Tag Archives: microbiome

Microbiome changes over the course of pregnancy

The role of the microbiome in human health is of increasing interest in the scientific community.  A study led by Dr. Ruth Ley from Cornell University that analyzed fecal samples from 91 women across their gestational period identified that the maternal microbiome changes significantly over the course of pregnancy.  The women’s individual microbiomes became less diverse as pregnancy ensued, though as a group the total number of bacterial species present was greatest during the final trimester.  Additionally, the changes in gut microbiota during each stage of pregnancy were correlated with the degree of fat and inflammation exhibited by the women.

For additional commentary about the study, The Scientist provides a review of the study and interviews with the research team and other subject matter experts.  The scientific article was published in Cell.

The microbiome: What does it mean for human health?

This past week the Human Microbiome Project released the results of a study examining the genetic code of human microbiota collected for more than 15 sites across the bodies of 242 normal, healthy individuals.  Studies of the microbiome are revealing that the bacteria that cohabitate within and on the surface of our bodies are tied in many ways to our lifespan health, and are expected to offer clues to why health differs for seemingly similar people and reveal critical points at which changes to the microbiome may lead to adverse health outcomes.

For a more detailed review of recent studies of the human microbiome, see this commentary by Carl Zimmer from the New York Times.