Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Smartphone experiment tracks whether our life story is written in our gut bacteria

Date:
July 25, 2014
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
Life events such as visiting another country or contracting a disease cause a significant shift in the make-up of the gut microbiota -- the community of bacteria living in the digestive system, according to. Two participants in a recent study used smartphone apps to collect information every day for a year. The authors think the method could be rolled out to studies of human-bacteria relationships with many more participants.

This is a plot demonstrating how much data was collected on the subjects, laying out how one subject spent every minute of their day over four months. The plot is laid out like a 24 hour clock, where the radial distances of each colored shape reflect the probability the subject was performing an action at a given time. For example, at 3 PM, the subject had roughly a 50 percent chance of actively working (light green), a 10 percent chance of eating a snack (orange), a 10 percent chance of pursuing a leisure activity (dark blue), and a 5 percent chance of writing an email (dark green).
Credit: Lawrence David and Eric Alm

Life events such as visiting another country or contracting a disease cause a significant shift in the make-up of the gut microbiota -- the community of bacteria living in the digestive system, according to research published in the open access journal Genome Biology.

Two participants used smartphone apps to collect information every day for a year in the study by scientists from MIT and Harvard. The authors think the method could be rolled out to studies of human-bacteria relationships with many more participants.

Our microbiota is the community of bacteria that share space with our bodies, and is individual to each person. The bacteria live in harmony with us, but it is thought that the composition of our microbiota has a close relationship to our health.

After a screening process, scientists asked two volunteers to use a smartphone app to log their daily activity, including their diet, exercise, bowel movements and mood and submit regular stool and saliva samples. The participants were screened before the experiment for their willingness to track such a broad range of daily actions. The two participants then logged their activity for a year, and the data from the diaries and genetic analysis of the bacteria in the samples were analysed in detail, to see what had the greatest effect on the composition of the microbiota.

The results showed that the participants had a 'default' microbiota, which were unaffected by sleep levels, exercise and mood. What did have a significant effect on the microbiota were two life events -- one subject moved abroad, while the other had a significant bout of food poisoning which caused most pre-existing gut bacterial species to decline. The effects of relationships between diet and specific groups of bacteria manifested in a single day.

Professor Lawrence David from Duke University said: "I was surprised by our results in several ways. First, I wasn't sure we would find correlations between fiber intake and gut bacterial dynamics on such short time scales. And I was amazed to see how profoundly a single food poisoning event impacted the gut bacteria. This has given us a lot of new ideas for follow up studies and analyses of gut microbial ecology, as well as enteric infectious diseases in humans."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lawrence A David, Arne C Materna, Jonathan Friedman, Maria I Campos-Baptista, Matthew C Blackburn, Allison Perrotta, Susan E Erdman, Eric J Alm. Host lifestyle affects human microbiota on daily timescales. Genome Biology, 2014; 15 (7): R89 DOI: 10.1186/gb-2014-15-7-r89

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "Smartphone experiment tracks whether our life story is written in our gut bacteria." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140725080412.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2014, July 25). Smartphone experiment tracks whether our life story is written in our gut bacteria. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140725080412.htm
BioMed Central. "Smartphone experiment tracks whether our life story is written in our gut bacteria." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140725080412.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) The drop in price of soy on the international market is a cause for concern in Argentina, as soybean exports are a major source of income for Latin America's third largest economy. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) A mama bear and her two cubs climb trees, wrestle and take naps in the backyard of a Monrovia, California home. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) Once upon a time, farming was a blissfully low-tech business on Colombia's northern plains. Duration: 02:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins