Monday, November 24, 2014

The History of Gut Bugs--Part 1 of 3

They’re HOW old?

Whether you believe in evolution, or some other theory of how life came to be on this blue planet we call Earth, is irrelevant.  What is important is that you understand the magnitude of our gut microbiome and that, no matter how we got here, the trillions of bacteria in our gut were with us from the very first breath we collectively took as humans. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Of Eskimos and Atkins

Not sure if any of ya'all have caught wind of the Hyperlipid blog post, Coconuts and Cornstarch in the Arctic?  It's a very hard-to-read story of a common genetic mutaion found in 80% of Inuits.

I think it was written to support a high-fat, low carb diet.  But I'm not sure.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

We have met the enemy, and he is us.

Inside each and every one of us is a world so bizarre, so strange and alien that I couldn’t even begin to fabricate a story so seemingly impossible.

Inside of every person is an army that outnumbers every human that has ever lived on the face of the Earth—100 trillion strong, your intestinal microflora (hereon out known as ‘gut bugs’) is a living, breathing collection of hundreds of different species and families of invisible bacteria that control every facet of your being.  Your gut bugs are in your dreams, thoughts, and actions--they control your mind.  When properly cared for, your gut bugs are your best friends—when abused or neglected, they will turn on you.  Gut bugs can be your worst nightmare or the answer to all your prayers.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Fighting C. Diff...and losing the battle. A Modern Day Horror Story

This article appeared in our local paper.  I've never met Linden Staciokas, though I've read her gardening column for years.

I'm amazed that fecal transplant is the 'last chance' treatment that her doc offers and even more amazed by her reaction.

As soon as I post this, I'm going to send Mrs. Staciokas a link and offer some poo for a fecal transplant.  I just found that uBiome now provides a raw data sample (hat tip, Dr. BG), so maybe her doctor can look at that and decide if I'm a good donor.

Here's a link to Chris Kresser's recent blog on FMTs and "Poop, Cure of the Future."  And an older one from Paul Jaminet. If anybody else has any good links or info, please put them in the comments for Linden to see.

Fecal transplants need to be the FIRST OPTION for C-diff, not a 'hail Mary.'  The doc almost seems defeated saying they have a near 100% success rate...why would they use anything else?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Oat Study! Full text...

One of the abstracts I had in the RS/Gut bug study list was from a paper examining oats and gut health...I found the full text and would like to share some thoughts.

Whole Grains, Oats, and Gut Microbiota

The Future of Antibiotics

This is the last in my weekly antibiotics updates.  I hope you enjoyed them.

The enormity of our love affair with antibiotics is staggering...we currently use over 7 million pounds per year of antibiotics for humans and over 26 million pounds per year for animals destined for the food chain, and this, nearly 60 years after Alexander Fleming issued numerous warnings that we should be diligent in unleashing antibiotics into the environment to prevent resistance from spreading.

In its recent annual report on global risks published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2013, the World Economic Forum concluded that:

“Arguably the greatest risk … to human health comes in the form of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. We live in a bacterial world where we will never be able to stay ahead of the mutation curve. A test of our resilience is how far behind the curve we allow ourselves to fall.”

Friday, November 7, 2014

Off-Label Drug Use

Here's the third paper I turned in this semester.  100/100 points!  Again, for BIOT640, Ethical Considerations in Biotechnology.  5000-6000 words on an assigned topic.  My topic was "Off-Label Drug Use" which is fitting because I did seem to turn potato starch into the #1 abused drug in the blogosphere...

This is an interesting topic, I had no idea this sort of stuff goes on and it makes me shake my head at our system of government regulation trying to keep a handle on Big-Pharma while the patient suffers.

Read only if you are very bored, or need something to put you to sleep.  Don't say I didn't warn you!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Bees, Butterflies, Biotech, and Barack

Here's the second paper I did this semester.  It was for BIOT640, Ethical Considerations in Biotechnology...1000 words in APA format on recent legislation that will effect the field of biotechnology.  I received a 95/100 points with the comment that it should have had a bit more discussion on how the field of biotechnology will be effected by this memorandum.

