40 Trillion Bacteria on and in Us? Fewer Than We Thought.
A recent article in the New York times suggests that the most common cited number of microbiome on us and in us is not correct. Since the 70’s, the belief that the human body has "10 times as many microbial cells as it does human cells" has been repeated by a number of scientists and specialists. But now a group of Israeli scientists has concluded that 372 trillion cannot be right. The researchers estimate that the large intestine, where most of our microbiome lives, contains 39 trillion bacterial cells. Other places — the skin, the mouth, the small intestine and stomach — contain very few bacteria, and together add only a small amount to the total. Of course, this is still only an estimate. Size of the microbiome varies by age, sex, height and weight, and even changes moment to moment, like upon bowel movement. But, the researchers conclude, a realistic estimate of the number of microbes living in the human body is about 40 trillion — close to the number of our human cells.
Do not be disheartened, our microbial-minded friends. This is still a HUGE number and there is absolutely no doubt that they are still interacting with all of our systems and making a big difference in our lives. In fact this makes me feel a little less concerned that our microbes might kick us to the curb in favor of all the other potentially more gracious host-species. Seriously, broad spectrum antibiotics are rude! (And in some cases, necessary! We are not suggesting that antibiotics do not save lives, but that there lacks a certain nuance to the current approach.)
Read Full Article Here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/16/science/40-trillion-bacteria-on-and-in-us-fewer-than-we-thought.html?_r=1