The blood as a diagnostics tool in chronic illness with obscure microbial involvement: A critical reviewIJCAM. 2019;12(6):232‒239
Advanced research into human health and effects of the bacteria around us and inside us is reaching new and unprecedented levels of understanding. However, the information is not reaching the general integrated practitioner fast enough, nor do the findings provide clear feedback to translational medicine for optimal treatment of chronically ill patients. This review paper intends to provide an overview of today’s knowledge, clarify historical observations, and offer some initial levels of scientific grounding for health practitioners.
As the studies of biology and medicine grew from infancy through the 19th century, leading scientists identified bacteria as causative agents in many diseases. These findings steered medical microbiology towards the germ theory, the “one-microbe, one-disease” concept. Today, modern microbiology has rocketed beyond such simplified concepts, and shown the capacity of microbial life forms to exchange genetic material, form stealthy biofilm, and live under extreme conditions in forms that are not recognizable as specific species or classical morphological forms.
The scientific understanding and medical use of the human blood for diagnosis and treatment decisions has wavered back and forth over the past 150 years. Early microscopists found morphological evidence for apparent microbial-like forms and associated these with health status and illness. This was followed by a more rigid medical microbiology textbook dogma, based on the concept that the human blood is a sterile environment, and any microbial form observed as a sign of infection, i.e. an invasion by an unwanted microbial form, is specifically linked such that one microbial species will initiate one highly specific pattern of health breakdown.
During the last 20 years, the earlier simplified dogmas have been supplanted. Very recently, it has been shown beyond doubt that broad and complex microbial communities (‘microbiomes’) exist not only in our gut and on our skin, but also in our blood circulation, in cells, tissue, and inside tumors. The intricate interplay between a person’s immune status and health provides a complex backdrop for how the microbial world affects our health and wellbeing.
This work was supported (in part) by the Fetzer Franklin Fund of the John E. Fetzer Memorial Trust.