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There was an idea called Friendly Parasites, that got
deleted, that inspired this one.
Humans and other living things are often colonized by
other, smaller life-forms. We (each individually, and
collectively) are an ecological niche. A lot of people are
freaked out by the idea of having
parasites, but keeping
an ecological niche vacant may be more difficult than
choosing how to populate it. An example is gut bacteria
that helps us break down food, which can be destroyed
antibiotics, or replenished by live yogurt. On the dark
side, the most common is Toxoplasma gondii, which
infects an estimated 20-60% of humans and is linked
increased risk of madness, death and other harmful
It may be that there are many beneficial bio-
or ones that, while still harmful, displace or compete
others that are worse. Western medicine, which
concentrates on dysfunction, has led to investigation of
the most harmful 'bugs', but the best of our companions
may escape notice simply because very healthy people
avoid doctors and medical researchers.
So this idea is for a clinical study, which measures the
overall fitness of individuals, who are also 'polled' to
characterize the flora they harbor (swabs, blood
etc), and correction for the effects of lifestyle (diet,
smoking, exercise) and heredity..
If clear winners emerge, they could be cultured and
encouraged.. even bred like other pets. The testing
be a little scary..
NIH Human Microbiome Project
[swimswim, Dec 24 2009]
[afinehowdoyoudo, Aug 30 2011]
||Well. I think that Mohandas deserves better then that.
||This, I think, is a very good idea and, if it's not already
being done (and I don't think it is) would make a very nice
||Probably the most fundable way to do it (not necessarily
the best, but best suited to current research modes)
would be as a metagenomics project.
||There are already numerous programmes to simply
sequence all the DNA found in various environments (the
ocean; sulphur springs; hot vents), and use this shredder-
bucket of data to try to reassemble the diversity of
||I am pretty sure that there are "gutome" projects, doing
this for gut flora.
||However, as far as I know, the gutome projects don't
attempt to correlate their data with health (I may be
wrong). Also, they will miss anything outside the gut.
||I don't know how you'd do this. The most unbiased way
would be to take a whole person, immediately after death,
and do a whole-body DNA extraction (preferably also RNA,
to catch RNA viruses), then sequence the crap out of it.
The problem with this is that very minor species (for
example, those present in only a subset of tissues) will be
very under-represented, and you'd have to sequence to a
truly awesome depth to find them. Still probably doable
now or soon.
||// very healthy people avoid doctors and medical researchers //
||Have you considered that you might be confusing cause and effect with that statement ? Is it not equally possible that these individuals are healthy precisely because they avoid doctors ?
||If you extracted whole body DNA, and then mixed it really well per organ/tissue type, you could find the under-represented species pretty easily, still.
||A species might make up just 1/100,000,000th of your body mass, but 1/10,000th of your gallbladder or wherever it specializes.
||If you have a soup of DNA in a jar labeled "gallbladder," then it requires much less sequencing to find the target. In other words, you sample the tissue types that initially indicate higher biodiversity (e.g. gut) more intensively than other tissue types (e.g. bone).
||At the end of the day, even if you only sequence 1 million cells, you might have a 99% chance of having caught at least once sample of a 1 in a million species instead of ~50%, because your odds per sample for that species are much higher than overall, due to the targeted sampling strategy.
||Also, you must consider that even if we don't get everything, this is still a useful project, at any scale. Even if we only find 2% of useful organisms available in healthy people, by cultivating and distributing those, we can still do a lot of good. So you don't need to find EVERYTHING for the idea to work anyway.
||Yes, I realize this is 1.5 years old.
||Yes, organ- or tissue-specific sequencing would be
more sensitive. Also, short-read sequencing is now
so cheap that this is quite easily doable. (On the
other hand, the read-lengths are so crappily short
that you'd only really be able to pick out parasites
which were either very abundant or already
sequenced - but that might be good enough.)
||The probiotic bacteria LKM512 is published at PLoS
one as more than doubling the longevity of mice.
||Other areas that support [AfHdyd] idea are that
people can apparently have their geneology
traced through commonality of skin bacteria going
bsack milennia. Thus one could try finding the
healthiest mice anywhere, coating them with
nutrients, then spreading that bacterial culture
onto sterile culture rodents, with another group
of sterile culture rodents at a far lab getting their
surface bacteria from their surroundings
||If the longevity or wellness benefits persist then
you have found another well being group of
|| sometime during the 20th century someone
found a virus or bacteria that made birds gain
weight, its possible there is a noncrummy keep
thin bacteria or virus out there as well that would
keep mice or people thinner, providing well being
I have heard of what I call "recreational TB"
apparently people that want to pale n skinny get
this on purpose as a kind of "diet plan"
I think they should start with the recreational TB
bacteria then see if they can create a version that
keeps animals from getting cardiovascular disease
as a result of skinniness.
||One idea I have thought about putting up here is
engineering staphlococcus aureus to make
chemicals published as causing creatures to heal
twice as fast. That way even opportunistic
nfections from local bacteria would benefit the
person. Goop from alginate chitosan as well as
ginger extract are both peer reviewed published
as doubling the rate of healing thus it is possible
that staphlococcus aureus that makes hyalonuric
acid(easier) or even possibly chitosan (more
complex) as well as possibly the amplifier version
of siRNA to whatever cytokines ginger extract
promotes could make a surface bacteria that
causes people to heal twice as rapidly.
||//The probiotic bacteria LKM512 is published at PLoS
one as more than doubling the longevity of mice.
||If I read the paper correctly, not giving LKM512
resulted in the mice dying at a much lower age than
is normal for their ilk. It's a dodgy paper.
||//sometime during the 20th century someone found
a virus or bacteria that made birds gain weight//