Emerging evidence suggests that microbes in the digestive system have a big influence on human health and may play a role in the onset of disease throughout the body. Now, in a study appearing in ACS Chemical Biology, scientists report that they have potentially found a way to use chemical compounds to target and inhibit the growth of specific microbes in the gut associated with diseases without causing harm to other beneficial organisms.
The digestive system is crammed with trillions of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes that help process food. Recent studies suggest that the changes in these gut flora, or microbiome, may play a role in the onset of a host of diseases and conditions including obesity, diabetes, cancer, allergies, asthma, autism and multiple sclerosis. Antibiotics can help regulate the microbiome, but bacterial resistance is on the rise. In addition, antibiotics can wipe out some of the organisms that contribute to a healthy microbiome, and the microbes that take their place can sometimes cause more harm than good. Researchers have also investigated using probiotics and fecal transplants to resolve some of these problems. But to date, few have really looked at using non-microbicidal small molecules to alter the
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