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At the very end of the diary is an introduction to using free MEDSCAPE links/articles like this: very easy and worth it. Teenagers and college students may enjoy this one.

The human body as a singular entity is anything but. Millions upon millions of microbes live [in and on us], with some estimates suggesting microbes outnumber human cells...10 to 1 ...[giving] rise to the idea of referring to a human as a "meta-organism" that possesses a meta-genome far larger than that which our own chromosomes encode.

In a sense, then, each person is made up of multiple ecosystems. Each individual's microbiome is composed of a diverse collection of microbial species that interact with each other and with their human host cells, contributing to and being affected by every normal and abnormal physiologic process that occurs in daily life.

How these trillions of microbes affect human health and disease—and vice versa—is still mostly a mystery and has become an intense area of study across nearly all medical disciplines.

With microphotography, illustrations, a cartoon-type image or two... The MICROBIOME slide show is a kind of amazing and fun short intro to an almost-explosive growing field of bioscience.  Hover your mouse-cursor/arrow over the big plus sign at the lower right corner of each slide to read the text. Slide 10: " A Joint Approach to Immune Dysregulation (the possible "gut-joint axis" role in arthritis of many kinds) • Slide 11: "This Is Your Brain On Microbes • Slide 5: Diabetes & Obesity • Slide 12 & 13 include "probiotics". (Some definitions of terms used in the article are below the CONTINUE READING click-button.)

Update: Full Spectrum Biology dot blogspot dotcom "A Healthy Microbiome Is A Healthy You"

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Atherosclerosis thickening of artery walls by calcium+fatty-material accumulation, causing rigidity instead of flexibility and narrowing the channel of blood flow.

clinically — directly with patients, as distinct from experimentally

clinician — any of many kinds of healthcare practitioners working with patients in any of many kinds of clinic and other health care settings.

dysbiosis

     ...microbial imbalance on or inside the body. ...It has been associated with [various] illnesses... Microbial colonies...on or in the body are normally benign or beneficial [and] carry out...helpful and necessary functions, such as aiding in digestion [and protecting] the body from the penetration of pathogenic microbes. These beneficial microbial colonies compete with each other for space and resources ... When [their] balance is disturbed, these colonies exhibit a decreased ability to check each other's growth, which can then lead to overgrowth of [some and deterioration of others] which may further damage [other] beneficial ones in a vicious cycle. As more...are damaged ... more overgrowth issues occur ... If this goes unchecked... imbalance [may become chronic and pervasive], which ultimately minimizes the beneficial nature of these colonies as a whole.
      Microbial colonies also excrete...waste byproducts. ...under normal circumstances the body effectively manages these byproducts with little or no trouble [and may even utilize certain waste products beneficially —ed. but] inappropriately large colonies, due to their increased numbers, excrete increased amounts of these byproducts [which may] overburden the body's waste removal mechanisms. It is the combination of [minimized beneficial nature and ineffectively managed waste] that causes many of the negative health symptoms observed when dysbiosis is present.
     Dysbiosis may [involve causes as diverse as] as repeated and inappropriate antibiotic exposure... alcohol misuse... inappropriate diet [etc].
eco-system or ecosystem  —  "a community of living organisms (plants, animals and microbes) in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment (things like air, water and mineral soil), interacting as a system... These biotic and abiotic components are regarded as linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows."

epithelium ‐ tissues that line cavities and surfaces of the body and also form many glands, e.g., skin, which is the largest organ of the human body.

homeostasis — (from Greek: ὅμοιος, "hómoios", "similar"...and στάσις, stásis, "standing still"...) — in this case, the stability process of the internal environment (such as temperature regulation, balance between acidity and alkalinity, water balance) for best normal functioning.

Human Microbiome Project — the National Institutes of Health project for looking at identifying and characterizing microorganisms found in healthy and ill humans, to learn how changes in our microbiome are involved.

hypothesis (plural: hypotheses) — a proposed explanation (based on meticulous observations) for how or from what cause[s] something happens that's not explainable by existing science, and is capable of being rigorously tested by the scientific_method

immunomodulators — substances that treat disease by inducing, enhancing, or suppressing an immune response.

innervation — (from Mosby'sMedical Dictionary, 8th edition. © 2009, Elsevier:) "the distribution or supply of nerve fibers or nerve impulses to a body part."

leaky gut - see "permeability".

meta — (Greek μετά- for "after" or "beyond") is a prefix in English used to mean a concept that adds to or completes or goes beyond the meaning of the word to which it's attached.

metabolites — molecules involved in and produced by metabolism (the chemical processes in cells that allow organisms to grow, reproduce, maintain their structures, respond to their environments, digest and transport substances into and between them, etc.)

metagenome (meta+genome) — genetic material retrieved from environmental samples, in this case, the "environment" is the human body.

microbiota — the microflora (microscopic "plants") and microfauna (microsocpic "animals") in an ecosystem.

modulating — adapting/adjusting by degrees, on its own or by other causes or systems or effects.

pathologic — descriptive of disease-state, from pathology (disease + "account of" or "study of"), the study and description of (or the actual process of) disease causes, mechanisms of development, physical changes and effects

permeability (per-me-ability) — how much a barrier (such as a cell wall or membrane or organ structure) allows travel of specific molecules (including fluid molecules) through it, into or out of cells, tissues, or organs. A "leaky gut" means intestinal wall being too permeable, "reduced gut barrier function".

prebiotics — "non-digestible food ingredients...conceptually intermediate between foods and drugs... [said to] stimulate the growth and/or activity of bacteria in the digestive system in ways claimed to be beneficial to health."

probiotics — (from Latin pro {"for"} & Greek βίος {bios, "life"}) — a concept that some foods may have or could be developed to have some strains of some species of live micro-organisms that could beneficially colonize or temporarily live in the digestive tract, e.g., most popularly known, lactobacillus acidophilus

surrogate — in this case, a substitute or replacement that "stands in" reliably and accurately for something we'd like to study directly but can't with the technology we currently have.

symbiotic, symbiosis — differing organisms living together for mutual benefit.

systemic — affects the whole body, or multiple organ systems, rather than only one part.

visceral adiposity — accumulation of fat (adipose tissue) around and between the organs (viscera) in the torso (ILLUSTRATION), especially in the abdomen (ILLUSTRATION).

MEDSCAPE


is a mostly-plain-English news & research report service geared for healthcare professionals but FREE to all who register - we, the public, can click "Consumer" on the PROFESSIONS list in the registration process when first using a Medscape link.

Selecting multiple topics of interest for email notification may flood your inbox, because a tremendous number of medical journals worldwide contribute articles in addition to Medscape's reportage. So, it's a good idea to start with few or none, and see how it goes. Many Medscape articles are commentable — if you use a pen-name for privacy, it's worth devising one that won't undermine your impact.

Where articles start with videos of speakers, there's always a transcript below the video window (and you can click sound off, of course) if you'd rather read than listen. Some articles are slideshows with accompanying text.

Keep in mind that the competitive nature of publishing can skew writing to suggest certainties not fully supported by findings, and there are always the basics to watch out for, such as: "Many Studies Have 'Elementary Statistical Errors'" . Medical science, like every realm of human endeavor, is a work in progress.  Read critically for best results.

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