Microbiome Bites January 15th: Cancer, Autism and Feeding the Microbiome
It has been a relatively slow week for microbiome research, so it’s a short one.
1. Women's Microbiomes May Give Cancer Warning
Researchers from the Mayo clinic found that the microbiomes in the reproductive tracts of women with endometrial cancer are different from the microbiomes from women without.
Endometrial cancer is the most common type of gynaecological cancer and little is known about what causes it. In the study published in the journal Genome Medicine, the researchers found that the women with endometrial cancer had significantly higher levels of two types of bacteria in their uteruses.
The bacteria are called Atopobium vaginae and Porphyromonas species. It’s not known yet how the bacteria might be contributing to the cancers’ development, but Atopobium vaginae may cause chronic inflammation, which could be the rot of the problem.
You can read a nice overview of the study here.
2. New Insight into the Microbiomes’ Inner Working
The biggest family of bacteria in the gut microbiome is the Bacteroidetes (you can read more about the types of bacteria here. These are the bacteria associated with most of the healthy microbiome goodness and they survive by eating the prebiotics (such as resistant starch, inulin etc.) that your body can’t digest. Now a research team at Newcastle University has figured out part of the system the bacteria use to get these vital nutrients into the cell. It all gets fairly complicated, but point is that the more we know about the way the microbiome works, the greater the chance we will have of manipulating it.
You can read an overview here.
The study itself is here.
3. Autism and the Microbiome Video
Finally, we’re finishing up with a video.
The gut microbiome plays a role in Autism via the gut-brain axis, but there’s a lot we don’t yet understand. Here Dr. Mayer runs through one of the more compelling studies and explains how a strain of probiotic may be the answer to decreasing the incidence of autism.
You can see the video here (8 mins).