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THE OTHERS LIVING INSIDE US

HEALTH, FAMILY & PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

Managed By : Saumita Banerjee

Open for Contributions: June 29, 2021 - November 25, 2021.

NOW OPEN FOR CONTRIBUTION

Living inside each one of us are trillions of micro-organisms – bacteria, archaea, fungi, viruses, and other life forms, collectively called the microbiome. This book aims to give the reader a detailed understanding on the impact of the microbiome in maintaining a healthy body. It will be written by experts in the field of microbiome research, for non-experts. Written using “Open Authoring”, this book attempts to capture insights from professionals and researchers with deep expertise in the areas covered here, but in an easy to understand format, telling us a story that is truly intriguing, while highly informative.



Introduction

Did you know that our body is only 10% “ours” – human cells, and the remaining 90% is microbes. Living inside each one of us are trillions of micro-organisms – bacteria, archaea, fungi, viruses, and other life forms, collectively called the microbiome. Various organs harbor distinct communities of microbes, the gut being the most populated organ. Until recently, the value and influence of these symbiotic microbes had been largely underestimated and overlooked by the medical community. Over the last decade, much attention has been placed on the role of microbes in maintaining our well-being, and the influence their absence causes on us getting vulnerable to various diseases, including cancer. So much for the perception that only the presence of microbes causes diseases!

This book will provide a detailed overview of the areas that we know are affected due to the absence of these “good” microbes, and the role they play in maintaining a healthy body. Though much remains in understanding the underlying factors that shape the microbiome structure in a person, research is progressing rapidly, and the breadth of research on microbiomes is ever-increasing.

Not only the microbes themselves, but also the molecules they produce during their interactions with the environment (that is, our body) have been found to play crucial roles in maintaining an equilibrium within us. Researchers are investigating promising microbiome-based strategies that may help in treating and managing diseases ranging from obesity and other metabolic diseases, autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis, lupus, type 1 diabetes), autism, cancer, even psychological diseases, by what is being called the “Living Treatment”.

Just as the 1 trillion species that exist on earth are each contributing to the delicate balance that enables and sustains life on this planet, the microbiome of our body, alongwith the cells and organs, contributes toward maintaining a healthy, functioning body and mind. In fact, microbiome is now identified as an organ of the human body. This surely makes one wonder in a philosophical sense – what is “me” after all?

This book will be written by experts in the field of microbiome research, for non-experts, using LetsAuthor's Open Authoring platform. The concepts will be simplified for an average reader to grasp, and intends to tell a story that is intriguing, while highly informative. It will traverse through various points in human history - how the microbiome might have looked like in the pre-historic times, through the middle-ages and modern times, how our daily living has substantially changed over the hundreds and thousands of years, and how these changes have impacted the microbiome. Emergence of new-age diseases such as diabetes are commonly attributed to a sedentary lifestyle and bad eating habits, but these habits also have an effect on the microbiome. The question is, are the lifestyle changes really responsible for the current state of our deteriorating health and emergence of new lifestyle diseases, or is it the change in the microbiome structure that is been the underlying cause? Can identifying and restoring the microbiome to its healthiest state cure many of the diseases we suffer from? If this turns out to be the case, it has the potential to create a revolution in the way we treat diseases. Imagine a scenario where a diabetic is given a “microbiota transfer therapy” for a few weeks, restoring the microbiome to its healthiest state, and the microbiome takes over the job of balancing out the pancreatic cells, curing diabetes in that patient! There may be some time before we reach this state of treatment technologies, but when we do, we will be at the panacea of health.

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