Navigation Links
Scientists Take Navel-Gazing to New Level
Date:8/5/2011

By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Aug. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Germs used to be viewed as only bad, but scientists who have taken navel-gazing to a new level are finding that the ones living in your belly button coexist quite nicely with the rest of your body's microbes.

Setting out to dispel the notion that all skin bacteria cause disease, researchers from North Carolina State University swabbed the navels of 391 volunteers from across the country, sequenced the DNA from each sample and published photos of the cultures anonymously online on the Bellybutton Bacteria Culture database (www.wildlifeofyourbody.org).

Preliminary results, scheduled to be presented Aug. 12 at the Ecological Society of America's annual meeting in Austin, Texas, revealed similarities in navel bacteria among family members and a wide diversity of microbes present in any given person.

"The overall concept is compelling," said Dr. Bruce Hirsch, an attending physician in infectious diseases at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. "When I grew up, germs were bad. But the vast majority of the time, they're good or neutral," he said.

"I think of the human body as more of a forest than a tree," added Hirsch, who was not involved in the study. "Bacteria are a normal part of health, and each human body has more bacteria cells than human cells."

The Bellybutton Bacteria Culture database has become one of the most watched citizen-science projects in the nation, the study authors said, with about 55,000 visitors to the website in just three months. The rate of voluntary participation at sampling events shot up from 17 percent to 80 percent when passers-by were informed of the project's purpose.

The researchers chose to sample belly button bacteria because the area is generally protected from excretions, soaps and ultraviolet ray exposure. They also felt it would generate excitement about the study from participants, whose gender, ethnic background, age and hygienic habits were recorded. More than 80 percent of the samples were viable in cell culture dishes.

Hirsch noted that the results of the study -- which are a work in progress and have not undergone peer review -- are not detailed and did not yield many conclusions. But he said most bacteria are good "and their very presence crowds out more dangerous bacteria."

"I'm amazed at how the body responds to infection and how often we see spectacular successes in the way it responds," he said. "The human body is incredible. When we look at it from a bacterial perspective, it's like a new world."

Philip M. Tierno Jr., author of The Secret Life of Germs and director of clinical microbiology and immunology at NYU Langone Medical Center, said it's not news to him that there's a greater diversity of bacteria on the skin than many people think.

The number and types of microbes found in belly buttons may not be representative of what's found on the rest of the human body because of its depth, where lint and other "cellular debris" can accumulate, said Tierno, also a clinical professor of microbiology and pathology at New York University School of Medicine.

"Only 10 percent of you is you, which should give you an idea of how important microbes are," he said. "Ninety percent is bacteria or microbial cells, although body cells are bigger."

More information

The University of Maryland Medical Center has more information about skin bacteria.

SOURCES: Bruce Hirsch, M.D., attending physician, infectious diseases, North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, N.Y.; Philip M. Tierno Jr., Ph.D., director, clinical microbiology and immunology, NYU Langone Medical Center, and clinical professor, microbiology and pathology, New York University School of Medicine; Aug. 12, 2011, presentation, Ecological Society of America annual meeting, Austin, Texas


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Scientists Pinpoint Area of Brain That Fears Losing Money
2. Scientists Discover How HIV Is Transmitted Between Men
3. Prevention Is Key Research Goal for Premature Babies, Scientists Say
4. Scientists Discover Molecular Pathway for Organ Tissue Regeneration and Repair
5. Scientists find donut-shaped structure of enzyme involved in energy metabolism
6. Neuroscientists reveal new links that regulate brain electrical activity
7. Two UCSF Scientists to Receive Prestigious Dementia Research Honor
8. Johns Hopkins scientists develop personalized blood tests for cancer using whole genome sequencing
9. Scientists Spot Genetic Fingerprints of Individual Cancers
10. Scientists Unravel Mysteries of Intelligence
11. MSU scientists develop more effective method of predicting lead-poisoning risk
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Scientists Take Navel-Gazing to New Level
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, CA is excited to announce they are ... drive cancer patients to and from their cancer treatments. Comfort Keepers provides quality ... and ongoing independence. Getting to and from medical treatments is one of the ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... TX (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... People ... part in Genome magazine’s Code Talker Award, an essay contest in which patients and ... an award to be presented at the 2016 National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... to recognize Dr. Barry M. Weintraub as a prominent plastic surgeon and the ... in the world, and the most handsome men, look naturally attractive. Plastic surgery ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Frederick, Maryland (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 ... ... Mid-Atlantic Angels is actively feeding the Frederick area economy by obtaining investment capital ... support over the past 2½ years that have already resulted in more than ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Venture Construction Group (VCG) ... held on June 20th at the Woodmont Country Club at 1201 Rockville Pike, Rockville, ... dedicated to helping service members that have been wounded in battle and their families. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 ... of the "Structural Electronics 2015-2025: Applications, Technologies, ... In-Mold Electronics, Smart Skin, ... Photovoltaics Structural electronics involves electronic ... load-bearing, protective structures, replacing dumb structures such as ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 Dehaier Medical Systems ... "Company"), which develops, markets and sells medical devices and ... , signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Hongyuan Supply ... Supply Chain") on June 20, 2016, to develop Dehaier,s ... strategic cooperation agreement, Dehaier will leverage Hongyuan Supply Chain,s ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the ... Tests" report to their offering. ... The World Market for Companion Diagnostics covers the ... analysis in the report includes the following: ... Kits) by Region (N. America, EU, ROW), 2015-2020 , ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: