Skip to content

Severe rosacea Credit: Wikipedia

A recent study confirmed that in the skin condition called rosacea, the skin microbiome is out of whack (dysbiosis). Of course. The study also confirmed that treatment with a topical ivermectin cream helps with the inflamed red skin rashes on the face and lowers the number of Demodex mites found on the skin.

Demodex mite Credit: Wikipedia

But while the cream improved symptoms in 44% of the patients, it didn't correct the skin dysbiosis. In rosacea, there is a big increase of Demodex mites (compared to normal levels) at the site of the red rashes or lesions. After the topical ivermectin cream treatment, the number of mites decreased in 88% of the rosacea group to more normal levels. [Yes, we all have Demodex mites living on our skin.]

However, other bacterial species are still different in the rosacea group compared to healthy persons without rosacea. The researchers found Cutibacterium species are predominant in healthy persons without rosacea, but are not found in persons when they have rosacea inflammation. Instead Staphylococcus species take over (just like in atopic dermatitis).

The skin microbiome is the community of bacteria, viruses, fungi that live on our skin. Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition that typically affects the face resulting in redness, pimples, swelling, and dilated blood vessels. It frequently begins with flushing (redness) of the face in symmetrical patches, and it may or may not progress.

Excerpts from the medical site Medscape: Topical Ivermectin Study Sheds Light on Dysbiosis in Rosacea

Topical ivermectin has significant clinical efficacy and decreases the density of Demodex mites found in the skin of people with rosacea, but cutaneous dysbiosis remains, according to a report presented at the recent European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV) 2023 Congress. ...continue reading "The Skin Microbiome Is Different In Persons With Rosacea"

E. coli bacteria Credit: NIAID

Soon there may be an oral vaccine for recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs). That is wonderful news for millions of women suffering from frequent urinary tract infections, who wind up taking repeated courses of antibiotics. Yet they keep getting UTIs.

In a small study, 54% of the persons who took the vaccine remained UTI free for the entire 9 year follow-up period, with the average UTI free period in the group (72 women and 17 men) of 4 1/2 years. The researchers said the results were a "game-changer" for the study participants.

In this study, the vaccine was given "off label" in the UK. 40% of the group had repeated doses after 1 or 2 years. Please view the study as having preliminary results, especially because the study did not have a control group that didn't receive the vaccine. There were no notable adverse effects from the vaccine .

The vaccine, called Uromune (MV140), was developed by Immunotek in Spain. The vaccine is composed of inactivated whole bacteria commonly associated with UTIs: E.coli, K. pneumoniae, P. vulgaris, and E. faecalis. It is taken every day - 2 sprays of a pineapple flavored liquid under the tongue for three months.

The vaccine is not approved by the FDA in the US at this time. It is currently pending approval in Canada and available off-license in 26 countries, including Mexico. Clinical trials are now going on. It has been in use for several years (more than 40,000 patients).

What to do now? While you're waiting for US FDA vaccine approval, why not try D-mannose for UTIs? It's non-prescription, safe, available as capsule or powder, works well for most species implicated in UTIs (such as E. coli),  and readily available. Studies support its use as either a preventive or a treatment for UTIs, and as a replacement for antibiotics.

The vaccine results were recently presented at a European medical conference. From Medical Xpress: Oral vaccine for UTI is potential alternative to antibiotics, finds 9-year study

Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) can be prevented for up to nine years in more than half of people given an oral spray-based vaccine and is a potential alternative to antibiotic treatments, finds research. ...continue reading "Oral Vaccine for Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections"

Credit: Wikipedia

Cancer tumors have a different microbiome (community of microbes) than healthy tissue. Researchers have been finding the bacteria Fusobacterium nucleatum (F. nucleatum) in a number of cancers, with high levels of its presence associated with a poorer outcome for the person (more metastases and death).

A recent study found that one strain or subtype of  F. nucleatum (called Fna C2)  is found in tumors of about 50% of aggressive colon cancers.

Interestingly, F. nucleatum is a normal oral bacteria - one found in the mouth of people, and also associated with periodontal disease. It is rarely found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract of healthy persons.

It is thought that the bacteria somehow travels from the mouth to the stomach, where it can withstand stomach acid, and then grows there in the gastrointestinal tract. F. nucleatum is cancer promoting - for example, it has a supporting role in tumor progression. It appears to be resistant to cancer treatments.

Researchers are now wondering if certain beneficial or good bacteria ingested by the person or somehow delivered to the tumor site  can battle the F. nucleatum, perhaps as part of cancer therapy. Stay tuned....

From Science Daily: Bacteria subtype linked to growth in up to 50% of human colorectal cancers

Researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center have found that a specific subtype of a microbe commonly found in the mouth is able to travel to the gut and grow within colorectal cancer tumors. This microbe is also a culprit for driving cancer progression and leads to poorer patient outcomes after cancer treatment. ...continue reading "A Specific Bacteria and Colorectal Cancer"

Covid-19 virus

To take the antiviral Paxlovid or not is a big question among many older adults. The drug is meant to be taken soon after a person develops a Covid-19 symptoms - to avoid severe Covid symptoms and prevent hospitalization and death. Unfortunately, some people develop rebound Covid after stopping Paxlovid - that is, they again develop Covid-19.

