Museum Exhibit Sheds Light On Our Mysterious Microbiomes

A decade ago, few people in the general public were aware that our bodies are host to complex microbial communities. Fewer still were aware that these microbiomes play an integral part in our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing and that an imbalance in these communities often leads to disease.

Over the years, research has proven time and time again how a healthy body and mind depend on highly populated and delicately balanced microbiomes. That’s why it is so exciting to see this important issue getting more and more exposure in the mainstream culture.

Just recently, New York’s American Museum of Natural History took a big leap towards getting the word out by revealing the importance of human microbiomes to the general public.

On November 7, 2015, curators opened an exhibit called “The Secret World Inside You,” in which inquisitive minds can explore the hidden worlds of the microbial communities of man’s skin, mouth and gastrointestinal tract. This exhibit will be open to the public until August 14, 2016.

Through displays, interactive videos and activities as well as live theatre, this exhibit explores the following questions and many more:

“How do your interactions with microbes—from the type of environment where you grew up to the number of times you have taken an antibiotic, which destroys both bad and good bacteria—influence your health? In what ways can your microbiome be said to be its own organ? And is it possible that the state of the bacteria in your gut plays a role in your mental health?”

What a great step towards making microbiomes and their importance common knowledge in the mainstream culture.  The more informed we and our families are on these microbial communities and the role they play in wellness and disease, the more we can focus our energies on disease prevention (by nurturing and replenishing our microbiomes) rather than simply just disease treatment.

If you live in New York or are planning to visit sometime over the next year, I hope that you and your families get a chance to check it out!

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Author Pam Bartha

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