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What impact does a day of roller derby have on our skin microbiome?
Date:3/12/2013

The human skin is home to countless microorganisms that we can't see, but these microbes help define who we are. Our invisible passengers known as the skin microbiome - contribute to our health in numerous ways including educating our immune system, protecting us from pathogens, and mediating skin disorders. In a new study, researchers investigated how the skin microbiome is transmitted between players in a contact sport, using roller derby as their model system.

The skin is the largest organ and an important barrier that regulates microbial entry into the human body. Despite the importance of the skin ecosystem to human health, we know very little about the forces that shape microbial structure and composition in the skin environment. The ways in which the skin microbiome is affected by external factors is a subject of renewed interest and so researchers hypothesized that contact sports could represent an ideal setting in which to study how human to human interactions influences microbial ecosystems. The researchers took their questions into the world of roller derby to explore how touching in a contact sport affects microbial transfer among athletes. DNA analysis revealed that bacterial communities predict team membership, with teammates sharing distinct microbial communities, and that when opposing teams competed in an hour-long bout their microbial communities became significantly more similar.

The study, titled "Significant changes in the skin microbiome mediated by the sport of roller derby," was published today in PeerJ, a new peer-reviewed open access journal in which all articles are freely available to everyone. The research was led by James F. Meadow of the 'Biology and the Built Environment Center' at the University of Oregon, in a collaboration that included the Center's director Jessica Green, who is a former skater
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Contact: James Meadow
jfmeadow@gmail.com
406-370-7157
PeerJ
Source:Eurekalert

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