What is going on? How frequently does this occur?  A new study recently published found a rebound effect of 21%. That's 1 in 5 persons taking Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir-ritonavir). Also, the researchers found that during the second bout with Covid the person is shedding viral particles - thus contagious, even if they didn't have symptoms during the rebound.

In comparison, the Covid rebound rate was 1.8% in persons who did not receive Paxlovid.

And yes, the rebound Paxlovid group was vaccinated. The Paxlovid group had received an average 4 vaccines vs 3 in the no treatment group. Interestingly, Covid rebound was more common among those who started Paxlovid therapy within the first 2 days of Covid symptoms, versus those who started later.'s still unclear to many older adults whether to take Paxlovid or not.

From Science Daily: One in five patients experience rebound COVID after taking Paxlovid, new study finds

A new study by investigators from Mass General Brigham found that one in five individuals taking Nirmatrelvir-ritonavir therapy, commonly known as Paxlovid, to treat severe symptoms of COVID-19, experienced a positive test result and shedding of live and potentially contagious virus following an initial recovery and negative test -- a phenomenon known as virologic rebound. ...continue reading "Rebound Rates of Covid Are Pretty High After Taking Paxlovid"

Lactobacilli Credit: Wikipedia

Chronic wounds (wounds that won't heal) are a big health problem for many, many people. This past decade has seen all sorts of advances in chronic wound healing treatments, and now there is a future possibility of also applying probiotics on the wounds.

A recent study showed "proof of concept" that some Lactobacillus species are effective in eliminating biofilms and Pseudomonas aeruginosa on skin, which are big problems in chronic wounds. Proof of concept means that a preliminary study using laboratory tests (using "living skin" in a human skin model) showed that it can work, and should be tested further.

The researchers tested a treatment using several species of Lactobacilli (L. acidophilus, L. casei, L. rhamnosus). They found that probiotics added to a modern wound dressing that contained silver did better at eradicating biofilms than using silver containing dressings alone or probiotics alone. (Note: Lactobacillus species are generally viewed as beneficial bacteria, and many Lactobacillus species live at different sites in the human microbiome, which are communities of fungi, bacteria, and viruses.)

The interesting part is that the species picked for the research were because they were in supplements readily available. The researchers cited research showing other Lactobacillus species also having potential in wound treatment, especially due to effects of their lactic acid.

It's an exciting time! Stay tuned to see if probiotic infused dressings actually work on chronic wounds in live human beings...

From Physics News: A living bandage: Wound dressing uses probiotic bacteria to combat biofilms

Millimeter by millimeter, new tissue makes its way through a wound until it has closed a skin lesion. Soon, in the best case, there is nothing left to see of a knee scrape, a finger cut or a burn blister. Not so with chronic wounds, though: If the injury has not healed after four weeks, there is a wound healing disorder. Sometimes, seemingly harmless tissue damage can develop into a permanent health problem or even blood poisoning.

...continue reading "Could Probiotics Play A Role In Chronic Wound Healing?"

Ever wonder what bacteria are living on your kitchen surfaces, including sponges? It turns out that even with different hygiene, dietary habits, and cooking practices, there is a core group of bacteria that are common to all kitchen surfaces (core microbiota). At least this was true for residential kitchens in 5 European countries.

The Norwegian researchers took samples from 74 kitchens in 5 countries - France, Norway, Portugal, Romania, and Hungary. Bacteria were sampled from cutting boards, counter tops, sinks, handles, and cleaning utensils, including sponges.

The researchers found that the core microbiota in European kitchens were of eight genera or families.  They are: Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas, EnhydrobacterEnterobacteriaceaePsychrobacterChryseobacteriumBacillus, and Staphylococcus.

The researchers mention that other studies also found Acinetobacter (part of the core bacteria) in all kitchen samples in all countries (including USA, South Korea), and in high abundance. It probably enters kitchens daily because it is on vegetables, meat, fish, milk, and even in drinking water systems. By the way, these bacteria are not a threat to humans!

Bottom line: Bacteria are all around us, including in our kitchen - and that's OK. Most are harmless! However, harmful bacteria such as Salmonella can enter kitchens through contaminated food.

From Science Daily: Bacteria in kitchen may not be as harmful as you think

Bacteria found in 74 kitchens spread among 5 European countries were mostly harmless according to new research published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology. ...continue reading "Most Bacteria In Kitchens Are Harmless"

Healthy skin Credit: Wikipedia

Well, the results of new research about skin with psoriasis compared to healthy skin isn't surprising. The research found that skin with psoriasis has a distinct microbiome (community of bacteria, viruses, fungi) - one that is different from that of healthy persons.

