Your microbiome cloud and the human exposome - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#14949130
Stanford scientists have measured the human “exposome,” or the particulates, chemicals and microbes that individually swaddle us all, in unprecedented detail.

We are all exposed to a vast and dynamic cloud of microbes, chemicals and particulates that, if visible, might make us look something like Pig-Pen from Peanuts.

Using a re-engineered air-monitoring device, scientists from the Stanford University School of Medicine have peered into that plume and discovered a smorgasbord of biological and chemical minutia that swirl in, on and around us. Their findings show, in unprecedented detail, the variety of bacteria, viruses, chemicals, plant particulates, fungi, and even tiny microscopic animals that enter our personal space — a bombardment known as the human “exposome.”

“Human health is influenced by two things: your DNA and the environment,” said Michael Snyder, PhD, professor and chair of genetics at Stanford. “People have measured things like air pollution on a broad scale, but no one has really measured biological and chemical exposures at a personal level. No one really knows how vast the human exposome is or what kinds of things are in there.”

That curiosity — to see, for the first time, what a person’s exposure looks like at an individual level and how much it varies among people — was what motivated the study, Snyder said. But studying the exposome also provides an opportunity to clarify environmental influencers of human health that are otherwise obscure, he said. For example, rather than simply blaming pollen, those with seasonal allergies would be able to identify exactly what they’re allergic to by monitoring their exposome data and symptoms throughout the year.

The study’s findings also reveal information about geographic- and household-chemical spikes and weather-related patterns, and likewise show the wide range of chemical and biological particulates that can be found between individuals — even within a relatively small geographic region, such as the San Francisco Bay Area.

The study was published online Sept. 20 in Cell. Snyder is the senior author. Postdoctoral scholar Chao Jiang, PhD; research scientist Xin Wang, PhD; research associate Xiyan Li, PhD; and postdoctoral scholars Jingga Inlora, PhD, and Ting Wang, PhD, are co-lead authors.

Read more: http://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2 ... icals.html


Fascinating! I'd like to see a follow up study that evaluates how bio-magnetism affects the human exposome. Perhaps we will wear a benign/non-invasive device that generates a particular EM-field that is designed to attract/create a "healthier" human exposome. Though we could mess up our natural EM field and accidentally repel good microbes. :hmm:
#14949235
Zagadka wrote:We are not grateful enough of bacteria.
True. We should curb the practice of overkill sterilization. I think we've harmed our immune system in a number of ways by trying to sterilize everthing. We need good bacteria, but we typically kill the good bacteria when we seek to eliminate the bad bacteria. Here's a great article:

Strange but True: Antibacterial Products May Do More Harm Than Good
Antibacterial soaps and other cleaners may actually be aiding in the development of superbacteria.


Tuberculosis, food poisoning, cholera, pneumonia, strep throat and meningitis: these are just a few of the unsavory diseases caused by bacteria. Hygiene—keeping both home and body clean—is one of the best ways to curb the spread of bacterial infections, but lately consumers are getting the message that washing with regular soap is insufficient. Antibacterial products have never been so popular. Body soaps, household cleaners, sponges, even mattresses and lip glosses are now packing bacteria-killing ingredients, and scientists question what place, if any, these chemicals have in the daily routines of healthy people.

Traditionally, people washed bacteria from their bodies and homes using soap and hot water, alcohol, chlorine bleach or hydrogen peroxide. These substances act nonspecifically, meaning they wipe out almost every type of microbe in sight—fungi, bacteria and some viruses—rather than singling out a particular variety.


Soap works by loosening and lifting dirt, oil and microbes from surfaces so they can be easily rinsed away with water, whereas general cleaners such as alcohol inflict sweeping damage to cells by demolishing key structures, then evaporate. "They do their job and are quickly dissipated into the environment," explains microbiologist Stuart Levy of Tufts University School of Medicine.

