Can a 'Noah's Ark' of Microbes Save the World's Health?
THURSDAY, Oct. 4, 2018 -- To safeguard human health in the future, researchers envision creation of a "Noah's Ark" of beneficial human microbes.
The human microbiome includes trillions of microscopic organisms that live in and on our bodies, and benefit our health in a number of ways, according to the authors of the proposal.
But antibiotics, processed-food diets and other modern harms have led to a huge loss of microbial diversity and an accompanying rise in health problems, the researchers said.
"We're facing a growing global health crisis, which requires that we capture and preserve the diversity of the human microbiota while it still exists," said study lead author Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello, of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J.
Scientists would need to gather these microbes from remote populations still unaffected by modern ills, the researchers said.
Currently, the gut flora of most Americans is half as diverse as that of hunter-gatherers in isolated villages in the Amazon, the research team noted. These microbes are essential to aid digestion, strengthen the immune system and protect against invading germs.
"Over a handful of generations, we have seen a staggering loss in microbial diversity linked with a worldwide spike in immune and other disorders," Dominguez-Bello said in a university news release.
Since the early 1900s, for example, there has been a significant increase in diseases and disorders such as obesity, asthma, allergies and autism. The study team said scientific evidence links this rise with disturbances to the microbiome early in life.
The loss of human microbiome diversity equals climate change in the risk it poses to humanity's future, according to Dominguez-Bello and her colleagues.
The researchers compared their proposal to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, the world's largest collection of crop diversity. It was created in case of natural or human-made disasters.
The new report was published in the Oct. 4 issue of Science.
© 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
Posted: October 2018
Read this next
TUESDAY, Oct. 27, 2020 -- The tiny droplets that linger in the air after people talk, cough or sneeze aren't very efficient at spreading the new coronavirus, new research...
TUESDAY, Oct. 27, 2020 -- Factors such as sex, age and severity of the disease may help identify COVID-19 survivors who have high levels of antibodies that can protect against the...
TUESDAY, Oct. 27, 2020 -- Testing of Eli Lilly's antibody drug for hospitalized COVID-19 patients has been halted because the treatment doesn't help them recover from their...
More News Resources
- FDA Medwatch Drug Alerts
- Daily MedNews
- News for Health Professionals
- New Drug Approvals
- New Drug Applications
- Drug Shortages
- Clinical Trial Results
- Generic Drug Approvals
- Monthly Update Archive
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Whatever your topic of interest, subscribe to our newsletters to get the best of Drugs.com in your inbox.