Our bacteria are picky eaters. Some of them - like Prevotelia - prefer a high carbohydrate diet, while others - like Bacteroides - stick to unhealthy western lifestyle with lots of meat and fat. The most prevalent bacteria in the gut of horses, cows and goats prefer people consuming alcohol and polyunsaturated fats. Methanobrevibacter is most abundant in anorexic nervosa patients. Gram negative bacillus Bilophila wadsworthia loves people with gangrenous appendicitis or those whose diets are high in milk fat. The most widely promoted prebiotics inulin and fructooligosaccharides seem to attract Bifidobacteria. What about diets low in poorly absorbed fermentable carbohydrates aka FODMAPs that seem to aggravate irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) ? Which bacteria is responsible?
Could methane produced by sauropod dinosaurs have helped drive Mesozoic climate warmth? Probably, as some 520 million tons of methane (a “greenhouse gas” emission) were estimated to be produced by the flatulent beasts every year. This begs the question, do flatulent humans today also contribute to global warming? And even if they don't, how could we reduce the harmful effects of intestinal gas on human health?
What if an invisible digital nurse or a doctor-in-the-pocket could take detailed notes about your physiology, psychology, symptoms and activities, and record the precise ingredients in your foods? And what if this digital nurse also could simultaneously collect information about your environment, including the weather, air quality, allergens and even disease outbreaks near your location?
August 15, 2010: Predicting catastrophic health events "I've just picked up a fault in the AE35 unit. It's going to go 100% failure in 72 hours". These were famous words of the almighty computer HAL in "2001: A Space Odyssey". Few of us believe too much in software forecasts - be it weather, earthquakes or computer hard disk failures. Yet, we all know that sometimes it works. And such systems are very valuable, assuming they continuously improve.
July 28, 2010: Hormonal Manipulation of Olfactory Cues, or How to Lose a Guy in 10 days Body odors are important cues used for social and sexual discrimination. As was shown many times, animals can easily smell age-, health- and genetics-related differences. Recent study of our large-eyed relatives, ring-tailed lemurs, demonstrate that drugs can alter body scents and change behavior.