Probing the mysteries of probiotics –

In the human body, microbes outnumber human cells 10 to 1. That sounds icky, but the news isn’t all bad: Bacteria can help us and may have even more potential than we currently know.


Sarkis Mazmanian, a biologist at the California Institute of Technology, received a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” to study good vs. bad bacteria in the gut. He and colleagues have postulated that this bacteria can train the immune system to distinguish between “foreign” microbes and the ones that originate in the body.


Our symbiotic relationship with bacteria may help prevent and treat autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s, they say. By studying this microbiome of gut bacteria, Mazmanian is laying a knowledge foundation for potential new therapies to treat many human diseases.