Take Your Microbiome to a Savannah

Listen to "Take Your Microbiome to a Savannah"


What is a microbiome and why do we have one?  What do you want to know about prebiotics, probiotics, and antibiotics?  What does life on a savannah have to do with your gut function?  Doctor Jonathan Terdiman informs us how important bacteria are in preventing stomach problems. Doctor Weisiger discusses brain stress pathways and how they relate to GI disorders.  Lathan Spaulding, carpenter, apprentice boat builder, former skateboarder, and dedicated meditator, generously shares with us some intimate details about the functioning of his GI system.

Lake Market, Kolkata 2006

Things My Grandmothers Used To Do

Both my grandmothers oiled their thin greying hairs.
one wore a pearl studded silver hair clip
at the nape of her neck
the other braided a clean plait down her back
one read several newspapers everyday
and got the women’s vote out
she learned to swim at the age of 66
her kids were latch key kids
before the term was invented
the other said her daily prayers
raised well-mannered children
and kept the tidiest house
until the day she passed
she also always waited
to eat breakfast
until her colon had emptied itself
they both did hot fresh chapatis
at every meal
one always put aside
the first morsel of her food
for the birds
they fed their families, and their guests, their fill
before satisfying their own hunger
they made plenty
and were sure there would be no leftovers
they never served, nor ate, leftovers
leftovers were fed to the cows
freely roaming the streets
or to the stray dogs in the alleys
or the pigeons on the rooftop patio
they both would never ever
dream of eating mangoes alone

-jaysi, 2009


Author Spotlight

On the Microbiome

Doctor Jonathan Phillip Terdiman is professor of clinical medicine and surgery at UCSF. He is clinical director of the Colitis and Crohn’s Disease Center and director of the Hereditary Gastrointestinal Cancer Prevention Program. He performs research in the areas of colorectal cancer prevention, especially among individuals at high risk for cancer, such as those with hereditary cancer syndromes or those with longstanding inflammatory bowel disease. He also is interested in projects related to biomarkers of prognosis and prediction of response to therapies in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.Read Full
Author Spotlight

Taking it to the Savannah

Doctor Richard A. Weisiger is a professor in residence and chief of medicine of the Faculty Gastroenterology and Liver Practices. He investigates the pathophysiology of functional disorders, with an emphasis on irritable bowel syndrome. He finds many disorders including depression, fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome are caused by inappropriate activation of brain stress pathways. He states that while the stress response was adaptive in the ancestral environment where stress was usually brief (e.g., escaping a fire or flood), stress in modern life may persist for months or years. The resulting activation of stress pathways may cause multiple somatic symptoms (e.g., headache, anxiety, depression, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea). He has found animal data indicates that abuse or neglect during early life causes permanent activation of brain stress pathways. These changes strongly predispose to functional disorders in adults. Permanent activation of central ...Read Full
Author Spotlight

Setting a Good Example

Lathan Spaulding has lived in more places than he can count on both hands two times over. He has been based in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2001 working as a carpenter and apprenticing as a boat builder. Lathan loves a good salad and a great Indian buffet. Despite his obviously conflicting food interests and the semi-privacy of his restroom facilities is still able to maintain regularity of his bowel movements.Read Full