BOB HIRSHON (host):
Our influential gut bacteria. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.
Our gut bacteria may reside in our digestive system, but they exert powerful effects on our entire body, according to Rob Knight director of the UC San Diego Center for Microbiome Innovation. At the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Knight explained that gut bacteria play a role in multiple sclerosis, autism and even depression.
ROB KNIGHT (UC San Diego):
So the bacteria are doing a lot of different things. One thing they’re doing is producing small molecules that diffuse out of the gut, go into the bloodstream, and have impact on cells all over your body.
They also send messages through a major nerve that connects the gut to the brain. Knight says in the future, disorders ranging from rheumatoid arthritis to Parkinson’s disease could be treated not just by repairing our own cells, but by modifying the bacteria that live inside us. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.
Story by Bob Hirshon