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Bacteria in guts of elderly differ from those of the young

We are teeming with microscopic life. Scientists recently reported on the billions of bacteria and fungi that grow inside us, finding a lot of diversity from person to person — and from spot to spot on the human body.

Those findings were in 242 young adults (ages 18 to 40) in exceptionally good health. Even gum disease was grounds for exclusion, as we noted in a news article at the time.

But what about older people?

It's known that their bacterial populations are less stable than those of younger people and that the gut flora of one elderly individual can differ greatly from that of another.

It's also known that the populations of bacteria growing inside them are less diverse than what’s seen in younger people. These changes are believed linked to events that take place as we grow older, such as a lengthening of the time it takes food to pass through our guts, reduced saliva production and others.
 
 

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