Jun 12, 2013 at 16:05:02
“I think you've created a false conundrum here for purposes of writing a more compelling blog post :)
Clearly, having no microbes in us is out of balance. But the parasites/microbes rapidly killing off large swaths of people are out of balance as well. At least so far as it pertains to our health. But I would guess it is also out of balance in regards to maintaining the parasite/microbe population as a whole. Ultimately a parasite/microbe is dependent on it's environment (infected people). If the parasites/microbes ravage the people they infect then they (most of time) die as well.
Reading this post, I'm reminded of the way antibiotic resistant Mersa (sp?) is treated with fecal implants. The flora of a healthy person's colon is used to repopulate the colon of someone who is now infected with Mersa (usually due to having been on antibiotics for some other reason). As I understand it, the symbiotic bugs spread rapidly effectively starving the Mersa of the resources it needs to thrive.
Given the vast genetic diversity of bacteria I imagine that the proper course of treatment for most of us is to get the portion of the bacterial population most likely to thrive inside us but least likely to go about killing us in the process. As you suggest, the difficulty is in the details of what should be introduced, how much, how often, and when in relation to our age, illnesses, etc.
Modern medicine reimagined.”
eLucida on Jun 13, 2013 at 08:49:58
“The web is even more complex that just swapping microbes: Fecal implants are often effective because they contain weakened bacteria with bacteriophages -- viruses that specifically kill certain types of bacteria.
"Big fleas have little fleas,
Upon their backs to bite 'em,
And little fleas have lesser fleas,
and so, ad infinitum."
-att. De Morgan/Swift
Balancing our internal flora, including THEIR internal flora, is fascinating and shows great promise for understanding deeper conundrums of what it means to be 'healthy'.”
hp blogger David Katz, M.D. on Jun 12, 2013 at 21:04:30
“I appreciate the suggestion that the result of my struggle is compelling; but the conundrum is real. It is true that wolves can kill sheep, or rarely, perhaps, even people- but it's also true that removing wolves from an ecosystem has considerable adverse repercussions. Much the same seems to be true of various organisms that reside within rather than around us; some of the very same species (not limited to bacteria) that can cause harm are also apparently doing good we don't recognize until they are gone. The challenge in finding the optimal balance is daunting at present- but it does appear to be a prize worth the fight.