Can you be infected with obesity or cancer?

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Regular bouts of malaria, deadly forms of tuberculosis, persistent outbreaks of syphilis, and rotting wounds and cuts were common threats to our ancestors' lives. Modern mankind was much luckier: thanks to the development of new ways to prevent epidemics, the population of our planet can safely prevent disease outbreaks not only in humans, but also in many animal species. Be that as it may, in the 21st century, other non-communicable diseases began to jeopardize people's wellbeing. But what if we mistakenly view some “non-contagious” diseases as contagious?

Infectious diseases are diseases that can be transmitted from person to person.

What are not contagious diseases?

Official statistics show that around 41 million people die each year from non-human-borne diseases. Different types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, severe forms of diabetes, respiratory diseases and other chronic diseases take many lives. According to the World Health Organization, non-communicable diseases are the leading cause of death in more than 70% of all deaths recorded worldwide.

Noncommunicable diseases are thought to be based on a combination of genetic factors with environmental factors or a person's lifestyle, but they are not transmitted by bacteria, viruses or fungi. Be that as it may, experts find that microbes found both on and inside the human body have a major impact on human health. In a recent study, scientists wanted to find out whether a human microbiome could serve as a means of communicating non-communicable diseases from person to person.

About 2 kilograms of different microorganisms live in the human body

According to an article published on, some types of microorganisms daily help with the vital functions of the human body by controlling important physiological systems such as metabolism, digestion and immunity. However, researchers suggest that some chronic diseases can be directly related to bacterial imbalances in the body. For example, in people with diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases or cardiovascular diseases, there is usually a different bacterial collection in the intestine than in healthy representatives of humanity. In this regard, some experts believe that healthy people may “catch” the manifestations of these diseases due to the effects of mixed microbes.

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During the study, specialists took saliva and stool samples from 290 people living in close proximity to determine the types of bacteria that live in their microbiomes. As a result of the experiment, the scientists uncovered specific patterns of bacterial transmission in each community, especially in people living in the same house. And if the mother and her children had many similar microorganisms, then the spouses had more.

The study confirmed the possibility of transmission of non-communicable diseases with microbes that live in our bodies

Scientists have found that, in addition to "healthy" microbes, "errors" that lead to the development of chronic diseases can also be transmitted. Therefore, a couple with type 2 diabetes are more likely to get this disease from one of the partners within a year of diagnosis. As evidence of this, studies were carried out in mice whose sterile representatives developed diabetic symptoms after bacterial transplantation of a diseased mouse. Similar trends have been observed in experiments with inflammatory bowel disease in both humans and animals.

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It is also believed that obesity may be able to transmit microbes. Sterile mice suffer from obesity symptoms after a faecal transplantation of diseased mice.

Once scientists can demonstrate that non-communicable diseases can spread between people, they can develop new ways to treat the microbiota of people who are already sick. The researchers still have a long time to study the effects of human bacteria on the body and its health. They currently recommend eating a healthy diet and exercising moderately to prevent most of the common diseases.

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