THINGS TO know

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE -

BAC­TE­RIA NEC­ES­SARY

On sheer count of cells, there is more bac­te­rial life in­side you than hu­man. Many of the bac­te­ria that call you home are friendly in the sense that they don’t do any harm and some are ben­e­fi­cial. In the 1920s, an Amer­i­can en­gi­neer in­ves­ti­gated whether an­i­mals could live with­out bac­te­ria, hop­ing that a bac­te­ria-free world would be a health­ier one. James “Art” Reyniers made it his life’s work to pro­duce en­vi­ron­ments where an­i­mals could be raised bac­te­ria-free. The re­sult was clear. It was pos­si­ble, but many of Reyniers’s an­i­mals died and those that sur­vived had to be fed on spe­cial food. This is be­cause bac­te­ria in the gut help with di­ges­tion. You could ex­ist with no bac­te­ria, but with­out the help of the en­zymes in your gut that bac­te­ria pro­duce, you would need to eat food that is more loaded with nu­tri­ents than a typ­i­cal diet.

COVER MOUTH

Dif­fer­ent viruses cause the com­mon cold and flu, but both are spread through the air in tiny droplets pro­duced when an in­fected per­son coughs, sneezes or breathes. When you sneeze, your body is get­ting rid of in­fected cells and an av­er­age sneeze will spread more than 100,000 virus cells up to 10 me­tres.

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