Microbes inhabit just about every part of the human body, living on the skin, in the gut, and up the nose. Sometimes they cause sickness, but most of the time, microorganisms live in harmony with their human hosts, providing vital functions essential for human survival. For the first time, a consortium of researchers organized by the National Institutes of Health has mapped the normal microbial makeup of healthy humans, producing numerous insights and even a few surprises.
A number of studies have asserted that moderate drinking has a positive benefit on cardiovascular health. Now, scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center have discovered how alcohol consumption can help to prevent heart disease. The research, published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, studied the effects of moderate amounts of alcohol in human coronary artery smooth muscle cells and in the carotid arteries of mice . In both cases, regular, limited amounts of alcohol inhibited a protein called Notch 1 and prevented the buildup of smooth muscle cells in blood vessels that leads to the narrowing of the arteries and can put you at risk for a heart attack or stroke.