Joan Rothchild Hardin
The Human Microbiome – Two Short Videos
In the developed world, we have become brainwashed into regarding ALL bacteria and microbes as DANGEROUS to our health. We use antibacterial soaps and ointments on our skins, mouthwashes that promise to kill 99% of the germs in our mouths, disinfectant and antiseptic sprays and wipes in our homes. We’ve become like real life players of a version of Rampage: Total Destruction – on a mission to destroy all the bacteria on, in, and around us. In Rampage: Total Destruction, players destroy the environment to earn points. In our fear of all microbes, we too are working to destroy our internal and external environments by targeting the bacteria that keep us healthy (called PROBIOTICS) along with ones that make us sick (called PATHOGENS). PROBIOTICS are live bacteria, yeasts, and other microscopic life forms that SUPPORT GOOD HEALTH in our digestive systems – and throughout the body. If they’re not in good balance, we become sick in a whole variety of ways – from digestive problems to skin rashes, allergies, asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
This NPR animated video called The Invisible Universe Of The Human Microbiome may help you understand why you need to nurture these good guys, your probiotics, in and on your body.
NPR’s description of the video: The next time you look in a mirror, think about this: In many ways you’re more microbe than human. There are 10 times more cells from microorganisms like bacteria and fungi in and on our bodies than there are human cells. But these tiny compatriots are invisible to the naked eye. So we asked artist Ben Arthur to give us a guided tour of the rich universe of the human microbiome. I also recommend another interesting video by NPS MedicineWise, called The human microbiome and what we do to it. Dr David A. Relman, who’s the main speaker in the film, is the Thomas C. and Joan M. Merigan Professor in Medicine, and Microbiology & Immunology at Stanford University. He’s also Chief of Infectious Diseases at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto (CA) Health Care System. Dr Relman’s research focuses on the indigenous human microbiota and the identification of previously-unrecognized microbial agents of disease. He has advised the US Government on emerging infectious diseases, human-microbe interactions, and future biological threats. He is Chair of the Forum on Microbial Threats at the Institute of Medicine (National Academies of Science) and Past President of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and a Member of the Institute of Medicine. In other words, he knows what he’s talking about.
NPS MedicineWise’s description of the video: Did you know that you and I are only 1% human — we’ve 90 trillion cells which don’t belong to us. Yes we are more bacteria than human. Have you ever wondered what it means to be human? It turns out that only a tiny percentage of what you and I are made of is actually human — and we need our non-human bits to survive. This part of us now has a name — it’s called our microbiome. But we’re doing dreadful things to this hidden majority and it’s damaging our health as a result. From the Tonic series produced with the assistance of NPS.
REFERENCES NPR. (2013). The Invisible Universe Of The Human Microbiome. (Video). See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DTrENdWvvM NPS MedicineWise. (2012). The human microbiome and what we do to it. (Video). See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEZSuwkx7Ik © Copyright 2015 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.
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