PLEDGE NOW
Your Inner Ecosystem

Trillions of bacteria live in our bodies.  They outnumber our human cells, 10 to 1.  So who’s in charge?  What are we?

Bacteria under a microscope.

Bacteria under a microscope.

Maybe you thought your body was a noble castle poised against the onslaughts and invasions of the world.  Well, think again.  It turns out, we are the world.  Our bodies are loaded with a jungle of microbial life, inside and out, that is essential to healthy life.

New science has found ten times as many bacteria cells as human cells in and on the human body.  A load of microbes that work with us from the moment of birth in all kinds of key ways.  Killing them off, avoiding them, may make us sick.  Make us fat.

This hour, On Point:  Microbes are us.  The amazing full ecology of the human body.

-Tom Ashbrook

 

Guests

Jennifer Ackerman, a writer for Scientific American, she’s also the author of Ah-Choo! The Uncommon Life of Your Common Cold; Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream. Here recent cover story for Scientific American is here.

Martin Blaser, chair of the Department of Medicine and professor of microbiology at the New York University School of Medicine.  He’s also the funder of the Foundation for Bacteriology and the Virtual Museum of Bacteria.

Bernat Olle, principal at PureTech Ventures, a venture firm focused on the creation of life science companies.

From Tom’s Reading List

Scientific American “Biologists once thought that human beings were phys­iological islands, entirely capable of regulating their own internal workings. Our bodies made all the enzymes needed for breaking down food and using its nutrients to power and repair our tissues and organs. Signals from our own tissues dictated body states such as hunger or satiety. ”

Los Angeles Times “It gives scientists a reference point of what the microbial community looks like in healthy people, and they plan to use it to study how changes in a person’s microbiome can lead to illness.”

The New York Times “For a century, doctors have waged war against bacteria, using antibiotics as their weapons. But that relationship is changing as scientists become more familiar with the 100 trillion microbes that call us home — collectively known as the microbiome.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Feb 11, 2016
In this Oct. 21, 2013, file photo, Vern Lund, president of Liberty Mine in central Mississippi near DeKalb, Miss., holds some of the lignite coal planned for use in the nearby Mississippi Power Co. carbon capture power plant. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

The Supreme Court hits the brakes on the heart of President Obama’s push to fight global warming. We’ll dig in.

Feb 11, 2016
A sampling of same of the great books author David Denby thinks could help encourage young readers to love books. (National Post)

David Denby on the 24 great books that can bring even today’s kids to reading. And maybe you, too.

RECENT
SHOWS
Feb 10, 2016
In this Feb. 1, 2016 photo, a technician from the British biotec company Oxitec, inspects the pupae of genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, a vector for transmitting the Zika virus, in Campinas, Brazil. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

Taking on the Zika virus, from tackling the disease itself, to killing the mosquitoes that carry it to the challenge of birth control.

 
Feb 10, 2016
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., waves to the crowd before speaking during a primary night watch party at Concord High School, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The winners and losers in New Hampshire, and the path ahead in the presidential primary race.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Notes From New Hampshire, #9: Remedy Or Replica?
Wednesday, Feb 10, 2016

Jack Beatty offers one last note from New Hampshire, and looks beyond to the primary races yet to come in both parties.

More »
Comment
 
Tom Ashbrook’s Note From New Hampshire
Tuesday, Feb 9, 2016

Fresh off the New Hampshire Presidential Primary results, host Tom Ashbrook reflects on his trip to New Hampshire, and on what comes next in the race to the White House.

More »
Comment
 
Notes From New Hampshire, #6: Bernie v. Hillary — The Electability Debate
Monday, Feb 8, 2016

Bill and Betty are not real New Hampshire voters. But their arguments about the Democratic race for President most certainly are.

More »
Comment