Writer Ed Yong has been chronicling the science of microbial life for years at such outlets as The New York Times, the Atlantic (where he is now a staff writer), and his blog, Not Exactly Rocket Science (currently hosted by National Geographic). Now he has published his first book, I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes…
Your belly button is teeming with microbial life—a mix of many different species unique to you. Brooklyn-based artist Joana Ricou creates “portraits” based on individual microbiomes. The result is some surprisingly lovely imagery.
Holistic health advocate Deepak Chopra is at it again, this time spouting his patented food nonsense at the “Fat Summit” online conference. While speaking to celebrity doctor and alternative medicine enthusiast Mark Hyman, Chopra explained that the vast collection of microbes in our gut are actually capable of…
Like every other surface of your body, your mouth is teeming with a panoply of bacteria. It’s a thought most of us try to keep buried in the backs of our minds, but a new study shows that the tiny communities flourishing between your molars can be quite pretty. In a kaleidoscopic nightmare-fuel sort of way.
A new genetic analysis of human gut bacteria is turning up some really weird critters—so weird, in fact, that some biologists are speculating we’ve found an entirely new domain of life. We should take that possibility with a healthy dose of skepticism. But here’s why it’s even being discussed.
Intestinal worms have an incredibly bad reputation. The thought of them sneaking around inside our bodies and eating us from the inside is pretty unpleasant. But for decades, results coming out of lab after lab have shown that some kinds of helminths can be extremely beneficial to their host, and aren’t parasites at…
Bad news, hypochondriacs: You’re walking in a massive cloud of bacteria. In fact, it’s kinda an extension of your body, and no amount of showering will rid you of it. Even better: It grew out of your mouth, poop and skin.
We all have our personal feelings about how a burger should be cooked. But if there’s one thing that’s universally agreed upon, it’s that a burger on bun with ketchup and toppings should be very much dead. In reality, that’s not the case at all.
When was the last time you thanked the bugs in your belly? Even if the concept of a “healthy” microbiome is flawed, the trillions of microorganisms living in your gut (and mouth, and vagina, and nose, etc.) play a vital role in many of your body’s functions. They’re so essential, many refer to the microbiome as an…
The trillions of bacteria that live on us and in us—otherwise known as our microbiomes—are vital to our health in ways we’re just beginning to understand. Now scientists have discovered the most diverse collection of bodily bacteria ever, in a remote Amazonian tribe of southern Venezuela.
Scientists now know that gut microbes almost certainly play a role in us getting fat, and poop transplants are sometimes touted as a potential route to weight loss. But if that’s a little too icky for you, Vanderbilt scientists have been experimenting with more refined microbiome tinkering in mice using genetically…
We all know that the homes we believe belong to us are actually varied landscapes in which billions of creatures live, but we usually try not to think about our microbial roommates. Find out why your bathroom is the ultimate bacteria battleground, and why cleaning it can sometimes make it worse.
Three years ago, I gently brushed fiber-tipped swabs against the surfaces of my tiny New York apartment. Microbes live everywhere, and I was gathering samples for genetic analysis — I wanted to identify my microscopic housemates.
The results of a massive new DNA sequencing project on the New York City subway have just been published. And yup, there's a lot of bacteria on the subway—though we know most of it is harmless. What's really important, though, is what we don't know about it.
The results of a new study suggest forensic scientists could one day use the microbial signature of people's privates to identify sexual offenders. Think of it as a musty, microscopic, x-rated fingerprint.
It's generally agreed that life on this planet would not be possible if it weren't for microbes. In a fascinating thought experiment, a pair of biologists scrutinized this assumption to find out. As their paper makes clear, a microbe-free world would be a strange place, indeed.
The bacteria living in our guts play in an active role is feeding us, whether it's breaking down nutrients our own stomachs can't handle, or synthesizing vitamins. Here's one more intriguing piece of the puzzle: a molecule excreted by the bacteria digesting fiber makes us feel more full.
Embracing the complexity of the microbiome means doing away with pat conceptions of its function.
We all know that diet can dramatically affect our health, both mentally and physically. But a new study shows that an off-kilter eating schedule could also affect well-being, too. Here's why.
Fecal transplants are an effective way to combat C. difficile infections, but they're typically delivered by enema or a tube down the digestive system. Not pleasant. But thankfully, scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital have now made the healing powers of poop available in pill form.