In this seminar, Dr. Linda Lee, Clinical Director of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, presented how evidence-based therapies and personalized medicine can address gastro-intestinal conditions including but not limited to Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Crohn’s Disease. After her in-depth presentation there was a extended Q&A period.
With all the advances in the field, it is important to recognize that therapies are not individualized. How we each respond to disease and treatment can vary. This is where precision medicine comes along. Precision medicine promises the customization of healthcare, with medical decisions, practices or products being tailored to the individual patient. This occurs in the gut health filed most often by sequencing DNA and using genetic technology to predict the best choice of therapy, and the patient’s response to therapy.
Microbiota refers to the different types of bacteria that are present in your colon. Microbiome refers to all the genes in the bacterial DNA. There are twice as many bacterial genes as there are human genes.
The bacteria in our intestines are beneficial to us because they produce substances that protect us from bacteria that adhere or invade our bodies. These good gut bacteria improve the intestinal barrier by producing short-chain fatty acids and have a symbiotic relationships with our cells. They make products that influence the development and normal function of the body’s immune system. We need these bacteria for the proper development of a normal immune system. We have around one kilogram of bacteria living in our gut. Healthy gut communities are populated, diverse and productive.
When our intestines are low on good bacteria, it is possible that not so good bacteria moves in to fill the void. This is called intestinal dysbiosis and it makes us sick. Intestinal dysbiosis has been linked to chronic gastro-intestinal disorders, obesity, psychiatric illnesses and cardiovascular disease to name a few.