Saturday, August 27, 2011

Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 8

In earlier posts (see "The Undiscovered Side of Science & Life - 3" and links therein) we Dredd Blog readers & writers perused some of the recent scientific data showing that microbes and humans have a symbiotic relationship.

The information discussed in those posts is earth shaking in the sense that microbes existed alone on the planet for billions of years prior to the existence of our human species.

Those microbes are still the most abundant form of biological life on the planet Earth, having survived well either with or without a human symbiont.

Why microbes "recently" (in terms of the enormous span of time which that form of biological life is known to have existed on Earth) became symbiotic with humans is a mystery.

Was there a cosmic or biological expectation of some sort, some quasi-visionary activity that "foresaw" the need, or was it accidental, chance, the introduction of extraterrestrial microbes, or some other systemic or random event that triggered the symbiosis?

Further, did humans themselves or did some type of microbe originally initiate the event sequence which caused the symbiotic relationship to develop?

Did that symbiotic relation develop very early on in human evolution, and did those humanoid species who failed to survive (e.g. Neanderthal) fail because they did not attain the symbiotic relationship, or did all humanoids inherit their symbiont microbes (genetically, etc.) from another species, such as primates?

There are many questions of that nature involved in this inquiry into the history and purpose for the symbiotic realationship.

I recently read an article indicating that medical researchers are now also aware of the fact that microbes help us fight tumors and cancers in some ways:
The mutualistic microorganisms that colonize the gastrointestinal tract are crucial for health. Disruption of the homeostatic balance between the host and microflora is now understood to be part of the pathogenesis of HIV infection and inflammatory bowel disease. Immune-based treatments for cancer, particularly those involving profound lymphodepletion, adoptive transfer of immune cells, or radiation have high potential to disrupt the host/microflora relationship and change it from mutualistic to pathogenic. As cancer immunotherapy develops, it is particularly important to understand the impact of these treatments on host/microbe homeostasis and the role of microorganisms in tumor immunity.
(Microbial Translocation). That is to say that our symbiont microbes within us can help trigger positive human immune system reactions within our own human body's built in immune system, at least with regard to the human appendix.

Medical researchers found out some time ago that Darwin had originated an error, which some current medical, physiological textbooks perpetuate to this day, concerning the human appendix, so treatments of any sort must take that into consideration or risk damage to either or both symbiont species.

Some of the ignorance about that symbiotic relationship (microbes take part in at least one level of our immune system) shown in the post "The Appendix of Vestigial Textbooks", has engendered the wide spread practice of surgical removal of the human appendix.

That folly caused millions of people to have their appendix removed, by their doctors who were ignorant, because of what they were told or read in the errant medical textbooks.

That medical practice in general destroyed the beneficial symbiotic relationship between the appendix and symbiont microbes being stored there to replenish any damaged or destroyed microbes within that person's intestines.

This practice of the surgical removal of the appendix eventually led to the insane practice of sh*t transplants:
One day in 2008, Ruth, a Long Island teacher, walked into her doctor's office with a container of a relative's feces, lay down, and had her doctor pump the stool inside her.
(Fickle Fecal Transplants). You can't make this sh*t up alone, it takes experts who know their sh*t, but not their microbes.


While it would be inappropriate to overestimate the role or ability of microbes by elevating them to some magical realm, let's not forget for a moment that in the post "The Tiniest Scientists Are Very Old - 2" we noted that microbes have been involved in quantum physics for billions of years prior to human science.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.


  1. This microbe walks into a bar and says to the guy on the next stool, "You need to get your shit together, here is how" ...

  2. The medical science is proceeding excrementally: (The Excrement Experiment).

    They should stop treating the effect and focus on the cause (compare The Human Microbiome Congress, The Real Dangers With Microbes & Viruses).