While we previously thought that the placenta was a microbe free zone, it is now clear that it is in fact home to a unique community of bacteria that most closely resemble those in the mothers mouth. This finding is interesting in light of the association between maternal oral health and preterm births, and suggests … Continue reading #11 Friday Fun Fact – The Placental Microbiome
When your bowel behaves as though there is an obstruction, but upon medical inspection, none exists. Can include bloating, severe pain, and constipation. Much like the brain in the head sometimes gets confused about the presence of a limb following amputation (phantom limb pain), so too can the brain in the gut get confused about … Continue reading #10 Friday Fun Fact – The Ghost Poop
Coprophagia Though many of us try to ignore it, the facts are clear; most of the animal kingdom isn't nearly as concerned by poop as we humans are. In fact, numerous animals, from koalas and elephants, to rats and hippopotamus, all engage in the interesting behavior of poop eating - coprophagia. My dear old dog … Continue reading Fecal Microbiome Transplants: The way of the future, or a big pile of poop?
With valentines day looming there is no better time than to discuss bacterial sex. More frequently referred to as Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT), this process describes the way that bacteria can pass genetic information between one another to produce sometimes more adapted bacterial genomes for the particular environment. While we humans must wait for reproduction … Continue reading #9 Friday Fun Fact – Bacterial Love Making
Hi Brain-Gut lovers, and welcome to another edition of 'I Study Poop - Adventures of Scientists on the Front Line". This month we are catching up with Emily Wissel, an undergraduate from the University of Austin Texas working on her first microbiome research project. Enjoy! Emily Wissel Hello bacteria fans! I hope you’re all as … Continue reading I Study Poop – Adventures from Scientists on the Front Line
Some things are best done with friends, but when you have no ears and eyes, it is hard to know when your friends are around to help you. Bacteria have solved this problem through a process called quorum sensing. Bacteria produce molecules called autoinducers (AIs), and they also monitor the number of these AIs in … Continue reading #8 No Bacterium Glows Alone
Botulism is a serious illness that can look a bit like a stroke - muscles loose their tone, tiredness takes hold, and the eyelids droop. The culprit - Clostridium Botulinum - a bacterium which thrives in anaerobic conditions (i.e., oxygen-free places), and that has a penchant for secreting a potentially lethal toxin. Although it cannot survive in … Continue reading #7 Friday Fun Fact – Beware the Bulging Can
Hi Brain-Gut lovers, and welcome to another edition of 'I Study Poop - Adventures of Scientists on the Front Line". This month we are catching up with Caitlin Cowan, my research sister, and a Ph.D. candidate from the University of New South Wales in Australia (my alma mater) who is about to embark on a … Continue reading I Study Poop – Adventures From Scientists on the Front Line
Ever wondered whether there was a real life equivalent of the Matryoshka Stacking Doll? In his brilliant book 'I Contain Multitudes', author Ed Yong describes the Citrus Mealybug. Like many animals, this little critter has incorporated bacteria inside its cells. What makes it so special is that another kind of bacteria lives inside that bacteria. … Continue reading #6 Friday Fun Fact – Russian Doll Bugs
The first colonizers of the baby's gastrointestinal tract and skin actually come from the mother's vagina. As the baby makes it's way down the birth canal and out into the world, it is coated in it's mother's vaginal microbes, which then make the baby their new home. It is believed that this initial colonization is … Continue reading #5 Friday Fun Fact – Mommy, where do my microbes come from?