PerspectiveMetabolism

Microbes help to track time

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Science  27 Sep 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6460, pp. 1379-1380
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz0224

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Summary

Chronic noncommunicable disorders, such as obesity and metabolic disorders, are increasing globally and contribute to nearly 70% of all deaths worldwide (1). The shift toward chronic noncommunicable disease epidemics coincides with changes to several key aspects of human lifestyles. Modern humans are more likely to live in cities, be more sedentary, experience artificial lighting, and eat a typical “Western” diet (high in calories and fat, low in fiber) (2). Epidemiological studies suggest that these factors are at least partially responsible for the rise of metabolic and inflammatory disorders (3), although precisely how lifestyle promotes such conditions is not understood. On page 1428 of this issue, Kuang et al. (4) identify one possible mechanism: disrupted cross-talk between the body clock in the gut and the bacterial communities living there (the microbiota).

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