the bellybutton project


Several years ago, a group of research scientists, led by Dr. Rob Dunn of  NC State University, began something his team called “The Bellybutton Project“.
“With the Belly Button Biodiversity Project, we transformed the meaning of navel gazing. We recruited over 500 of you to swirl a Q-tip in your belly button for the sake of scientific discovery.  We inspired thousands more to pause, ponder, and dare we say appreciate the microbes that call your body home.”   From the website of the Wildlife Diversity — Belly Button Biodiversity project.
As crazy as it sounds, the results of their study revealed over two thousand different species of bacteria living in the navel.  Most of these were rare — being found in less than 10% of the study’s participants.  However, the more common species were shared by  more than seventy percent of the participants.  Interestingly enough, there were no “universal” bacteria species that was shared by everyone.  Belly buttons provide a unique place to study these bacteria because it is a relatively undisturbed part of the body and contains older skin that has not been sloughed off yet.


Really; why does it matter?  This is a great question in an age of public monies being used to study everything from the asinine to the absurd.  In case you have not been a regular reader of my blog, bacteria are one of the largest necessities to good health (HERE).  And we continue to mess up the microbial balance.  How are we doing this?  Through crappy diet, BEING OVERLY CLEAN, and consuming way too many Antibiotics.  For a great example of what I am talking about, just thumb through some of our older blog posts under ANTIBIOTICS.  Our blog posts on GUT HEALTH are also a great place to shed some light on the subject. You will find some overlap in these two categories.
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