Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 24th 2017 Contents A24 body & soul
guardian.co.tt Monday, July 24, 2017
Living together brings couples' microbiomes together
Couples who live together share
many things: Bedrooms, bathrooms,
food, and even bacteria. After analys-
ing skin microbiomes from cohabi-
tating couples, microbial ecologists at
the University of Waterloo, in Canada,
found that people who live together
significantly influence the microbial
communities on each other's skin.
The commonalities were strong enough
that computer algorithms could identify
cohabitating couples with 86 per cent
accuracy based on skin microbiomes
alone, the researchers reported recently
in mSystems, an open-access journal of
the American Society for Microbiology.
However, the researchers also reported
that cohabitation is likely less influential
on a person's microbial profile than other
factors like biological sex and what part of
the body is being studied. In addition, the
microbial profile from a person's body usu-
ally looks more like their own microbiome
than like that of their significant other.
"You look like yourself more than you
look like your partner," says Ashley Ross,
who led the study while a graduate student
in the lab of Josh Neufeld.
Neufeld and Ross, together with Andrew
Doxey, analysed 330 skin swabs collected
from 17 sites on the participants. Partici-
pants self-collected samples with swabs,
and sites included the upper eyelids, out-
er nostrils, inner nostrils, armpits, torso,
back, navel, and palms of hands.
They found the strongest similarities
in microbiomes on partners' feet.
"In hindsight, it makes sense," says Neu-
feld. "You shower and walk on the same
floor barefoot. This process likely serves
as a form of microbial exchange with your
partner, and also with your home itself."
As a result, partners end up with the same
"Ultimately what we're trying to learn
is whether skin microorganisms have co-
evolved with their hosts over time," said
(American Society for Microbiology)
Flip-flops: Fun in the sun,
but tough on feet
Many people love flip-flops--- just slip them on,
and you're out the door. But the unstructured foot-
wear can cause problems, one expert says.
"This time of year I frequently see patients with foot
conditions related to wearing flip-flops," Dr Christina
Long, a podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon at Wake
Forest Baptist Medical Center in America, said in a news
"Wearing flip-flops is better than going barefoot be-
cause they do provide some protection for the bottoms
of your feet, but that's about it," she said.
"Flip-flops don't offer any arch or heel support, and
you have to grip them with your toes to keep them on.
Wearing them for too long or for the wrong activity can
cause a lot of different problems," she explained.
Flip-flops leave feet exposed and susceptible to cuts,
puncture wounds, bruises, torn nails, insect bites and
sunburn. Walking in flip-flops also can alter your natural
stride, resulting in shin splints, Achilles tendon problems
and lower back pain. It's also easy to stub a toe or trip and
fall while wearing flip-flops.
Wearing flip-flops too often can lead to minor prob-
lems such as chafing, blisters, calluses, soreness to more
serious issues such as plantar fasciitis (inflammation of
the band of tissue that runs from the heel to the ball of
the foot), hammer toes and stress fractures, Long said.
"Flip-flops are fine for short-term use, especially if
they have at least some arch support and a cushioned
sole. They're good to wear at the beach, around swimming
pools, in showers and locker rooms at the gym, on short
trips to the store," she said.
If you want to wear flip-flops, look for those made of
high-quality, soft leather, which minimise the potential
for blisters and other types of irritation, the American
Podiatric Medical Association recommends.
Gently bend the flip-flop from end to end, ensuring
that it bends at the ball of the foot---it should not fold in
half --- and make sure your foot doesn't hang off the edge of
the flip-flop. The APMA added that all of your shoes---not
just flip flops---should be slightly bigger than your feet.
Inspect older flip-flops and throw them away if they
show signs of severe wear.
There are some activities where you should forgo the
flip-flops, however. Driving is one of them. Long said
it's easy for the shoes to slip off and they can get lodged
between the pedals and the floor.
Also, she said, leave your flip-flops in the closet if you
plan on running, hiking, walking long distances, standing
for extended periods, working in the yard or around the
house or playing sports.
(Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, USA)
Flip flops are fine for short term use, but not for
lengthy walking, or driving cars.
You share more than just your living space with your partner.
Links Archive July 23rd 2017 July 25th 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page