A mix of intestinal viruses could help people stay healthy longer

A mix of intestinal viruses could help people stay healthy longer

Based on recent research, new therapies could promote a mix of viruses in the intestines to help prevent diseases of aging.

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Story by Big Think

Our gut microbiome plays a substantial role in our health and well-being. Most research, however, focuses on bacteria, rather than the viruses that hide within them. Now, research from the University of Copenhagen, newly published in Nature Microbiology, found that people who live past age 100 have a greater diversity of bacteria-infecting viruses in their intestines than younger people. Furthermore, they found that the viruses are linked to changes in bacterial metabolism that may support mucosal integrity and resistance to pathogens.

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Peter Rogers
Dr. Peter Rogers grew up milking cows and building barns. This provided him the transferable skills necessary for a smooth transition into academic research. Three years of genetics research led to six years of immunology research, which led to a Ph.D. from Auburn University. That led to three and half years of instructional design research at Tufts University School of Medicine. His expertise includes biomedical sciences & technology, social determinants of health, bovine birthing, training & development, and cognitive psychology. He’s taught dozens of university courses, ranging from Principles of Biology to Advanced Medical Immunology. He is currently co-writing a book with his father, George Rogers, called "How to Correctly Hold a Flashlight: A Disagreement in Academic and Agricultural Perspectives."
Breast cancer patients can now remove their tumors with ice instead of surgery

A woman receives a mammogram, which can detect the presence of tumors in a patient's breast.

When a patient is diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer, having surgery to remove the tumor is considered the standard of care. But what happens when a patient can’t have surgery?

Whether it’s due to high blood pressure, advanced age, heart issues, or other reasons, some breast cancer patients don’t qualify for a lumpectomy—one of the most common treatment options for early-stage breast cancer. A lumpectomy surgically removes the tumor while keeping the patient’s breast intact, while a mastectomy removes the entire breast and nearby lymph nodes.

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Sarah Watts

Sarah Watts is a health and science writer based in Chicago.

A new oral vaccine could prevent urinary tract infections for years

Urinary tract infections account for more than 8 million trips to the doctor each year.

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Few things are more painful than a urinary tract infection (UTI). Common in men and women, these infections account for more than 8 million trips to the doctor each year and can cause an array of uncomfortable symptoms, from a burning feeling during urination to fever, vomiting, and chills. For an unlucky few, UTIs can be chronic—meaning that, despite treatment, they just keep coming back.

But new research, presented at the European Association of Urology (EAU) Congress in Paris this week, brings some hope to people who suffer from UTIs.

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Sarah Watts

Sarah Watts is a health and science writer based in Chicago.