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#ThinkSpeak & #BrainHealth: treating your microbiome as a pet

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It is that time of year when I seem to have time for rumination and reflection. #ThinkSpeak #BrainHealth

Last night I was at dinner with nine of my trainees who have recently left, or are about to, to continue with their career progression (please note progression as it is being used here denotes improvement).

We had some interesting discussion about the changes that are occurring to the practice of medicine and inevitably the conversation came down to AI (artificial intelligence) and algorithmic medicine. One of the other issues we touched on was the stress medics are under and despite knowing about bad behaviours a lot of us still self medicate to reduce stress. Too many medics smoke, drink too much, sleep and exercise too little, have poor diets, etc. If we can't  take control over our own lives how can we expect to give advice to our patients and expect them to take the advice seriously? This conundrum has been pinging around in my head for several years and is one of the motivations behind our #BrainHealth campaign. In response to this problem we are planning to launch a #BrainHealth competition at ECTRIMS in Paris where we will be asking MS centres, Pharma companies and other MS stakeholders to put forward teams of at least 7 people to compete over 100 days to see who which team can collect the most activity points. We hope by making this competitive we will get greater participation and at the same time they will be living examples to pwMS that it can be done. We are also proposing that the teams include pwMS. What do you think? At present we are proposing to use the Virgin Pulse platform to run the competition. Wouldn't it be nice to see Barts-MS being beaten by a team from Australia? 

I don't think this competition will include diet. So what about diet? What can we do to improve the nation's and our patients diets? 

I was looking at our dog this morning and thought about how much value he brings to our lives. Because we look after our dog by feeding him well and making sure his comfortable why we wouldn't we do the same to pets living inside our body? This is when I thought of starting a relationship with my gut microbiome and to start treating it as a pet. If we did this we may be more disciplined about how we feed  it and look after it. After all we are what we eat and our gut microbiome sits at the interface. If we treat our microbiome well, by eating well, it will treat us well. What do you think? I also thinking of giving it a name. 

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