HOW MICROBES DEFINE, SHAPE — AND MIGHT EVEN HEAL US by Rob Knight.
We’re already starting to link our microbes to a wide spectrum of specific diseases, from the obvious — like infectious diseases and inflammatory bowel disease — to surprising ones such as multiple sclerosis, autism, and depression.
It’s worth noting that just because we know a microbe is involved in a specific disease, it doesn’t mean the answer — or the cure — is to eliminate that microbe. In fact, doing so might cause irreversible damage. It may turn out that targeting diet or inhibiting an enzyme (that’s a protein that speeds up a particular chemical reaction) might be more effective than attacking the microbes directly. And yet the reason there is so much excitement about the microbiome is the prospect of discovering entirely new mechanisms to treat conditions that have resisted existing therapies.