Saturday, September 20, 2014


The Hindu Newspaper recently reproduced a science-news item from the New York Times Service, which stated that Western Scientists in their Research Laboratories, have discovered that MICROBES affect Human behavior . Follow these links (1)…/bacteria-our-p…/article6335974.ece (2)…/you-are-what-y…/article6335336.ece (3)…/the-human-body…/article6410997.ece.

Now this valuable knowledge credited to WESTERN SCIENCE, were known already to ancient Indians. Kindly watch the video, undated BUT PRE-DATED to these news reports. In this discourse (part) in Malayalam, Swami Nirmalananda Giri Maharaj, talks about how seen & unseen organisms affect human brain & behavior.

 The video link to the discourse in MALAYALAM language is given below. Further the three different articles in the HINDU newspaper on the same subject is  provided. 

 The language spoken in the above video is MALAYALAM.

(1)  BACTERIA our puppet masters

Carl Zimmer, AUGUST 21, 2014

In the past few years we’ve come to appreciate how microbes in our body help us break down food and fight infection, but they may be doing more…

Your body is home to about 100 trillion bacteria and other microbes, collectively known as your microbiome. Naturalists first became aware of our invisible lodgers in the 1600s, but it wasn’t until the past few years that we’ve become really familiar with them.

We’ve come to appreciate how beneficial our microbes are, breaking down our food, fighting off infections and nurturing our immune system. It’s a lovely, invisible garden we should be tending for our own well-being.
But now, a team of scientists has raised a creepier possibility. Perhaps our menagerie of germs is also influencing our behaviour in order to advance its own evolutionary success giving us cravings for certain foods, for example.

The idea that a simple organism could control a complex animal may sound like science fiction. In fact, there are many well-documented examples of parasites controlling their hosts.
Some species of fungi, for example, infiltrate the brains of ants and coax them to climb plants and clamp onto the underside of leaves. The fungi then sprout out of the ants and send spores showering onto uninfected ants below.

How parasites control their hosts remains mysterious. But it looks as if they release molecules that can directly or indirectly influence their hosts’ brain.

Our microbiome has the biochemical potential to do the same thing. In our guts, bacteria make some of the same chemicals that our neurons use to communicate with one another, such as dopamine and serotonin.
The microbes can deliver these neurological molecules to the dense web of nerve endings that line the gastrointestinal tract.

Some experiments suggest that bacteria also can influence the way their hosts eat.
Germ-free mice develop more receptors for sweet flavours in their intestines, for example. They also prefer to drink sweeter fluids than normal mice do.

Scientists have also found that bacteria can alter levels of hormones that govern appetite in mice.
Different species of microbes thrive on different kinds of food. If they can prompt us to eat more of the food they depend on, they can multiply.

“Microbial manipulations might fill in some of the puzzling holes in our understanding of food cravings,” said Carlo C. Maley, an evolutionary biologist and co-author of the new study.

“Perhaps,” he suggests, “the certain kinds of bacteria that thrive on chocolate are coaxing us to feed them.”
Research suggests that a healthy microbiome helps mammals develop socially. Germ-free mice, for example, tend to avoid contact with other mice.

That social bonding, good for the mammals, may also be good for the bacteria.
“When mammals are in social groups, they’re more likely to pass on microbes from one to the other,” said John F. Cryan, a neuroscientist not involved in the new study.
“I think it’s a very interesting and compelling idea,” said Rob Knight, a microbiologist, who was also not involved in the new study.

“If microbes do in fact manipulate us, we might be able to manipulate them for our own benefit for example, by eating yogurt laced with bacteria that would make us crave healthy foods.”
But he warned that research on the microbiomes effects on behaviour was still in its early stages.

— New York Times News Service
Microbial manipulations might fill in some of the puzzling holes in our understanding of food cravings

Updated: August 21, 2014 01:54 IST
Speaking Science

(2) “You are what you eat” — are you?

Children raised on
sorghum have different
gut microbes. Photo: T. Vijaya Kumar
The Hindu Children raised on sorghum have different gut microbes. Photo: T. Vijaya Kumar
About 70 years ago when the biologist J.B.S. Haldane was asked which would be God’s favourite life form, he said “beetles,” since there are far more beetles in the world than people. Were he alive today, Haldane would likely change his mind and answer that it would be microbes. Just the number of microbes — bacteria, virus, archae, and other single-cell organisms in human guts (intestine) alone is 100 trillion, tenfold more than the total number of cells in the entire human body. And as a scientist wag remarked, “I was born with my genome, but when I depart, it will be with 100 other genomes.” 

Where do we pick up all theses bugs? The baby in the womb is bug-free but exiting through the birth canal, the baby picks up a complex set of microbial populations. Babies born through caesarean section have different microbial composition then those through vaginal delivery. These two are of maternal inheritance, and they largely collect in the intestines of the baby — hence the term gut microbiome. 

