Recent studies have revealed a strong connection between the bacteria in our bodies and our overall health—from obesity, diabetes and heart disease to migraine headaches and chronic fatigue. Now, many researchers are looking into just how the human microbiome is able to influence our well-being.
Scientists at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in California believe they have found a helpful way to study the bacteria-host connection: worms. Using a species of worm called C. elegans, they have determined that specific genes within the bacteria, rather than substances produced by the bacteria, may alter our microbial makeup.
“There a lot of studies showing that the microbiome influences this and that, but we have very little understanding of the mechanisms and how to make sense of the mounds of data,” said study co-author Amit Khanna, PhD in a recent news release. Khanna and his colleagues believe their worm model may hold the key to answering many of our questions about how the gut influences physiological function and human health.