Monday, December 03, 2007

Dirty job

…Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators at Stanford are studying…er,
infant droppings.

…You thought your job blew at times.

…Lucky volunteer parents in Silicon Valley (nannies more likely) collect the “evidence.”

…They call it the poop project, so we might as well use the P-word.

…The idea is to see what bacteria newborns have onboard. They collect samples for a year.

…Families got little freezers in case they didn’t want the science stuff near the ice cream.

…Researchers and parents actually bonded and decided thhis was fun. Oh, heck, why not?

…Mom’s also supplied samples of internal secretions prior to labor to see what baby might be picking up on the way out.

…Babies apparently are born with a sterile intestinal tract. But the bacteria swarm in in short order. A normal adult has 10 times as many bacterial cells as human cells.

…Each baby was different, but fraternal twins showed the most similarity. Could genetics and the environment work together to establish these colonies?

…In the end, certain bacteria live well inside us and tend to get established.

…The 14 families did this for a year. HA once estimated that each kid messes up 5,000 diapers.

…At least this was for the cause of science.

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