of the next 10 weeks we will be exploring such avenues and the mechanisms behind it.