Diversity in Your Skin Microbiome
Updated: Jul 20, 2020
Everyone is talking about diversity. It is the gentle balance that allows differences and similarities to co-exist and thrive. It is one of the cornerstones of a healthy ecosystem.
The human skin microbiome is also meant to harbor diversity, and it plays an important role in both health and disease. It is dynamic and changes together with our lives’ events.
Michael Brandwein, MYOR’s VP R&D, has been involved in atopic dermatitis skin microbiome research for a number of years. “The microbiome diversity of children with atopic dermatitis is a strong indicator of disease severity”, says Michael, “but it is also a way to improve the disease state – if we reverse the changes in the skin microbiome of individuals with atopic dermatitis, we can ease the burden of the disease.
Brandwein et. al, 2016
A healthy skin microbiome is composed of a number of specific and well-characterized microbial genera. However, in patients with atopic dermatitis, the balance between these microbes is disturbed, which results in relatively low community diversity. Staphylococcus aureus , a pathogenic bacteria, colonizes 90% of patients with atopic dermatitis, and their relative abundance is often extremely high. Furthermore, scientists have shown that microbial diversity and S. aureus colonization of the skin are correlated with disease severity and that effective therapy increases bacterial diversity.
Most newborns are born with a healthy skin microbiome which is reflective of their mother's microbiome. Our early environment can alter our skin microbiome and steer it in the wrong direction. In infancy, the most common change towards dysbiosis, or an imbalanced microbiome, is atopic dermatitis. MYOR’s technology identifies infants at-risk of skin microbiome perturbations and of atopic dermatitis. We use biophysical skin biomarkers and environmental metrics to predict the child's trajectory and we offer personalized prevention plans to mitigate risk.
“We basically use a biophysical measurement that reflects how favorable the conditions on the skin are for bacterial life, says Michael, “and we prevent atopic dermatitis by simply making the skin less attractive for harmful bacteria, specifically S. aureus.”
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Allen, H.B., et al., The presence and impact of biofilm-producing staphylococci in atopic dermatitis. JAMA Dermatol, 2014. 150(3): p. 260-5.
Kong, H.H., et al., Temporal shifts in the skin microbiome associated with disease flares and treatment in children with atopic dermatitis. Genome research, 2012. 22(5): p. 850-859.
in, Y.T., C.T. Wang, and B.L. Chiang, Role of bacterial pathogens in atopic dermatitis. Clin Rev Allergy Immunol, 2007. 33(3): p. 167-77.
Brandwein M., et al., Microbial biofilms and the human skin microbiome. npj Biofilms and Microbiomes, 2016. 2(3).