One year after the success of the first ‘Microbes for Health’ international symposium, Danone Research, Inra and Institut Pasteur co-organized the second edition which was held in the heart of Paris on the Institut Pasteur campus on 1st and 2nd December 2011.
This year again, the program brought together internationally reputed researchers from all over the world to present their most recent results on the microbiota itself or on its influence on the immune system (allergies, asthma), metabolism (obesity, heart disease, inflammation) and the nervous system. Among the numerous lessons learned, it is to be noted that: 1) there are not infinite combinations but only a few types of microbiota or enterotypes, rather like blood groups; 2) in our excessively hygienic countries, certain bacteria and even parasitic worms may be beneficial for our immune system; 3) as of very early life, our microbiota may predispose to obesity and then, throughout life, play a role in the emergence of metabolic diseases and heart disease; 4) lastly, the bacteria hosted in our gut may have an effect on anxiety and even be involved in potential behavioral modifications or the emergence of neurodegenerative disease.
Lastly, for the second year running, the event benefited from live Twitter feeds enabling direct information of the scientific community online and incorporation of feedback in the discussion. Researchers and scientists attending the conference posted tweets, immediate echoes of the discoveries, results and conclusions presented, as the speakers’ presentations progressed.