Unlike these traditional cleaners, antibacterial products leave surface residues, creating conditions that may foster the development of resistant bacteria, Levy notes. For example, after spraying and wiping an antibacterial cleaner over a kitchen counter, active chemicals linger behind and continue to kill bacteria, but not necessarily all of them.

When a bacterial population is placed under a stressor—such as an antibacterial chemical—a small subpopulation armed with special defense mechanisms can develop. These lineages survive and reproduce as their weaker relatives perish. "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" is the governing maxim here, as antibacterial chemicals select for bacteria that endure their presence.

As bacteria develop a tolerance for these compounds there is potential for also developing a tolerance for certain antibiotics. This phenomenon, called cross-resistance, has already been demonstrated in several laboratory studies using triclosan, one of the most common chemicals found in antibacterial hand cleaners, dishwashing liquids and other wash products. "Triclosan has a specific inhibitory target in bacteria similar to some antibiotics," says epidemiologist Allison Aiello at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.


When bacteria are exposed to triclosan for long periods of time, genetic mutations can arise. Some of these mutations endow the bacteria with resistance to isoniazid, an antibiotic used for treating tuberculosis, whereas other microbes can supercharge their efflux pumps—protein machines in the cell membrane that can spit out several types of antibiotics, Aiello explains. These effects have been demonstrated only in the laboratory, not in households and other real world environments, but Aiello believes that the few household studies may not have been long enough. "It's very possible that the emergence of resistant species takes quite some time to occur…; the potential is there," she says.

Apart from the potential emergence of drug-resistant bacteria in communities, scientists have other concerns about antibacterial compounds. Both triclosan and its close chemical relative triclocarban (also widely used as an antibacterial), are present in 60 percent of America's streams and rivers, says environmental scientist Rolf Halden, co-founder of the Center for Water and Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Both chemicals are efficiently removed from wastewater in treatment plants but end up getting sequestered in the municipal sludge, which is used as fertilizer for crops, thereby opening a potential pathway for contamination of the food we eat, Halden explains. "We have to realize that the concentrations in agricultural soil are very high," and this, "along with the presence of pathogens from sewage, could be a recipe for breeding antimicrobial resistance" in the environment, he says.

Triclosan has also been found in human breast milk, although not in concentrations considered dangerous to babies, as well as in human blood plasma. There is no evidence showing that current concentrations of triclosan in the human body are harmful, but recent studies suggest that it acts as an endocrine disrupter in bullfrogs and rats.

Further, an expert panel convened by the Food and Drug Administration determined that there is insufficient evidence for a benefit from consumer products containing antibacterial additives over similar ones not containing them.
"What is this stuff doing in households when we have soaps?" asks molecular biologist John Gustafson of New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. These substances really belong in hospitals and clinics, not in the homes of healthy people, Gustafson says.

Of course, antibacterial products do have their place. Millions of Americans suffer from weakened immune systems, including pregnant women and people with immunodeficiency diseases, points out Eugene Cole, an infectious disease specialist at Brigham Young University. For these people, targeted use of antibacterial products, such as triclosan, may be appropriate in the home, he says.

In general, however, good, long-term hygiene means using regular soaps rather than new, antibacterial ones, experts say. "The main way to keep from getting sick," Gustafson says, "is to wash your hands three times a day and don't touch mucous membranes."

https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... than-good/


Hence the follow up: Say Goodbye to Antibacterial Soaps: Why the FDA is banning a household item

http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2017/ ... hold-item/

I remain concerned however, because the FDA is still in favor of food irradiation.

Food Irradiation: What You Need to Know

Irradiation does not make foods radioactive, compromise nutritional quality, or noticeably change the taste, texture, or appearance of food. In fact, any changes made by irradiation are so minimal that it is not easy to tell if a food has been irradiated.