What do these bugs do? Help, harm or happily coexist — all of these. I remember when our first child Katyayani was born, she fell very sick within a day, dehydrating through loose motions and weakening by hours. The brilliant paediatrician, Dr. Chikarmane, checked the mother Shakti and found that she carried remnants of the pathogen E. histolytica from an earlier infection, which was passed on to Katya. He then cleared Katya of infection using antibiotics, and fed her another set of microbes, Lactobacillus (which help in digesting milk, but which too were lost in the treatment) and restored her health, the ability to digest milk and gain strength. Over time, the newborn acquires microbes in the gut (and elsewhere) through environmental and other sources as well. The composition evolves continuously, but the numbers are maintained. In effect then the human gut is an ecosystem, with microbial genes outnumbering human genes by 100 to 1. 

Given this ecosystem, there is a steady give and take between the host and the guests in the stomach. As we eat, so our microbiome and they produce metabolites and waste molecules that affect our metabolism as well. You are not what you eat, you are what your gut bugs eat and generate as products! 

Immigrants manipulate the host?
This interaction between the host and the guest goes to such an extent that the guest can “manipulate” the diet of the host. A recent paper with the provocative title: “Is eating behaviour manipulated by the gastrointestinal microbiota? Evolutionary pressure and potential mechanism” has been published in the journal Bio essays (36: DOI 10.1002/ bies. 2014.0071) by a multi-centre group led by Dr Carlo Maley of UCSF, Califonia. They show how our bodies are composed of a diversity of organisms competing for nutritional resources.
Some of them (e.g., prevotella) grow best on carbohydrates and when they do so, they release some chemicals that induce the human host to crave for starchy food. Others such as bacteroidetes grow well with certain fats and in turn induce the host to go for fatty food. How do they do it? The signal molecules they release act not just on the digestive system of the body but also on the pain perception system and the nervous system. They alter the receptors that respond to taste, mood, pain and pleasure. In essence, you are not necessarily the master but are influenced by what your gut microbiome tells you through the signals they release, affecting your behaviour! This guest-influenced host reaction has been suggested to be associated with conditions like obesity, diabetes, allergy (to certain microbial metabolic toxins) and even mood swings and autism. 

In an extreme case with rats, studied by House, Vyas and Sapolsky (PLoS ONE 2011, 6: e23277, free on the web), the researchers found that the microbe Toxoplasma gondii infecting rat guts suppressed the rat’s normal fear of cat smells, thereby making the rat a prey for the cat. The microbes, now housed in the cat’s belly, found it more hospitable! Occasionally we see the reverse, the host reorganizing the composition of the gut micro biome through diet. Japanese people love to eat seaweed, and now one sees specialist microbes that digest seaweeds in Japanese tummies. Likewise, unique microbes that can digest cellulose are found in the guts of African children raised on sorghum in their food. 

We thus see how microbes within us tend to dictate terms and affect not only our digestive system and health, but also our moods, feelings and preferences. 

“You are what you eat” is a phrase that became a buzz word in a variety of contexts, after Gillian Mckeith ran a BBC TV series with that name, in which she advised people on how to eat appropriate healthy diets. It now appears we need to modify it to “You are what your gut’s bugs tell you to eat.”

The human body can be mined for antibiotics, shows latest research

Carl Zimmer , SEPTEMBER 15, 2014

“Microorganisms are the best chemists on the planet,” declared Michael A. Fischbach, a chemist at the University of California, San Francisco.

For evidence, Fischbach points to the many lifesaving drugs that microorganisms produce. In 1928, for example, Alexander Fleming discovered that mould wafting into his lab produced a bacteria-killing chemical that he dubbed penicillin. Later generations of scientists found drug making microorganisms in more exotic locales. In 1951, a missionary in Borneo named William Bouw shipped a box of jungle dirt to Edmund C. Kornfield, a chemist at Eli Lilly. In that soil, Kornfield discovered a species of bacteria that made a potent antibiotic, later named vancomycin.

Scientists today are still searching jungles, oceans and other corners of the world for microorganisms that make medicines. But in a new study published on Thursday in the journal Cell , Fischbach and his colleagues suggest that we should also be looking inward.

Analysing the bacteria that live in our bodies, the scientists identified genes for making over 3,000 previously unknown molecules that may prove to be useful drugs. “Nobody had thought to look that close to home,” said Fischbach.

Finding the molecules
Finding these small molecules — known as natural products — has traditionally been a slow affair. Fischbach and his colleagues set out five years ago to speed up the search. They wrote a software program that learns how to recognise the genes for natural products.

Their study suggests that the human microbiome is a rich source of previously unknown natural products. “That wasn’t where I expected to find interesting drug-producing genes,” said Fischbach. “I was really taken aback.”

The idea that our own bacteria are making potent antibiotics may seem strange. If the microbiome is churning out poison, how does it avoid killing itself?

Fischbach suspects that bacteria only use antibiotics sparingly against their competition. “You don’t wipe the slate clean of bacteria around you,” he said. “This could be something that a hundred thousand microbes use to guard the border of their colony.”

Shaun Lee, a microbiologist at University of Notre Dame who was not involved in the study, said that the fierce competition going on inside our bodies makes it a good place to look for antibiotics.

“The human body is the Manhattan of microbial living - a great place to live with plenty of resources,” he said. “But real estate is at a premium.” — New York Times News Service
Analysing bacteria living in our body, scientists identified genes for making over 3,000 previously unknown molecules that may prove to be useful drugs