Father-daughter duo Brett (Let Them Eat Dirt), a microbiologist, and Jessica, a gerontologist, combine their specialties for this excitedly optimistic and research-grounded look at the microbiome’s implications for the health of the aging body. Cheerfully stating that “the Fountain of Youth is full of microbes,” the Finlays make their way through different bodily systems, both those obviously susceptible to interactions with outside microbes, such as the mouth, skin, and gut, and those less obviously so, such as the lungs and brain. Throughout, they point to data showing that healthier people maintain more microbial diversity as they age, even though diversity inevitably declines over time. Health tips largely consist of commonsense hygiene, diet, and exercise advice, but do include some pointers on limiting use of antibacterials and antibiotics, and on using more probiotics and prebiotics. The authors focus particularly on topics of interest to older people, such as possible microbiological involvement in Alzheimer’s and menopause, and the detrimental effects of oversterilized but isolated places like nursing facilities. The Finlays are up front about the fact that much information available on this topic is still speculative, but they make a strong case for the microbiome as an exciting new frontier in health research, with myriad possibilities for the diagnosis and treatment of various diseases. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/03/2018 Release date: 01/01/2019 Genre: Nonfiction
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