This year, scientists pegged microbes as important players in several aspects of human health
ANTOANETA BELCHEVA AND ALBERTO MARTIN
Scientists have long known that people are cozy homes for bacteria — but figuring out the myriad roles of bacteria in the body is still a work in progress. This year, scientists pegged microbes as important players in several aspects of human health, including obesity and cancer. Highlights from 2014 include:
Blasting away babies’ gut bacteria could boost weight gain later in life. Infant mice dosed with antibiotics chunked out as adults; researchers blame the bulge on the mice’s microbial makeup, which differed from that of drug-free mice (SN: 9/20/14, p. 12).
2. Jet lag
Messing with gut microbes’ schedules may make people fat. After crossing a few time zones, travelers housed more bacteria linked to obesity than they did before the trip. In mice, jet-lagged gut microbes