Author Archives: Kristina Fiore

About Kristina Fiore

Kristina Fiore is a staff writer for MedPage Today, focusing on diabetes, nutrition, and addiction medicine, and has written for New Jersey Monthly, ABC News, Newsday and other newspapers and magazines.

Bugs in the body: When bacteria can be healthy #ahcj14

Photo by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory via Flickr.

Photo by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory via Flickr

With falling costs of genetic screening, research into the body’s microbial community has grown tremendously, offering new insights into what constitutes a healthy population of “bugs” and how these organisms are involved in disease, according to a panel discussion on Friday at Health Journalism 2014.

Bacteria account for about three pounds, on average, of our body weight – about the same size as the brain – and communities in various organ systems differ vastly, according to panelist Rob Knight, Ph.D., of the University of Colorado.

Knight’s lab develops technology that helps researchers turn data on these microbes into visual information – it’s been used for the Human Microbiome Project – and one representation shows just how divergent populations can be from one body part to the next. Continue reading