I am preparing slides for a talk I’m giving on helminths at an autism conference in Moscow at the end of the month. I’m struggling more than I usually do because there is an overwhelming amount of information to try to fit into a 1 hour talk…and it seems new research on the biome comes out daily now. So while I am trying to cut the number of slides down, I find some other crucial piece of information I feel like I absolutely must include. I mean…how can I NOT include information from the paper I just finished reading this morning, Helminth Colonization is Associated with Increased Diversity of the Gut Microbiota[i]?!
Once I give you some of the highlights, you’ll understand my quandary. This group of researchers, who include Dr. P’ng Loke, whose work I have mentioned before, compared the microbiota of people – some with helminths, some without – from a rural area of Malaysia. They hypothesized “…that helminth infected individuals may have increased microbial diversity relative to uninfected individuals.” The feces of 36 of the 51 individuals in the study demonstrated the presence of helminths. Their results “…showed that the helminth-positive subjects had significantly greater species richness (total number of species present) than the helminth-negative subjects…These results suggest that helminth colonization significantly affects the gut microbiota and may increase the species diversity of the bacterial communities.”
There were several other really interesting findings:
In their final discussion, the researchers state that the increase in microbiota diversity “…among helminth-infected individuals could be important because higher microbiota diversity has been associated with better health.”
So as I said at the start, how can I not put all this information into my lecture? I will just have to talk fast and hope the translator can keep up!
[i] Lee, SC, Tang, MS, Lim, YA, Choy, SH, Kurtz, ZD, Cox, LM, Gundra, UM, Cho, I, Bonneau, R, Blaser, MJ, Chua, KH, Loke, P. Helminth colonization is associated with increased diversity of the gut microbiota. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 2014. 8(5):e2880.