We often think of bacteria as being bad for us. However, our bodies are actually home to countless bacteria, as well as other tiny organisms, many of which are beneficial. Despite this, new research has discovered that our gut “microbiomes” — all the microorganisms that live inside us—are not as diverse and healthy as they used to be.
Scientists conducted an experiment in which the feces of numerous species of apes and monkeys was collected and analyzed for bacterial DNA. The results were compared with microbiome data from modern human populations. They showed that while apes and monkeys had around 85 kinds of bacteria, humans in cities only had around 55. Humans in rural areas had between 60 and 65 kinds.
Looking at ancient human microbiomes found in fossils helped the researchers pin down when some of these bacteria started to disappear. Many have vanished relatively recently, and the absence of certain gut bacteria in city-dwelling humans suggests that moving into cities has caused our microbiomes to diminish.
photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / 照片：維基共享資源提供
There are several possible reasons for this, including antibiotic use, better hygiene, and stress. Stress and anxiety have a negative impact on gut bacteria, and other studies have shown that people suffer from more stress in cities. The loss of these bacteria has been linked to asthma and several other diseases becoming more widespread. While the ultimate goal for scientists is to get these helpful bacteria back into our systems, the first step for the research team is identifying exactly which kinds are missing.
microbiome n. 微生物組
microorganism n. 微生物
feces n. 排泄物（可作單數和複數名詞）
bacterial adj. 細菌的
antibiotic n. 抗生素
hygiene n. 衛生（情況）
asthma n. 氣喘
1. diverse adj. 多樣化的；多元的
This school’s student population is quite diverse and includes students from over 30 countries.
2. analyze vt. 分析
The critic analyzes stories to find the author’s meaning in each one.
3. rural adj. 鄉村的；農村的
Tom left the noise of the city behind when he moved to a rural area.
4. fossil n. 化石
Henry was surprised to discover a dinosaur fossil when he was digging up the soil in his garden.
5. pin down 確認；弄清楚
It took the information technology department workers hours to pin down exactly what the problem with the Internet was.
6. dwell vi. 居住；棲身
The old witch dwells in a tiny cottage with a roof made of straw.
7. diminish v. 減少；降低
The number of crocodiles in the wild has diminished because of poaching.
8. widespread adj. 普遍的；廣泛的
Although cellphones were originally quite rare, today their use is widespread.
9. ultimate adj. 最終的；最後的
The ultimate baseball game of the World Series will be on Wednesday, and I hope my city’s team wins.
A festive time of light 元宵佳節知多少 Occurring on the 15th day of the initial month of the Lunar New Year, when the first full moon appears, the Lantern Festival is a festive time that continues the good cheer and celebration sparked by Chinese New Year. It also simultaneously marks the end of that annual event. It’s a time when lanterns and other colorful lights and decorations adorn stores, businesses, and streets in Chinese communities around the globe. Aside from honoring ancestors, the festival is also meant to foster peace, forgiveness, and harmony. Lantern displays are the center of attention during the Lantern Festival in Taiwan. Parks across
Eating glutinous rice balls during the Lantern Festival Lunar New Year celebrations traditionally conclude with the Lantern Festival, which is on the 15th day of the first lunar month. With every household decorated with lanterns and streamers, the Lantern Festival can be seen as an extended New Year celebration. Lighting lanterns during the Lantern Festival can be traced to the Western Han Dynasty in China. The 15th day of the first lunar month is the first full moon of the year, and has the significance of a new start. People light lanterns to pray for a bumper harvest in the coming
你叫什麼名字？ What’s your name? 對話 Dialogue 馬可：你好！你叫什麼名字？ Make: Nǐ hǎo! Nǐ jiào shénme míngzi? 小實：我叫小實，你呢？ Xiaoshi: Wǒ jiào Xiǎoshí, nǐ ne? 馬可：我叫馬可。 Make: Wǒ jiào Mǎkě. 小實：馬可，你是美國人嗎？ Xiaoshi: Mǎkě, nǐ shì Měiguó rén ma? 馬可：我是美國人，你也是美國人嗎？ Make: Wǒ shì Měiguó rén, nǐ yěshì Měiguó rén ma? 小實：不是，我是臺灣人。很高興認識你。 Xiaoshi: Búshì, wǒ shì Táiwān rén. Hěn gāoxìng rènshì nǐ. 馬可：我也很高興認識你。 Make: Wǒ yě hěn gāoxìng rènshì nǐ. 翻譯 Translation Mark: Hello! What’s your name? Xiaoshi: My name is Xiaoshi, and you? Mark: My name is Mark. Xiaoshi: Mark, are you American? Mark: Yes, I am. Are you American too? Xiaoshi: No, I’m Taiwanese. Nice to meet you. Mark: Nice to meet you too. 單字片語 Vocabulary 1. 叫(jiào) to be called 2. 什麼 (shénme) what 3. 呢 (ne) a (question)
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