Food irradiation (the application of ionizing radiation to food) is a technology that improves the safety and extends the shelf life of foods by reducing or eliminating microorganisms and insects. Like pasteurizing milk and canning fruits and vegetables, irradiation can make food safer for the consumer. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for regulating the sources of radiation that are used to irradiate food. The FDA approves a source of radiation for use on foods only after it has determined that irradiating the food is safe.

Why Irradiate Food?

Irradiation can serve many purposes.

Prevention of Foodborne Illness – to effectively eliminate organisms that cause foodborne illness, such as Salmonella and Escherichia coli (E. coli).
Preservation – to destroy or inactivate organisms that cause spoilage and decomposition and extend the shelf life of foods.

Control of Insects – to destroy insects in or on tropical fruits imported into the United States. Irradiation also decreases the need for other pest-control practices that may harm the fruit.

Delay of Sprouting and Ripening – to inhibit sprouting (e.g., potatoes) and delay ripening of fruit to increase longevity.

Sterilization – irradiation can be used to sterilize foods, which can then be stored for years without refrigeration. Sterilized foods are useful in hospitals for patients with severely impaired immune systems, such as patients with AIDS or undergoing chemotherapy. Foods that are sterilized by irradiation are exposed to substantially higher levels of treatment than those approved for general use.

https://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYo ... 261680.htm


Food irradiation is not a biologically appropriate method, but large companies want money... Not lawsuits. Hence why we practice overkill sterilization.
Last edited by RhetoricThug on 27 Sep 2018 01:27, edited 1 time in total.
#14949239
Yea, I tend to avoid antibiotics unless needed. There is a fine line between having enough to resist communal disease and having too much and tanking your system itself... and creating new strains resistant to what we do have.

Last time I had a tooth cleaning, the dentist mentioned encouraging "good bacteria", which was nice. Bacteria get a bad rap :-p They take care of tons of our body's systems... I actually find it hard to define where "you" end and outside begins. They're all just cells that are generally symbiotic.
#14993446
Your Environment Is Cleaner. Your Immune System Has Never Been So Unprepared.

A century ago, British scientists suggested a link between increased hygiene and allergic conditions — the first hint that our immune systems are becoming improperly “trained.”

Excerpted from “An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System,” published on Tuesday by William Morrow.

Should you pick your nose?

Don’t laugh. Scientifically, it’s an interesting question.

Should your children pick their noses? Should your children eat dirt? Maybe: Your body needs to know what immune challenges lurk in the immediate environment.

Should you use antibacterial soap or hand sanitizers? No. Are we taking too many antibiotics? Yes.

“I tell people, when they drop food on the floor, please pick it up and eat it,” said Dr. Meg Lemon, a dermatologist in Denver who treats people with allergies and autoimmune disorders.

“Get rid of the antibacterial soap. Immunize! If a new vaccine comes out, run and get it. I immunized the living hell out of my children. And it’s O.K. if they eat dirt.”

Dr. Lemon’s prescription for a better immune system doesn’t end there. “You should not only pick your nose, you should eat it,” she said.

She’s referring, with a facetious touch, to the fact our immune system can become disrupted if it doesn’t have regular interactions with the natural world.

“Our immune system needs a job,” Dr. Lemon said. “We evolved over millions of years to have our immune systems under constant assault. Now they don’t have anything to do.”

She isn’t alone. Leading physicians and immunologists are reconsidering the antiseptic, at times hysterical, ways in which we interact with our environment.

Why? Let us turn to 19th-century London.

The British Journal of Homeopathy, volume 29, published in 1872, included a startlingly prescient observation: “Hay fever is said to be an aristocratic disease, and there can be no doubt that, if it is not almost wholly confined to the upper classes of society, it is rarely, if ever, met with but among the educated.”

Hay fever is a catchall term for seasonal allergies to pollen and other airborne irritants. With this idea that hay fever was an aristocratic disease, British scientists were on to something.

More than a century later, in November 1989, another highly influential paper was published on the subject of hay fever. The paper was short, less than two pages, in BMJ, titled “Hay Fever, Hygiene, and Household Size.”

