New gut microbiome information centre by the University of Utah

Only a decade ago, most scientists did not pay much attention to gut microbiota. Nor did the media. Although it was known these microorganisms were useful for some important functions, like digestion or immunity, the scope of this importance was still unknown. Recent studies and advancements in research techniques and capacities have shed more light onto this field of research; consequently, initiatives of science outreach and popularisation have been born.  The blog you are reading, Gutmicrobiotawatch.org, where we try to share with you the latest findings and news on this field, is one of those.

As we’ve done before, today, we would like to recommend other platforms that offer interesting information on the subject. This is the case of The Human Microbiome microsite, created by a team of researchers and science writers from the Genetic Science Learning Centre at the University of Utah (USA).  Read more

Our platform is now trilingual!

Coinciding with the second anniversary of the launch of our platform, Gut Microbiota Worldwatch, we are happy to announce that it is now available in three languages: English, French and Spanish. Together with its social networks, namely Facebook and Twitter, they form the leading international online information ecosystem devoted to gut microbiota and health for a non-specialized audience,

Edited by the Gut Microbiota & Health Section of the European Society of Neurogastroenterology and Motility (ESNM), Gut Microbiota Worldwatch aims to inform readers in a clear and accessible way about the latest developments in the field of gut microbiota, raising awareness about its importance for overall health and quality of life. Read more

Can modified gut bacteria solve the obesity problem?

According to the World Health Organisation, obesity worldwide has nearly doubled since 1980. Every year, this condition kills 3.4 million people, a number that rises every day. Doctors and governments try to combat this epidemic using public awareness campaigns encouraging citizens to stay active and follow a healthy, low-fat diet. While it is not enough, it raises the question what if, like in the story about the Trojan horse, the problem could be tackled from the inside?

Scientists have recently become more aware of the important role the hundreds of trillions of gut microbes play in keeping us healthy. It has been discovered that this vast and diverse bacterial ecosystem, our gut microbiota, work together and collaborate in the regulation of the digestive and immune system.

“The types of bacteria you have in your gut influence your risk for chronic diseases. We wondered if we could manipulate the gut microbiota in a way that would promote health,” explains Sean Davies, assistant professor of pharmacology at Vanderbilt University. In order to answer that question, he led a study with rodents aimed at learning if genetically modified gut bacteria can play a role and produce a positive effect on health (at least, in mice). Read more

Could gut bacteria be linked to eating disorders?

Most of us sometimes try to calm our nerves by binge-eating. When it is occasional, it may lead to some extra weight or guilty feelings. When it is a regular habit, however, it is clinically considered an eating disorder. In fact, more than 8% of the population experiences some kind of eating disorder at some point in their lives (US data). And, unfortunately, around 5% of women and 2% of men are affected by serious conditions, such as anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder (especially teenagers and young adults).

Until now, research in this field had been focused on the brain and the cognitive causes of these disorders. Now, a French team of scientists has shed some more light on the issue: What if the intestine and, specifically, the gut microbiota could also play a role?

In a study just published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, researchers from the French National Research Institute (INSERM – Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale) and the University of Rouen claimed to have discovered some bacteria in the gut that may interfere with the way the body regulates effectively appetite, at least in rodents.  Read more