September/October 2016

Feature September/October 2016
More Than Just Monkey Business
The science of the microbiome is arguably one of the hottest topics in medicine, and rightfully so. A deeper understanding of the ecology of the flora in our bodies is providing revolutionary insight beyond the simple form and function of... Read more
State of the Art September/October 2016
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Modern medicine is overwhelmingly reactive rather than proactive. Get sick, seek medical help. How expensive that model is! If everyone only got sick and then sought medical assistance, we could not afford the bill. It is much better that most... Read more
Book Reviews September/October 2016
Consilience of Conscience
LAB GIRL By Hope Jahren, Knopf, 2016. ISBN: 9781101874936, 304 pages, US$26.95. As an academic, a research engineer, and a committed tree hugger, I found much to like in the 2016 memoir, Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren, who is currently a geology... Read more
Feature September/October 2016
The Precise–and Wild–Genomics Revolution
Figure 1: This 2001 photo of DNA sequencing equipment at the NIH’s Intramural Research Center, Advanced Technology Center, in Gaithersburg, Maryland, suggests the “hundreds, hundreds, hundreds” of machines required at the time. (Photo courtesy of Eric Green, NHGRI, NIH.) In the... Read more
Feature September/October 2016
What Lies Within
In 1991, a group of Italian researchers announced that they had isolated a new antibiotic from a chemical soup brewed with a soil-dwelling bacteria called Planobispora rosea. The drug was a type of thiopeptide, effective against grampositive bacteria like Staphylococcus... Read more
Feature September/October 2016
Knowing What You Eat
Food allergies and sensitivities have always been a public health problem but are becoming more prevalent worldwide. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that millions of Americans have allergic reactions to food each year. More than 17 million... Read more
Feature September/October 2016
What Can Big Data Tell Us About Health?
“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data,” said Sherlock Holmes creator and author Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887. In this era of big data, and especially the crush of medical information becoming available through new technologies... Read more
Feature September/October 2016
The Case for Big Data
Cigarette smoking is tied to lung cancer, but people still smoke. Why do people start smoking in the first place? That is one of the many complex, interdisciplinary questions behind the Kavli HUMAN Project, a massive data-collection endeavor with the... Read more
Feature September/October 2016
Omics Tech, Gut-on-a-Chip, and Bacterial Engineering
It was six years ago that fecal transplantation first received prominent media attention and the public began to fully appreciate that the bacteria and other microbes in their bodies could have a real impact on health. “In that case, the patient... Read more
Cover Story September/October 2016
Deciphering the Mysterious Microbiome
A few years ago, the average person had no idea what the microbiome was, but now it is bantered about on quasi-medical talk shows, social media, and blogs almost as though it were the savior of human health: change your... Read more