Friday, May 23, 2008

Your bacteria and you

Source: NY Times

Science
Bacteria Thrive in Inner Elbow; No Harm Done
By NICHOLAS WADE
Published: May 23, 2008
Even after you have washed the skin clean, there are still one million bacteria in every square centimeter of skin in the crook of your elbow. But they are not bad bacteria.


Awesome article. Who knew? Bacteria tribes in all of us? Our own cells are out-numbered 10 to 1 by friendlies living inside of us and out?

Here's a quote:

...These are not bad bacteria. They are what biologists call commensals, creatures that eat at the same table with people to everyone’s mutual benefit. Though they were not invited to enjoy board and lodging in the skin of your inner elbow, they are giving something of value in return. They are helping to moisturize the skin by processing the raw fats it produces, says Julia A. Segre of the National Human Genome Research Institute....


And one more because I think it's rather important:

...Much the same set of bacteria recolonize the gut after a course of antibiotics, he said, suggesting that the makeup of the colony is important and that the body has ways of reconstituting it as before.


The article says that biologists think we should be best described as "superorganisms" to properly include all the bacteria. So hey, in a way, we're all super beings with bacterial colonies adapting to our lifestyles along with us. Sort of your extra crew, one might say.
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