In BriefYoutube's SciShow hosted by Hank Green tells us why the trillions of organisms in our bodies differ from person to person while enhancing the body's ability to fight off infection and other types of disease.
Our bodies essentially serve as giant vehicles for a vast array of organisms. From bacteria, to protists, archaea, viruses, fungi, and even bugs, there are trillions of creatures that live within us in what scientists call a microbiome. Our respective microbiomes have varying and interesting relationships with us, from potentially extending our lives to fight off aging, to establishing new leads in the case against age-old diseases—our symbiotic relationship is one to cherish.
SciShow’s Hank Green takes a moment to help us digest (pun intended) information about our own personal microbiomes. Interestingly enough, you and everyone else around you might have completely different varieties of organisms. Our microbiomes are developed and shaped with every interaction we’ve had since birth. Hank notes that there are concentrated regions of bacteria in and on the skin, mouth, intestines, and vagina that change over time.
With all the possible different interactions that a person can have in his or her life, it isn’t too difficult to imagine how diverse a microbiome can become. However, we’re not all sporting the most diverse microbiomes for our entire lives. As we grow older, Hank tells us that our microbiome diversity decreases, which might increase our susceptibility to disease.
Hank goes on to discuss current studies and therapies (like fecal transplants) involving microbiomes in the hope of understanding patterns that can help us in fighting disease. And, while there is still so much more to learn about microbes and how they interact with u s, it’s clear that our friendly organisms are significantly involved in helping us live.