Manipulating the microbial flora within the intestine offers great promise for preventing or treating obesity and bowel disorders, but the precise means are not yet available, a researcher said here.
It's clear that the diverse communities of microorganisms living in the human gut are necessary to normal health, and that their derangement can lead to metabolic and gastrointestinal disorders, said Walter Coyle, MD, of the Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, Calif.
By the same token, then, it ought to be possible to alter the makeup of those communities, either to forestall development of such disorders or to treat them when they do occur, he told attendees at the American College of Physicians' annual meeting.
However, the science of the intestinal "microbiome" is still in its infancy and it remains unclear what changes to make, let alone how best to make them, Coyle said.
For starters, the mix...