December 13, 2018

Virtual Short Reads

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February 4, 2021 - February 4, 2021

We read articles about science, space, climate, current events, health, and more! This month we are exploring: 

Your Microbiome

Discussion Thursday, February 4th at noon.  

They’ve been keeping us company since before we were born – our own, unique microbiomes. The scientific study of the microbial communities in and around us is still relatively new (about 15 years), but there have been plenty of exciting discoveries and new hypotheses in medicine, nutrition, the indoor environment, behavior and more. Some people have also come up with ways to make a lot of money from these ideas and research studies.

All but one of the articles HERE (PDF does not include the Forbes article, Trust Your Gut). Links to all of the articles are below.


Princeton Researchers Catalog the Gut Microbiome’s Impact on Medications is a press release from Princeton University, June 10, 2020. The study describes a way to investigate how pharmaceuticals affect our microbiome and how our microbiome affects the efficacy of those same drugs.


Maternal microbes support fetal brain wiring by Katherine R. Meckel & Drew D. Kiraly (23 September 2020) is a study using mice to understand how fetal brain development is impacted by the mother’s microbiome.

Connection between household chemicals and gut microbiome, press release from Washington State University (published on Science Daily, 12 November 2020). Emphasizes again the relationship between our environment and our microbiome.

Could gut microbes be key to solving food allergies? by Esther Landhuis (21 May 2020). Are allergies caused by a lack of or an imbalance of some of the bacteria or viruses in our microbiome?

Probiotics: Promise, Evidence, and Hope by Alexander Khoruts, Diane E. Hoffmann, and Robert A. Britton (Gastroenterology August 2020;159(2):409–413). Explains what probiotics are where the science currently stands.

To Make a Building Healthier, Stop Sanitizing Everything by Caroline Winter (16 December 2020).  Especially important as many of us spend even more time inside this winter.

Archaeologists delved into medieval cesspits to study old gut microbiomes by Kiona N. Smith (6 October 2020). Early results from a look at early poop. How have our microbiomes changed over time?


** Trust Your Gut by Susan Adams & Will Yakowicz, published in Forbes, March 2020 (203(1): 92-97) interviews some of the people researching and making money from microbial therapies.

This article is available through EBSCO; you’ll need your library card number to log in:,ip,cpid&custid=peter&db=buh&AN=141574717&site=ehost-live

Also available on if you don’t have an ad blocker, under the title: Drugs from Bugs: Why Gates, Zuck and Benioff Think the Next Blockbusters Will Come From Inside Your Gut.


Please email JDuffy @ for the link to the Zoom meeting.

Why Short Reads? Because you don’t have all day. We pick 3-4 articles which could be read in around 60 minutes. It’s the perfect club for the curious and those short on time.

Short Reads is hosted by Jocelyn Duffy.

Jocelyn has over a decade of experience developing and presenting programs about nature, science, and history for federal, state, and regional organizations. She has degrees in information technology, library science, and natural resource management and enjoys exploring the places where people and the environment come together. Jos works on the help desk and also works as a program coordinator. She runs the Short Reads book group and our popular survival series programming.