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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Think you washed yourself clean in the shower? Guess again!

Image:this image was taken under an electron microscope and shows the amount of bacteria under a human toenail.

1,000 species of bacteria found on healthy humans by Karen Kaplan May 29, 2009

"The organisms that inhabit the skin may not be the bad guys. They probably enable the body to function properly, researchers say in the journal Science.

Here's a finding that'll make your skin crawl: A healthy human epidermis is colonized by roughly 1,000 species of bacteria.Furthermore, the microorganisms have evolved to exploit the unique attributes of those body parts they call home, according to a study to be published today in the journal Science.

Some thrive in the desert of the forearm. Others are happiest in the tropical rain forest of the armpit.The study, conducted by a team of researchers from the National Institutes of Health, reflects a growing realization that bacteria have colonized us inside and out -- and that their presence is not only harmless but also probably essential to the proper functioning of the body.One striking example of that fact: Mice bred to be entirely germ-free have smaller hearts and are unable to digest food properly.
Among the more than 19 square feet of skin on a typical adult, the NIH team focused on 20 specific areas, ranging from the oily patch between the eyebrows to the moist spaces between the toes.
Moist areas -- such as the belly button and the inner bend of the elbow -- have up to 10 times as many bacteria per square inch compared with dry areas, like the inside of the mid-forearm, the scientists found.But the forearm turned out to have the greatest diversity of bacterial species, with a median of 44 among the 10 human volunteers.The least diverse site sampled was the oily area behind the ear, with a median of 15, according to the study.The study deliberately focused on regions associated with diseases such as eczema and psoriasis in the hope that the discoveries will help scientists understand those disorders better."We don't really know what causes skin diseases," said Julia Segre, a senior investigator at the National Human Genome Research Institute. Perhaps, she suggested, an outbreak ensues when a dominant species of bacteria gets kicked out by a rival species.Also a mystery is what all these microbes use for food."

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.