“Fecal Transplants.” Definitely an attention-grabbing headline, and one that’s been in the news a lot lately. This medical treatment is saving lives, though, and as icky as it sounds, there’s good science behind it. This approach to medicine treats the human microbiome – the extensive microbe community inside each of us.
New science is showing that each of us is really more of a walking ecosystem than the individual we think we are. Understanding this system, learning what it does, and how to use it for health care is a hot field of medical research. The effects of this work are changing medicine and changing the way we think about ourselves as living organisms.
We may owe our earthly existence to the transitory conditions of early Mars. Research reported this week by NBC News, Huffington Post, and other sources gives new weight to the notion that we all started out somewhere else. The effect may be to alter our view of life anywhere in the universe.
Panspermia is the theory that life began somewhere else in the universe and came to Earth on meteorites. The idea isn’t new – the notion goes back to the ancient Greeks – and life did emerge about four billion years ago, soon after a period of heavy meteorite bombardment. But the universe is big and hostile, so trying to draw a scientific line between all of space and our own planet isn’t easy.