Pneumonia and middle ear infections might be prevented by diverse bacteria in the gut microbiome. In the study published in mBio, researchers demonstrated that harmless bacteria found in the nose and on the skin may negatively impact the growth of a common pathogen, leading to middle ear infection in children and pneumonia in children and young adults.
Corynebacterium accolens, typically harmless and commonly found in the nose, can inhibit Streptococcus pneumoniae – bacterium that leads to meningitis, middle ear infection, and pneumonia. The World Health Organization states that S. pneumoniae causes over one million deaths annually, mainly in young children and those living in the developing world. Hosts of the bacteria typically do not develop infections related to S. pneumoniae, but with greater colonization also comes the increase risk of developing infections.
Role of gut microbiome in health and disease
The role of gut microbiome is quite large when it comes to health and disease. Even though the human genome codes for nearly 23,000 genes, researchers suggests that tiny microorganisms also help our genes to carry out important functions. Jayne Danska, an immunologist at the Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute in Ontario, said, “The genetic richness and complexity of the bugs we carry is much richer than our own. They serve as a buffer and interpreter of our environment. We are chimeric organisms.”
Research has shown that in certain conditions, changes occur in the gut microbiome. Sarkis Mazmanian, a microbiologist at the California Institute of Technology, compared microbiomes to “a garden—you’re less likely to have weeds growing if you have lush vegetation, but without this vegetation the weeds can potentially take over.”
Gut microbiomes have been studied with regards to many conditions and ailments, from inflammatory diseases to even brain disorders. Previous research from Russia found that a healthy colonic microbiome could combat senility and components found in sour milk and yogurt could help extend a person’s life.
As more research continues to come about with regards to gut microbiome and health, there is more potential for future treatment options to address many common ailments.
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