Thursday, April 02, 2015

I’m rich!

The uBiome blog posts the results of a large (n>500) study of their users that shows a fascinating relationship between household income and a large change in a particular bacterium, the non-pathogenic Genus 713, actinobacillus. Their number crunching shows that wealthy people are far less likely to have this organism in their guts. For the statistically-minded, it’s a p-value of 0.00001 – as near to scientific certainty as you can get. If you have it, you’re poor. If not, you’re wealthy.

Obviously upon hearing this my first step was to check my own uBiome results to see if I have any actinobacillus (which, incidentally, was first isolated from the respiratory tracts of pigs).

Answer: no!  My latest sample shows no Genus 713!  I must be rich!

But wait, I did have a smidge (under 0.0008%) in the sample I submitted last May. Fortunately it cleared up by the following month and I’ve been Genus 713-free ever since! Obviously my microbiome is responding in advance to the large jackpot it knows I’ll be receiving any day now.

Now that science has demonstrated my wealth with such certainty, I am feeling extra generous today. Instead of money, I’ll share this comic (from the always excellent XKCD) which explains why they found this unassailable correlation between wealth and the microbiome: