Sunday, September 30, 2018

Longitudinal analysis of the human "Exposome" shows amazing promise and some scary stuff!

This concept is BIG, has far reaching and hard-to-fathom potential consequences, and is something we should all be thinking about.

I'm not qualified to talk about any of that (it may not stop me) but what about the stuff I do kinda understand? First off -- this is the paper (direct link here)!

What is the Exposome? The authors define it here as "....human airborne environmental biotic and abiotic exposures..." so....the stuff in our air that we're getting exposed to, coming from living things or non-living.

Interested? You should be!

Okay -- so they monitor 15 individuals around the world for up to 2 years. They had a "wearable device" of some kind that collected samples of the stuff they're exposed do. They do a ton of genetics stuff on the people and the samples that are collected (I think. this is a Cell paper, it's like 100 pages and I do have a job).

Now the interesting stuff ---> for the exposure stuff, the samples are ran on a UHPLC coupled Exactive using a cool mixed mode column (to presumably separate both polar and nonpolar compounds well) and -- the details are kind of fuzzy in the methods -- but it appears they ran each sample in positive and negative? or with pos/neg switching with 100,000 resolution.

The data was searched with XCMS and someone on this team is an R fanatic (or epidemiologist -- which might be redundant). I've never seen so many individual packages utilized in a single study -- but the genomics and the geographic data are all statistically tied together and ----

We're exposed to TONS of stuff, both from living and non-living sources. And -- geography plays a huge role. And -- there is some clear looking (though mysterious in their actual meaning) links between what you are exposed to and what is going on in your genetics.

Probably not the right response -- but I am certainly definitely completely not qualified to judge. However, this is a really though-provoking paper in a field where our technologies will obviously be able to help!

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