A main finding was that the types of bacteria were lower (less diversity) on the psoriatic skin. Greater diversity of bacteria is considered good - a sign of health. Levels of Staphylococcus were higher in the psoriatic skin, but healthy skin had higher levels of Cutibacterium and Kocuria.

Oher research also supports the view that microbes are somehow involved with the development of psoriasis. The hope is that someday treatment could be just taking a probiotic pill or applying certain microbes to the skin, perhaps in a lotion. Wouldn't that be great?

Excerpts from Medscape: Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Show Distinctive Skin Microbiomes

The bacterial diversity in lesional and nonlesional skin of patients with psoriasis (PsO) with or without psoriatic arthritis (PsA) was significantly lower than that of healthy control skin, based on data from 74 individuals. ...continue reading "Psoriasis Has A Microbiome"

Toddler Credit: Wikipedia

It turns out that the baby gut microbiome is loaded with all sorts of viruses, and most of the species were unknown till now. All the viruses living in the gut is the virome. Analyzing baby poop is a way to find out what viruses live in the gut (intestines) of babies.

A team of scientists did an in-depth analysis of the poop (from diapers) of healthy one year old Danish children and found more than 10,000 new virus species! The overwhelming majority of the viruses are phages, which are viruses that attack and inhabit bacteria. There were many more viruses than bacteria in the baby poop.

Most of the phages are harmless, but some others are not so harmless, and this results in immune responses from the human host. In other words, all of this is normal and part of "training" the immune system in early childhood. The researchers named the newly discovered viruses after children participating in the study (e.g., Amandaviridae, Andyviridae).

By the way, it is normal for multitudes of viruses, bacteria, and fungi to live in the gut of humans throughout life - it's the gut microbiome.

Excerpts from Washington Post: Scientists identify thousands of unknown viruses in babies’ diapers

Research involving Danish babies’ dirty diapers has provided a plethora of information on previously unknown viruses — and the best view yet of the makeup of the infant gut microbiome. ...continue reading "Healthy Babies Have Thousands of Viruses In The Gut"

The more physically active a person is before getting COVID-19, the lower the rates of hospitalization, deterioration events, and death from COVID-19 infection. In other words, physical activity is protective.

The results of a Kaiser Permanente member analysis of 194,191 adults with COVID-19 infection found a strong dose-response relationship - with higher physical activity levels before COVID-19 associated with less severe outcomes.

What levels of exercise were reported by patients? In the 2 years before a COVID-19 infection, physical activity/exercise levels reported by patients were categorized as: always inactive (10 minutes per week or less), mostly inactive (0 to 60 minutes per week), some activity (60 to 150 minutes per week), consistently active (greater than 150 minutes per week), and always active (always greater than 150 minutes per week).

No matter the sex, race, ethnicity, age, BMI categories, whether one had cardiovascular disease or hypertension - the results were generally consistent for everyone. Bottom line: Aim for 150 minutes of physical activity or more every week. [similar results earlier study]

From Medical Xpress: More exercise linked to less-severe COVID-19 outcomes

Kaiser Permanente members who were more physically active prior to being diagnosed with COVID-19 had a lower risk of severe outcomes, according to research published Dec. 15, 2022, in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. ...continue reading "Higher Physical Activity Levels Associated With Less Severe COVID-19"

We all know that microbes (fungi, viruses, bacteria) live throughout our bodies - this is the human microbiome or microbiota. What is really interesting is that cancer tumors also have microbiomes (tumor microbiome), and these microbial communities are different than that found in healthy people (without tumors).

For a while it has been known that tumors (e.g., breast cancers) have different bacterial species than healthy tissue - the microbiome is different. Several recent studies find that tumors can also contain fungi, and cancers with certain fungal species have worse outcomes than those without the fungi. The mycobiome is the community of fungi that live in or on humans.

Also, the combination of fungal species are different depending on what kind of cancer that a person has. A group of scientists have put together a list (mycobiome atlas) of the distinctive fungi that are found with 35 different cancer tumors. This is exciting because in the future cancers could potentially be found by the microbial (fungi and bacteria) DNA they shed in the blood.

However, no one knows really why the fungi are in the tumors. For example, are they aiding the cancer development? Or is the cancer allowing the fungi to grow? Are the fungi interacting with the immune system? Or??

Several recent articles discuss this exciting new research.

From NY Times: A New Approach to Spotting Tumors: Look for Their Microbes

Look up an image of a tumor on Google, and you’ll probably end up with a brightly colored cluster of cancer cells on a drab background of healthy tissue. But for Lian Narunsky Haziza, a cancer biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, the picture looks very different. A tumor may also contain millions of microbes, representing dozens of species.

Scientists have long known that our bodies are home to microbes, but have tended to treat tumors as if they were sterile. In recent years, however, researchers have laid that notion to rest, demonstrating that tumors are rife with microbes. ...continue reading "Studies Find Fungi In Cancer Tumors"