Shaping Our Dynamic Microbiomes For Lifelong Health - Exploring Ethics

12/22/2018; 58 minutes

Our lifespans are ever-increasing, but our healthspans are not, leading to long periods of unpleasant and expensive suffering with chronic conditions. Many of these conditions have recently been linked to the microbiome. We are constantly shaping our microbiomes through the foods we eat, the environments we experience, even the people we live and work with. Through the American Gut Project, the largest crowdsourced and crowdfunded citizen-science project yet conducted, we now know about the microbiomes of many types of people, from the healthiest to the sickest. Potentially real-time analysis of our microbiomes could guide our daily decisions in a way that optimizes our microbiomes for extending our healthspan. Although the potential benefits of such research are clear, what are the risks (e.g., privacy concerns) that need to be identified and addressed? Rob Knight, PhD explains. (#33713)

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