I recently happened to get a copy of the 'Scientific American' that one of our visitors from the US had left in our guest room. And the cover story was about the Human Microbiome Project. I'm not sure on how old the discovery is. But it seems that scientists have found out that micro-organisms outnumber our cells by as high as ten to one. . . You can read more about it in this well written piece from 'The New York Times'.
Wow . . . It is hard to believe it. . .
Can you believe that each of us are hosts to this whole group of bacteria, viruses and parasites living out of us. As someone wrote in an article - 'It is humbling'. As we have developed with science, we've been made to believe that we are always in control. Well, this piece of research which has been happening through about 80 institutions has burst this bubble. . .
This also has lots of implications especially in the field of health-care . . .
Since the discovery of micro-organisms, we've always been thought that their presence is the cause of almost all diseases . . . We have research which blames them even for non-communicable diseases like Acid Peptic Disease and Atherosclerosis. Now, we know from this project, there are so many bacteria previously unknown, whose presence is required for our day to day survival . . .
Something which immediately comes to my attention is the prolific use of antibiotics in our country. Considering the findings of the HMP, the implications are unthinkable.
Now, it becomes all the more easy to explain the high incidence of malignancies and non-communicable diseases in developed countries. Processed foods . . . lack of exercise . . . and much much more . . .they could all be killing the microbial friends in our body, making it more susceptible to disease . . .
Do not be surprised if your doctor is going to search if you do not have have a friend bacteria whose absence could be causing you regular attacks of common cold.
And within the next 5 years, you may also be getting bacteria and viruses bottled and sold in syrups and capsules. We already have something called 'probiotics' being available - but this looks like only the tip of the iceberg . . .
I'm amazed how true it is when the Psalmist says in Psalm 139:14 -
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.