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We are all exposed to a vast and dynamic cloud of microbes, chemicals and particulates that, if visible, might make us look something like Pig-Pen from Peanuts.
Using a re-engineered air-monitoring device, scientists from the Stanford University School of Medicine have peered into that plume and discovered a smorgasbord of biological and chemical minutia that swirl in, on and around us. Their findings show, in unprecedented detail, the variety of bacteria, viruses, chemicals, plant particulates, fungi, and even tiny microscopic animals that enter our personal space—a bombardment known as the human "exposome."
Human - Health - Things - DNA - Environment
"Human health is influenced by two things: your DNA and the environment," said Michael Snyder, Ph.D., professor and chair of genetics at Stanford. "People have measured things like air pollution on a broad scale, but no one has really measured biological and chemical exposures at a personal level. No one really knows how vast the human exposome is or what kinds of things are in there."
That curiosity—to see, for the first time, what a person's exposure looks like at an individual level and how much it varies among people—was what motivated the study, Snyder said. But studying the exposome also provides an opportunity to clarify environmental influencers of human health that are otherwise obscure, he said. For example, rather than simply blaming pollen, those with seasonal allergies would be able to identify exactly what they're allergic to by monitoring their exposome data and symptoms throughout the year.
Study - Findings - Information - Geographic- - Spikes
The study's findings also reveal information about geographic- and household-chemical spikes and weather-related patterns, and likewise show the wide range of chemical and biological particulates that can be found between individuals—even within a relatively small geographic region, such as the San Francisco Bay Area.
The study will be published online Sept. 20 in Cell. Snyder is the senior author. Postdoctoral scholar Chao Jiang, Ph.D.; research...
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