It's kind of crazy writing college papers. Back when I got my Bachelor's, the internet was still young and was basically worthless for researching. I remember spending many days at the library checking out books, scribbling notes out of encyclopedias, and photocopying magazine articles and scratching notes for references on the back. I hate to think about how many acts of blatant plagiarism I committed just because there was really no way to get computer was great for word processing, but not much more.

Now we have the world's biggest library in our house and on our phone. Once you learn how to navigate it, it's an amazing place!  No Dewey Decimal System to bother with and no pesky librarians 'shusshing' you.   You'd think plagiarism would be rampant now, but the universities have gotten smart!  Before turning in any paper, you must first submit it to Turn It In .com.  This is a student's worst nightmare!  An automated "originality" checker.  Once submitted, your paper is matched against the entire internet to look for strings of words that match strings of other people's words...and given an originality score.  All of my papers so far have received a "zero" which means completely original.  The school policy is that no paper may have a TurnItIn score higher than 10%. Properly cited quotes do not count against the originality score.  One student lamented in an online discussion that her paper had received a "60%" meaning it was only 40% original.

Had I written this blog prior to turning this paper in to TurnItIn, it supposedly would have gotten a "100% plagiarized" score. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

This I Believe Essay

As many of you know, at age 49 I decided to go back to college and get a Master's in Biotechnology. In the first semester, every student is required to take a class called "Intro to Graduate Studies." The class itself is worth zero credits towards graduating, and covers things like using the school library, plagiarism, writing in APA style, and research skills. I learned a few things, I guess. One of the assignments was to write a short, 500 word, essay based on Edward R. Murrows "This I Believe" radio show of the 1950's.  This I Believe still exists on line and in pod casts. Check it out, kinda cool for short inspirational kind of stories. 
This I Believe is based on a 1950s radio program of the same name, hosted by acclaimed journalist Edward R. Murrow. Each day, Americans gathered by their radios to hear compelling essays from the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson, Helen Keller, and Harry Truman as well as corporate leaders, cab drivers, scientists, and secretaries—anyone able to distill into a few minutes the guiding principles by which they lived. These essayists’ words brought comfort and inspiration to a country worried about the Cold War, McCarthyism, and racial division.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

RS and Gut Microbe Studies

The internet has been a game-changer in terms of what information is available to the layperson. With a bit of computer savvy, not only can you find new and exciting information, but you can track trends and watch the latest science as it’s happening.
With subjects like gut microbes or resistant starch you rarely see, hear, or read about anything other than maybe a segment on an afternoon health show or an article in a fitness magazine—it’s tough to know what to believe.  But with just a few clicks of the mouse, you can be immersed in scientific literature so deep it will make your head spin.  Much of our research in the early days of the internet was through labored searches with many dead-ends more often than not taking you quickly towards someone with something to sell, or to images so (porno) graphic you were changed forever.  After a few years, we got a little smarter on how to search for information, where the best information is kept, and what to expect.  I am now going to share what I’ve learned with you.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Resilience to antibiotic administration

If I’ve painted a bleak picture these last few weeks, don’t despair.  As I’ve said, antibiotics save lives—it’s the overuse of antibiotics that cause problems.  While I hope you never get into the situation where round after round of antibiotics is prescribed, if it does happen, there is still hope.

Gut bugs are extremely adaptable.[43] Even after many rounds of harsh antibiotics, it’s possible to regain the vigor of a healthy microbiome. In long-term studies, gut bacteria has been irrevocably mucked up for up to four years following a single antibiotic administration, although, of course, it may be different for each individual person.  During and after a prescribed antibiotic course is provided, there are immediate steps that should be taken to ensure your gut bugs are treated right and the stage is set for the beneficial microbes to out-pace the bad in the race that is soon to follow.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The "Perfect" Microbiome

I would be a bad blogger if I didn't respond to this article that appeared today in the New York Times.

There is no "Healthy" Microbiome

Take the Hadza. Their microbial roll call is longer than a Western one, with both omissions and additions. They are the only adult humans thus far sequenced who are devoid of Bifidobacteria — a supposedly “healthy” group that accounts for up to 10 percent of the microbes in Western guts. But they do carry unexpectedly high levels of Treponema, a group that includes the cause of syphilis.