The author looked at the prevalence of hay fever among 17,414 children born in March 1958. Of 16 variables the scientist explored, he described as “most striking” an association between the likelihood that a child would get hay fever allergy and the number of his or her siblings.

It was an inverse relationship, meaning the more siblings the child had, the less likely it was that he or she would get the allergy. Not just that, but the children least likely to get allergies were ones who had older siblings.

The paper hypothesized that “allergic diseases were prevented by infection in early childhood, transmitted by unhygienic contact with older siblings, or acquired prenatally from a mother infected by contact with her older children.

“Over the past century declining family size, improvements in household amenities, and higher standards of personal cleanliness have reduced the opportunity for cross infection in young families,” the paper continued. “This may have resulted in more widespread clinical expression of atopic disease, emerging in wealthier people, as seems to have occurred for hay fever.”

This is the birth of the hygiene hypothesis. The ideas behind it have since evolved and expanded, but it provides profound insight into a challenge that human beings face in our relationship with the modern world.
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Our ancestors evolved over millions of years to survive in their environments. For most of human existence, that environment was characterized by extreme challenges, like scarcity of food, or food that could carry disease, as well as unsanitary conditions and unclean water, withering weather, and so on. It was a dangerous environment, a heck of a thing to survive.

At the center of our defenses was our immune system, our most elegant defense. The system is the product of centuries of evolution, as a river stone is shaped by water rushing over it and the tumbles it experiences on its journey downstream.

Late in the process, humans learned to take steps to bolster our defenses, developing all manner of customs and habits to support our survival. In this way, think of the brain — the organ that helps us develop habits and customs — as another facet of the immune system.

We used our collective brains to figure out effective behaviors. We started washing our hands and took care to avoid certain foods that experience showed could be dangerous or deadly. In some cultures, people came to avoid pork, which we now know is highly susceptible to trichinosis; in others, people banned meats, with we later learned may carry toxic loads of E. coli and other bacteria.

Ritual washing is mentioned in Exodus, one of the earliest books in the Bible: “So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not.”

Our ideas evolved, but for the most part, the immune system did not. This is not to say that it didn’t change. The immune system responds to our environment. When we encounter various threats, our defenses learn and then are much more able to deal with that threat in the future. In that way, we adapt to our environment.

We survived over tens of thousands of years. Eventually, we washed our hands, swept our floors, cooked our food, avoided certain foods altogether. We improved the hygiene of the animals we raised and slaughtered for food.

Particularly in the wealthier areas of the world, we purified our water, and developed plumbing and waste treatment plants; we isolated and killed bacteria and other germs.

The immune system’s enemies list was attenuated, largely for the good. Now, though, our bodies are proving that they cannot keep up with this change. We have created a mismatch between the immune system — one of the longest surviving and most refined balancing acts in the world — and our environment.

Thanks to all the powerful learning we’ve done as a species, we have minimized the regular interaction not just with parasites but even with friendly bacteria and parasites that helped to teach and hone the immune system — that “trained” it. It doesn’t encounter as many bugs when we are babies. This is not just because our homes are cleaner, but also because our families are smaller (fewer older children are bringing home the germs), our foods and water cleaner, our milk sterilized. Some refer to the lack of interaction with all kinds of microbes we used to meet in nature as the “old friends mechanism.”

What does the immune system do when it’s not properly trained?

It can overreact. It becomes aggrieved by things like dust mites or pollen. It develops what we called allergies, chronic immune system attacks — inflammation — in a way that is counterproductive, irritating, even dangerous.

The percentage of children in the United States with a food allergy rose 50 percent between 1997–1999 and 2009–2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The jump in skin allergies was 69 percent during that period, leaving 12.5 percent of American children with eczema and other irritations.

Food and respiratory allergies rose in tandem with income level. More money, which typically correlates with higher education, has meant more risk of allergy. This may reflect differences in who reports such allergies, but it also springs from differences in environment.

