Editorial from Gail Hecht

Chair of the scientific committee of the 2014 summit

Mounting evidence suggests that particular aspects of human health and disease may be attributable to the trillions of microbes that inhabit our gastrointestinal tract, collectively referred to as the gut microbiota. Consider that the number of unique genes contributed by the gut microbiota is greater than 150-fold that encoded within the human genome.
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The composition of the gut microbiota is complex and in addition to bacteria includes viruses, fungi, protozoa, and Archaea. These organisms contribute not only to each other’s function and survival but humans have evolved to depend on the extended physiology and metabolism that the microbiota provides. The recent realization of the power of the gut microbiome in regulating human health and disease is a major advancement and provides a new potential target for the maintenance of health and prevention and therapy for some human diseases.
Approaches for manipulating the gut microbiome through diet, targeted antibiotic therapy, provision of specific cocktails of select bacteria, and fecal microbiota transplantation for health and disease are under investigation or use. The amount of literature published on this topic is expanding exponentially and includes animal and human studies, many of which rely on complex sequencing technologies and sophisticated bioinformatics analysis. Keeping abreast of this rapidly moving field and realizing how these findings could possibly be extrapolated to the clinical setting is difficult, yet an understanding of the mechanisms and potential clinical applications is imperative. The goal of the Gut Microbiota for Health Summit 2014 is to provide just that.
The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) and the European Society for Neurogastroenterology & Motility (ESNM) have, through a joint scientific committee, organized a robust program targeting not only practitioners, including physicians, physicians’ assistants, nurse practitioners and nurses, dieticians, nutritionists, but also scientists interested in the gut microbiome and its role in health and disease. An international group of thought leaders in this rapidly advancing field will present both plenary session lectures and participate in interactive, discussion-based workshops on relevant topics.

This international event will take place in Miami, FL from March 8-9, 2014.
The meeting has been organized by the American Gastroenterological
Association and made possible by the generous support of Danone.

The meeting program, consists of a plenary session and 6 workshops (day 1) and lectures and conclusions (day 2).

We hope very much that you will join us for this dynamic and important program and look forward to welcoming you to the summit in Miami, FL.

In the meantime, join us on the Gut Microbiota for Health Experts Exchange and follow us on Twitter: @GMFHx - Gut Microbiota for Health by experts, for experts from medical & scientific communities. Brought to you by ESNM.eu.


Gail Hecht, MD, MS

Professor of Medicine; Microbiology/Immunology
Director, Division of Gastroenterology and Nutrition
Loyola University-Chicago