Monday, 29 June 2015

The Man Who Drank Cholera

Joel sent me this article about Ilya Metchnikoff, 'the man who drank cholera and launched the yogurt craze.' 
   Its the amusing history of an unusual and lively man who connected the dots from probiotics to immunity. 

Here's an excerpt: 
"The cholera drink didn’t sicken Metchnikoff, so he let a volunteer from his lab repeat the test. When the first volunteer didn’t contract cholera either, Metchnikoff didn’t hesitate to accept an offer from a second one. To his horror, the young man fell ill and nearly died. When Metchnikoff took his experiments into the petri dish to find out what caused such a marked difference, he discovered that some microbes hindered the cholera growth while others stimulated it. He then proposed that the bacteria of the human intestinal flora played a part in disease prevention. And, he reasoned, if swallowing a pathogenic bacterial culture sickened you, then swallowing a beneficial one would make you healthier. Therefore, he decided, the proper alteration of the intestinal flora could help battle diseases that had plagued humans for centuries."

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