A new genetic analysis of human gut bacteria is turning up some really weird critters—so weird, in fact, that some biologists are speculating we’ve found an entirely new domain of life. We should take that possibility with a healthy dose of skepticism. But here’s why it’s even being discussed.
Intestinal worms have an incredibly bad reputation. The thought of them sneaking around inside our bodies and eating us from the inside is pretty unpleasant. But for decades, results coming out of lab after lab have shown that some kinds of helminths can be extremely beneficial to their host, and aren’t parasites at…
Bad news, hypochondriacs: You’re walking in a massive cloud of bacteria. In fact, it’s kinda an extension of your body, and no amount of showering will rid you of it. Even better: It grew out of your mouth, poop and skin.
We all have our personal feelings about how a burger should be cooked. But if there’s one thing that’s universally agreed upon, it’s that a burger on bun with ketchup and toppings should be very much dead. In reality, that’s not the case at all.
When was the last time you thanked the bugs in your belly? Even if the concept of a “healthy” microbiome is flawed, the trillions of microorganisms living in your gut (and mouth, and vagina, and nose, etc.) play a vital role in many of your body’s functions. They’re so essential, many refer to the microbiome as an…
The trillions of bacteria that live on us and in us—otherwise known as our microbiomes—are vital to our health in ways we’re just beginning to understand. Now scientists have discovered the most diverse collection of bodily bacteria ever, in a remote Amazonian tribe of southern Venezuela.
We all know that the homes we believe belong to us are actually varied landscapes in which billions of creatures live, but we usually try not to think about our microbial roommates. Find out why your bathroom is the ultimate bacteria battleground, and why cleaning it can sometimes make it worse.
The results of a new study suggest forensic scientists could one day use the microbial signature of people's privates to identify sexual offenders. Think of it as a musty, microscopic, x-rated fingerprint.
It's generally agreed that life on this planet would not be possible if it weren't for microbes. In a fascinating thought experiment, a pair of biologists scrutinized this assumption to find out. As their paper makes clear, a microbe-free world would be a strange place, indeed.
Embracing the complexity of the microbiome means doing away with pat conceptions of its function.
We all know that diet can dramatically affect our health, both mentally and physically. But a new study shows that an off-kilter eating schedule could also affect well-being, too. Here's why.
Fecal transplants are an effective way to combat C. difficile infections, but they're typically delivered by enema or a tube down the digestive system. Not pleasant. But thankfully, scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital have now made the healing powers of poop available in pill form.
Food allergies have risen dramatically in recent years, leading scientists to speculate about possible environmental factors. A recent study suggests that antibiotics may be destroying a key gut microbe — one that could be reintroduced into the body, to restore proper immune function.
Billions of microbes live in your gut. Together they form a "microbiome," and they are so important to your health and moods that biologists now call the gut microbiome an internal organ. But what is this organ and how does it work? This video from Youreka Science explains it all for you.
Last week, science journalist Ed Yong gave a very uncharacteristic TED talk. It wasn't designed to make you feel good — in fact, it was actually a bit sarcastic, full of crawly descriptions of how parasites control behavior. But it blew the audience away.
From improving heart health to alleviating the effects of depression, dark chocolate is renowned for its remarkable health benefits. A recent study now points to one of the reasons why — and it has to do with dark chocolate's unique chemistry, plus the microbes in our stomach who find it equally delicious.
Numerous animals, humans included, have adapted to living in cold climates by increasing their body size. And now, researchers have found that people living in colder regions have more obesity-related gut microbes than their warm-region counterparts. Are bacteria the reason why it's harder to lose weight in the snow?
How much can you learn about your health from a dab of poop or a swab from your skin or mouth? With various scientific researchers offering to test your microbiome for a fee, it's natural to be curious about the trillions of microbes living in your body. But is it worthwhile to get tested yourself, and what can…
The bacteria Staphylococcus aureus is a benign resident of the human microbiome. But in the last 15 years, a strain of it has evolved to become a major public health problem. To understand how everyday microbes can change so dramatically, laboratories are investigating how bacterial communities exchange genetic…
The majority of cells in your body belong to microbes, not your own tissues. In a very real sense, you are an ecosystem more than a unified organism. And this gorgeously illustrated animation by Ben Arthur gives you an idea of what that means.