#ThinkSpeak & #BrainHealth: treating your microbiome as a pet

It is that time of year when I seem to have time for rumination and reflection. #ThinkSpeak #BrainHealth

Last night I was at dinner with nine of my trainees who have recently left, or are about to, to continue with their career progression (please note progression as it is being used here denotes improvement).

We had some interesting discussion about the changes that are occurring to the practice of medicine and inevitably the conversation came down to AI (artificial intelligence) and algorithmic medicine. One of the other issues we touched on was the stress medics are under and despite knowing about bad behaviours a lot of us still self medicate to reduce stress. Too many medics smoke, drink too much, sleep and exercise too little, have poor diets, etc. If we can’t take control over our own lives how can we expect to give advice to our patients and expect them to take the advice seriously? This conundrum has been pinging around in my head for several years and is one of the motivations behind our #BrainHealth campaign. In response to this problem we are planning to launch a #BrainHealth competition at ECTRIMS in Paris where we will be asking MS centres, Pharma companies and other MS stakeholders to put forward teams of at least 7 people to compete over 100 days to see who which team can collect the most activity points. We hope by making this competitive we will get greater participation and at the same time they will be living examples to pwMS that it can be done. We are also proposing that the teams include pwMS. What do you think? At present we are proposing to use the Virgin Pulse platform to run the competition. Wouldn’t it be nice to see Barts-MS being beaten by a team from Australia?

I don’t think this competition will include diet. So what about diet? What can we do to improve the nation’s and our patients diets? 

I was looking at our dog this morning and thought about how much value he brings to our lives. Because we look after our dog by feeding him well and making sure his comfortable why we wouldn’t we do the same to pets living inside our body? This is when I thought of starting a relationship with my gut microbiome and to start treating it as a pet. If we did this we may be more disciplined about how we feed  it and look after it. After all we are what we eat and our gut microbiome sits at the interface. If we treat our microbiome well, by eating well, it will treat us well.  

12 thoughts on “#ThinkSpeak & #BrainHealth: treating your microbiome as a pet”

  1. This blog's relevance is questionable because of posts like this.Keep it professional, please.

    1. There is irony in this comment. Posting anonymously isn't exactly making yourself accountable for the comments you make. This is relevant. Poor diet and it's effects are not mentioned enough.

    2. I suggest you go elsewhere for professional posts. You could try the MS Society; it is very professional and politically correct, which means it can be dull as ditch water.

  2. If you want medics to show pwms how it can be done don't forget they first need to reluctantly give up their livelihoods and their independence, stick pins in their eyes, anaesthetise a few body parts, install a catheter, consider suicide a few times and fall over a lot. Maybe after that, and then some, pwms may appreciate being shown what they should be doing by the people who are supposed to be helping them but aren't. Oh, and no more holidays. You also have to give up your pets because you can't afford the vets bills. I am sure we will be so impressed that they have given up alcohol, cigarettes and sweet treats, and got their new found fitness that everyone with ms will be rushing to do the same.But then medics are just people, with their own issues. They know the risks that come with unwise choices but they are their choices for their reasons. No one is perfect, and expecting medics to be saints isn't fair.

    1. Julie the motivation behind this initiative is that if we get HCPs to think about, and engage with, their own brain health they may think about their patient's brain health. It is all about engagement and getting people to adopt the 'Brain Health: Time Matters' policies; nothing more, nothing less.

    2. Julie, You are being much too serious. Just get the medics to spend a couple of days using a rollator. No carrying allowed and both hands on the handle bars all the time. Oh yes tie their legs together so no step can be greater than 30 cm.That is reality and help them to understand the physical problems of having MS

  3. I liked this blog! I can get bogged down sometimes with too much data (although it's v useful) so it's nice to have a bit of gentle musing…

  4. Prof G I think you should call your microbiome Boris. Next time you go to the toilet you may appreciate the joke.

    1. Thanks. Not sure about the name, but think you have just created a new euphemism. "Where are you going?""I am just going for a Boris!"I am not sure I will be able to look at Boris Johnson in the same way again.

  5. As well as HCPs, it would be good to include PwMS from the start, otherwise it may become a bit of an us and them situation. I think you may find that many PwMS take all of the activities recommended by the BrainHealth initiative extremely seriously (still lightheartedly, though) in that they try to adhere to them. PwMS are constantly being exhorted to exercise, not to smoke, stay socially and intellectually active etc, and you may find that many of them have taken the advice.Good idea… health for allcomersThanksBouncy

  6. That Prof Spector fellow seems to think it would be better to be eating bits of baobab tree, mud and armadillos. Frozen pizza, beer, wine, American chicken washed in chlorine, and milk from cows pumped with hormones and antibiotics for mastitis just won't cut it.

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