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Doctors Have A "Gut" Feeling About The New Frontier In Medicine

Posted Friday, March 30, 2018 by Gene Moen

A recent article spelled out new interest in the “gut microbome” as an opportunity to control illnesses as diverse as obesity, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and even atherosclerotic disease. Gut microbiome (formerly known as gut flora) is the name given today to the microbe population living in our intestines.

Our gut microbiota contains tens of trillions of microorganisms, including at least 1000 different species of known bacteria with more than 3 million genes (150 times more than human genes). It’s a jungle in there, and new finds are occurring on a frequent basis by those willing to explore.

Experts think that the microbiome affects many aspects of our bodies, including a powerful influence on digestion, the immune system, and the central nervous system. So a new goal of many medical researchers is to find the underlying cause of many diseases and treat them at the source within the gut.

At a recent meeting of the North American Microbiome Congress in February, there was an emphasis on the connection between the gut and overall health. One product of this emphasis is the development of microbiome therapies in clinical trials. Pharmaceutical companies are seeing new possibilities for patenting these therapies in a developing market.

While much of the research is focused on obvious health problems like obesity, diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease, the new research frontiers will be in areas where there is no current treatment for a disease. But even apart from those possibilities, simply dealing with obesity through this research could save billions of health care dollars.

The bottom line is that there is a huge amount of promise within the gut microbiome, with research in this area just starting to gain attention and momentum within the scientific and medical communities.

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