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TWiM 31 Letters

Peter writes:

Dear TWiM Team

A fascinating article from New Scientist this week.

Standard medical teaching is that the foetus is sterile and that the microbiome only begins to develop post natal.

New research from Spain indicates that the microbiome starts to develop before birth:

"Pilar Francino and her colleagues at the University of Valencia in Spain collected and froze the meconium of babies from 20 women. They removed the outer layers of each sample to rule out any bacteria picked up after birth, then looked for bacterial DNA.

The team not only identified bacteria in the babies' meconium - which before then was thought to be sterile - they found bacterial communities so developed that they seemed to fall into two categories. Around half of the samples appeared to be dominated by bacteria that produce lactic acid, such as lactobacillus, while the other half mostly contained a family of so-called enteric bacteria, such as Escherichia coli."

Peter writes:

Dear TWiM Team

There was an interesting article in the March Scientific American on long term effect on health that food poisoning can cause:

New studies by scientists in several countries show that food poisoning rather than lasting just a few unpleasant days can in some cases cause life long problems.
Though this possibility has been known for some time the recent work indicates that this phenomenon is much more common than previously thought.

"A survey of 101,855 residents of Sweden who were made sick by food between 1997 and 2004 found Electronic Cigarette, for instance, that they had higher-than-normal rates of aortic aneurysms, ulcerative colitis and reactive arthritis."

"...several years after a 2005 outbreak of Salmonella in Spain, 65 percent of 248 victims said they had developed joint or muscle pain or stiffness, compared with 24 percent of a control group who were not affected by the outbreak."


PS I that the Scientific American journalist and author Maryn McKenna would be a good guest for TWiM or TWiV.

Nathen writes:

Hey thanks for the great podcast. TWiM is one of my new favourites. (I'm about to post a review on my blog.) I'm a little afraid to start listening to TWiP and TWiV--if I get hooked I'll never be able to keep up with all of them.

I just listened to your episode that included the paper on the autism microbiome study, and one of you said something about it being difficult to recruit controls for this kind of invasive procedure. It might make the statistics more complicated, but what about recruiting siblings of autistic kids as controls? The parents would be much more likely to be on board, as they have a vested interest in the progression of science on the problem of autism.

Thanks again,


Steve writes:

Hello Vincent and cast of TWIM;

I have to say, even though I am a novice, I really enjoy your podcasts.

Because of the nerdy-ness and nature of this song, I thought I should pass it along. Happy St Patrick's Day! Enjoy!


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