These trends are seen internationally, too. Skin allergies “doubled or tripled in industrialized countries during the past three decades, affecting 15–30 percent of children and 2–10 percent of adults,” according to a paper citing research from the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

By 2011, one in four children in Europe had an allergy, and the figure was on the rise, according to a report by the World Allergy Organization. Reinforcing the hygiene hypothesis, the paper noted that migration studies have shown that children born overseas have lower levels of some types of both allergy and autoimmunity than migrants whose children are born in the United States.

There are related trends in inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, rheumatic conditions and, in particular, celiac disease. The last results from the immune’s system overreacting to gluten, a protein in wheat, rye and barley. This attack, in turn, damages the walls of the small intestine.

This might sound like a food allergy, but it is different in part because of the symptoms. In the case of an autoimmune disorder like this one, the immune system attacks the protein and associated regions.

Allergies can generate a more generalized response. A peanut allergy, for instance, can lead to inflammation in the windpipe, known as anaphylaxis, which can cause strangulation.

In the case of both allergy and autoimmune disorders, though, the immune system reacts more strongly than it otherwise might, or than is healthy for the host (yeah, I’m talking about you).

This is not to say that all of these increases are due to better hygiene, a drop in childhood infection, and its association with wealth and education. There have been many changes to our environment, including new pollutants. There are absolutely genetic factors as well.

But the hygiene hypothesis — and when it comes to allergy, the inverse relationship between industrialized processes and health — has held up remarkably well.

As our bodies strive for balance, Madison Avenue has made a full-court press for greater hygiene, sometimes to our detriment.

We’re fed a steady diet of a hygiene-related marketing that began in the late 1800s, according to a novel study published in 2001 by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. Scientists at Columbia University who did the research were trying to understand how we became so enamored of soap products.

Some highlights:

The Sears catalog in the early 1900s heavily advertised “ammonia, Borax, and laundry and toilet soap.”

“During the early to mid-1900s, soap manufacturing in the United States increased by 44 percent,” coinciding with “major improvements in water supply, refuse disposal and sewage systems.”

The marketing trailed off in the 1960s and 1970s as antibiotics and vaccines were understood to be the answer to infectious agents, with less emphasis on “personal responsibility.”

But then, starting in the late 1980s, the market for such hygiene products — home and personal — surged 81 percent. The authors cite a “return of public concern for protection against infectious disease,” and it’s hard not to think of AIDS as part of that attention. If you’re in marketing, never waste a crisis, and the messages had an impact.

The study cites a Gallup poll from 1998 that found that 66 percent of adults worried about virus and bacteria, and 40 percent “believed these microorganisms were becoming more widespread.” Gallup also reported that 33 percent of adults “expressed the need for antibacterial cleansers to protect the home environment,” and 26 percent believed they were needed to protect the body and skin.

They were wrong. And even doctors have been wrong.

They have vastly overprescribed antibiotics. These may be a huge boon to an immune system faced with an otherwise deadly infection. But when used without good reason, the drugs can wipe out healthy microbes in our gut and cause bacteria to develop defenses that make them even more lethal.

A scientist who led efforts at the World Health Organization to develop global policy to limit use of antibiotics told me that, philosophically, this is a lesson that runs counter to a century of marketing: We’re not safer when we try to eliminate every risk from our environment.

“We have to get away from the idea of annihilating these things in our local environment. It just plays upon a certain fear,” said the scientist, Dr. Keiji Fukuda.

Has much of our hygiene been practical, valuable, life-preserving? Yes.

Have we overcorrected? At times. Should you pick your nose? Or put another way: Might that urge to pick be part of a primitive strategy to inform your immune system about the range of microbes in your environment, give this vigilant force activity, and train your most elegant defense?

Yes. Perhaps.

In short, from a cultural standpoint, you still probably shouldn’t pick — not in public. But it is a surprisingly fair scientific question.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/12/heal ... rgies.html
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