`We need to focus on specific microbes'
Ruchi Mathur is an endocrinologist and director of the Diabetes Center, Division of Endocrinology at Cedars-Sinai, Los Angeles. Her work defines the role of specific gut microbes in the development of obesity and insulin resistance Which ones hold promise in obesity management—probiotics, prebiotics, faecal-transfer or GM-probiotics? We are already seeing the benefit of faecal transplant in certain refractory diseases. The ultimate goal would be to understand the role of microbes both individually and in concert, and be able to manipulate them in a way to achieve optimal health. How can microbes in our gut deliver therapies? We are just beginning to understand the importance of our relationship with our microbiota. We are also just realising how we as hosts influence them (through what we eat, for example), and how they influence our health and well being. To make matters more complex, they also exert influences over each other. It's very difficult to place attributes on one organism when their interactions are so diverse and complex. Despite consuming fermented foods and probiotics such as yogurt, India has become the hotspot for lifestylerelated disorders. Why? Indians have moved from an agricultural society to a modern society complete with less activity, more computer screens and more fast food. Changes in the quality and quantity of food eaten by the average Indian needs to be probed. This has changed the gut population of microbes as well.