TWiM 15 Letters

Martyn writes:

Dear Vincent and gang,

A couple of times you've mentioned pro-biotic bacteria foods.  As an ignorant layman, I wonder if you know of any evidence that these work?  If someone's intestine has been cleared by anti-biotics, do these foods successfully deliver the right species to a pioneer territory where they will thrive and breed and establish a new eco-system?

Your podcasts are a gift.  Thank you for them.  I'd recommend TWIP to anyone trying to diet.


Martyn, Leeds

Denina writes:

Hi all,

in Twim #12 a nurse practitioner posted an interesting question about the human skin microbiome which received a trivia comment from Michael Schmidt, I believe. He mentioned that humans drop 2 million skin cells per hour. This is really amazing trivia information and I would like to read more about it and learn about the background of the study which estimated this number. Would you be able to provide a title and author for this research, so I could look it up?


Yale University

Jim writes:

TWIM 13 was outstanding; listened to it two times; saved it in my Best Podcasts folder
Is there not some way to harness the public as is being done in astronomy, genomics, proteomics and some music projects? Millions of us use all sorts of supplements and while it's a sloppy process, if folks with the technical expertise can tell us intelligent lab rats what to do and how to evaluate what we use, or what to send in (ten million fecal samples comes to mind!), it might be Generic Viagra an inexpensive post-doc project that some outfit like the American Dairy Association, or American Dairy Goat Association, would help fund.  Despite my lay status, old age and lack of equipment it occurs to me that I am a large bioprocessing complex with multiple sensors, access to a wide variety of reagents and variable environmental conditions, and a computer connected to the internet.  I'm not ready to shell out $500 to sequence my genome, but have no problem with $10 worth of drugstore items.  Or, what if a million of us kicked in $10 each to fund such a project!  If not now, perhaps shortly a microarray or cellphone attachment will make such a project more feasible.  People have always been a biological resource, but equipment and boundaries are shifting so that great new ways of using all this should be occurring.  Somebody somewhere must be starting the bio-equivalent of Radioshack!  Perhaps you know of projects like this and if so, I would like to hear about them.  Thanks.

Keeping all that in mind I submit to you a link to a guy who made his own microscope incubator, with pictures, at : And that link has links to similar projects in the DIY area.

Your topics, your collaborator backgrounds and expertise, your collaboration in the process are amazing to hear, incredibly instructive and powerful.  Just because the Fox Network and Rush Limbaugh haven't recognized you is such a blessing, too, but I do hope you continue anyway!  I'm some sort of geek cause I live for this stuff.


Smithfield, VA

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