The average human body, which consists of an estimated ten trillion cells, has about ten times that number of microorganisms in its digestive tract. These bacteria, known as intestinal, or gut, flora, normally reside within the lumen of the intestine and fulfill a number of useful functions for the host, including producing vitamins, training the immune system, fermenting unused energy substrates, and producing hormones that prompt the host to store fats. Can a person survive without gut flora?
Back in the day
Lotario di Segni became Pope of the Catholic Church in 1198 at the age of 37, taking the name "Innocent III." He believed that just as things of the spirit take preeminence over things of the body, so should earthly monarchs be subject to the pope, and he set out immediately to realize this ideal. He was the virtual overlord of Christian Spain, Scandinavia, Hungary, and the Latin East and launched the Fourth Crusade, which went awry when the crusaders did what instead of going to the Holy Land?
Born on a day like today
Balch was an American economist and sociologist who taught at Wellesley College until her dismissal in 1918 for opposing US involvement in World War I. She was a co-founder, along with Jane Addams, of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and served as its international secretary from 1919 to 1922. In 1946, she shared the Nobel Peace Prize with longtime YMCA leader John R. Mott. Balch was among the first graduates of what American college in 1889?