Tuesday, May 30, 2017

One way we got so smart

I wrote about gut bugs here http://fearfunandfiloz.blogspot.com/2012/05/gut-bugs.html

in 2012 and again here in 2014



Now I am writing about body creatures, guts and mouth and elsewhere.  Amazon has been waving words and pictures at me concerning a book called "10% Human".  I knew it was about bacteria, viruses and other creatures that typically live on us or in us.  Today I saw another ad for the book, this time including the price of a download of the book for $1.99.  As mentioned in the above posts, Dr. Martha Herbert of Harvard pointed to the possibility that people experiencing autism might be missing some of the gut life that our bodies use to extract essential nutrients that we can't get without them.  Missing nutrients could affect nerves, nerve transmission and other important parts of body functions.


But the author of "10% Human", Alanna Collen, emphasizes more and more scientific understanding is unraveling the connection between all the minute critters on and in us and all sorts results we need and want. You may have heard of "fecal transplants" where feces, yes, shit, from one person is introduced into the gut of someone who is ailing and thereby gains the bugs needed.  Dr. Collen also explains that the Human Genome Project produce many knowledgeable bets as to the total number of genes in humans.  Since many completely analyzed small animals have 20,000 or so genes, some scientists expected good ol' humans to have way more than that.  Turns out, the humans had more or less a standard number, not the fabulously high number we deserve.  


But, now they are starting to take account of the genes in all the little creatures who are part of us and then the total number is very high.  You may feel that you are more than just 10% human.  More like 100%, but Collen says that the total number of genes at work in the human is quite high and means that only 10% are our actual genes.  She mentions that over a typical human lifetime, the total weight of the bacteria and other microscopic life in and on us equals the weight of five African elephants!

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