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WE#2: HPV Treatment and Prevention

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a family of viruses that is specifically associated with anogenital, or related to the anus and genitals, cancers in humans (1). Many strains of HPV are strongly associated with cervical cancers. HPVs 16, 18, 31, and 45 account for 80% of the reported cases of cervical cancer. Undoubtedly, these strains must be the target of treatment before they can result in cancerous cell proliferation.

Biopsy analysis of cervical cancer samples is often most associated with HPVs 16 and 18; therefore, efforts have been made to ensure that these strains are included in the HPV vaccines. Thus, a new treatment should also focus on other high-risk strains, such as HPVs 31 and 45. Widespread screening for HPV should be conducted regularly to ensure that HPV infections are treated before oncogenes that have the potential to form cancers are activated. Strains that are classified as “potentially carcinogenic” should be studied more until there is concrete evidence that a considerable percentage of cervical cancers develop from these strains.

A good question to ask would be whether different strains of HPV share surface proteins. Research to study the viral capsids of HPV strains should be conducted to minimize the cost of vaccine research and increase vaccine efficacy.

Cited Sources

  1. Sarid R, Gao SJ. 2011. Viruses and Human Cancer: From Detection to Causality. Cancer Lett 305(2): 218-27. DOI: 10.1016/j.canlet.2010.09.011.
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WE#1: Non-infectious Diseases Influenced by Microorganisms

In this blog post, I will discuss the non-infectious diseases that are influenced by microorganisms. Firstly, according to Bull and Plummer, a few of these diseases are Crohn’s disease (CD), obesity, type II diabetes, atopy, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis (UC), etc. Secondly, disturbance in human microbiota is also correlated with atherosclerosis and liver diseases.

Based on these examples provided able, I see that microorganisms are crucial in keeping us healthy. The gut microbiota is partly responsible for the digestion of food. The bacteria in the gut microbiota provide the metabolism of nutrients that the digestive organs alone could not complete. Therefore, any disturbance in the gut microbiota is the root of the many diseases of the digestive organs. This disturbance shows the most effects on the gastrointestinal tract, with Crohn’s disease being the prime example. Crohn’s disease, as pointed out by Pascal et al., is an inflammatory bowel disease subtype, which is caused by imbalanced gut microbiota. An analysis of people with Crohn’s disease shows that there are less diversity and stability in these people compared to their unaffected peers.

In addition, I find it surprising that this disturbance also affects the circulatory system. Atherosclerosis is a disease caused by plaque buildups in the arteries. These buildups block blood circulation and create thrombi or blood clots. The American Heart Association designates diabetes and elevated blood cholesterol levels as risks for atherosclerosis. I can see that metabolism issues, which are influenced by the gut microbiota, could cause further complications with other organs. Atherosclerosis can lead to heart diseases and death; therefore, the human microbiota also serves a crucial function in keeping us alive.

In conclusion, it is not just the infectious diseases that we have to care about. The small changes within our microbiota could very much be influential to our general health and well-being; and therefore, we must take care of them for the sake of our own health.

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Hello, world!

Welcome to Hung’s blog for Microbial Influences on Human Health. In this blog, I will discuss the various ways that microorganisms affect our individual and community health. Comments are welcomed and greatly appreciated.