Million dollar question: Is the microbiome the key to diagnosing, fighting chronic disease?

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Image: Vrx123/Fotolia

What if the solution to our health problems is already inside our bodies?

The human body is replete with billions of microbugs thriving on our skin, inside our intestines, and even our private parts. Their collective, microbiomes, are not simple passengers. Rather, their diversity, gene expression, and metabolism changes when we cross from health into disease.

Yet the million-dollar question remains: can we crack the two struggles of chronic disease—early diagnosis and treatment—by tinkering with the microbiome?

[T]he second phase of [Human Microbiome Project], released detailed datasets on how microbiomes impact diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and pregnancy and preterm births. The decade-long study functionally probed microbiome shifts with unprecedented breadth and depth, detracting skeptics—and guarding against hype—for the role of our bodies’ microscopic communities in our health. iHMP further gathered biomarkers and genetic analyses from 463 hosts for up to four years, dynamically painting a long-term movie of their health.

Together, iHMP delivered some of the strongest evidence yet that microbiomes aren’t just along for the ride in chronic diseases. Combined with other reports that link the microbiome to mental struggles, such as depression and anxiety, it’s clear that microbiome medicine is blowing up.

Read full, original post: New Findings From the Human Microbiome Project

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