January 4, 2013
Microbes in the human gut could be partially responsible for food cravings.
BOB HIRSHON (host):
Do your gut bacteria crave snacks? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.
Our digestive system is home to trillions of bacteria that interact intimately with our own cells. In fact, scientists are discovering that we rely on some of these microbes to keep us healthy. Now, researchers are beginning to suspect that some of them can affect our behavior. An article in the Journal of Bacteriology suggests that some bacteria may produce compounds that make us crave foods that will benefit the bacteria. While the evidence for this is now just circumstantial, they propose a series of experiments to answer the question.
In other news, a study in the Annals of Neurology provides strong evidence that myasthenia gravis, a disease in which the body’s immune cells attack muscle tissue, is triggered by a virus. They’re now attempting to find out which virus it is, and how to prevent infection. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.