They live on your skin, up your nose, in your gut - enough bacteria, fungi and other microbes that, together, could weigh a few kilograms. Scientists have now calculated that healthy people can share their bodies with more than 10 000 species of microbes, News24 says.
Many of these organisms work to keep humans healthy, and results reported from the US government's Human Microbiome Project define what's normal in this mysterious netherworld.
Surprisingly, it turns out that nearly everybody harbours low levels of some harmful types of bacteria, pathogens that are known for causing specific infections. But when a person is healthy - like the 242 US adults who volunteered to be tested for the project - those bugs quietly coexist with benign or helpful microbes, perhaps kept in check by them.
The next step is to explore that which doctors really want to know: Why do the bad bugs harm some people and not others? What changes a person's microbial zoo that puts them at risk for diseases ranging from infections to irritable bowel syndrome to psoriasis?
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