exposome, invisible cloud

Many people have heard of the microbiota in our digestive tracts. This collection of bacteria, viruses and fungi live together inside us and impact our health. It is sometimes referred to as the “microbiome” because the members are identified by analysis of their genomes. We now know that a similar microbiota inhabits our skin, our lungs, our genitals and even our brains. Do we have an invisible cloud of microscopic living things in the air surrounding us?

Tracking Your Invisible Cloud:

Researchers at Stanford University have just reported an invisible cloud in the air around each of us (Cell, Sept 20, 2018). This cloud, which moves with us and changes over space and time, contains more than the microbiome. To learn about it, the scientists first developed a device about as big as a pack of cards. It sampled and analyzed the air in an individual’s vicinity for time frames from a week to a month.

Fifteen volunteers utilized the invisible cloud devices for this study. As a result, the investigators discovered that each person’s unique exposome contains volatile compounds such as insecticides or essential oils as well as bacteria, fungi, viruses and pollen.

Even people who spent a lot of time hanging out together had a different set of components in their exposome. Significantly, some of the exposures appear related to allergies and other health problems.

The authors conclude:

“Overall, we demonstrate that human exposomes are diverse, dynamic, spatiotemporally-driven interaction networks with the potential to impact human health.”

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  1. Chris N.
    Minneapolis, MN

    Sounds like a very subtle physical manifestation that is a result of the human aura.

    The human aura is also “invisible”, but under some circumstances it is possible to “see” it, or perhaps some “reflection” of it.

    While the material can be detected, I have doubts that the proper image is a “cloud”. To confirm that image, one would need a large number of sensors around the body at different distances.

    And it’s possible the effect observed could be better attributed to static electricity and not the human aura. But perhaps there is a connection between the two of them as well.

  2. Marie

    A friend of mine who worked in hospice for 7 years said that she got to the point when she could sense a change in the aura of a person so that she knew when that person was about to die.

  3. Eliza

    If we all have this “aura” around us that can be measured by a machine, isn’t it likely that we can perceive or sense some aspects of this feature in others we interact with? It would imply that intuitive or subconscious perceptions we have of others is really sensing biological differences. Very interesting!

    • Ann

      I agree! This may be what dogs and other animals detect as well. Is this the gateway to understanding “phychics”?

  4. Betty
    Dane County WI

    This is exciting, but I sure want to read more before I think I learned something.

  5. Roxy

    What do these measuring devices look like? Are they worn on the wrist? How do they work? What will be their impact for the future? Can they help a person in developing better health? Could this unique aura someday be used to solve crimes, such as DNA is? I tried looking up more information, but the articles I found are very vague, or they mostly just talk about gut microbes.

  6. Nancy Z

    My first thought was: Could this be related in some way to why some animals (such as certain cats) are reportedly able to sense people who are close to death?

  7. peejmeister
    lucas, tx

    Is this study meant to imply that we collect our own unique mix of atmosphere over time and drag it around with us or is there also an element of ourselves that is added to and exists within these personal clouds?

  8. Sara
    Tampa Bay, FL

    This is very interesting! I can’t wait to hear more about it.

  9. Gary
    Long Grove, IL

    Maybe Charles Schultz knew this, when he drew his “Peanuts” character, Pigpen.

  10. Jeannette

    This is a fascinating area of research which I have (in a layman’s sense) pondered. Such microbiomes will likely also have responses to their ‘hosts’ emotional states – it is thought that microbes themselves can actually change your mood so as mood affects health this research could lead to far more natural ways of improving human health.

    It will forever remain too complex (given the dynamic nature) to evolve very precise ways of treating health conditions but we are already learning about foods etc that can in boost general health. It is also nice to think that because the microbiome is so individual that it will be up to each individual (trial and error) to see what works for them.

  11. Charles

    Are there benefits in mixing your cloud with your spouse in close relations?

  12. Debz

    Maybe the exposome also intertwines with our aura. I can see how our exhaled nitrogen, any belches, teeth health and remnants of recent diet could easily follow us. Possibly artificial grooming product residue, the bacteria and acquired virus that may cling to our skin most certainly would be in a constant state of shed. Raising three now grown sons and claiming their spouses as my own has highlighted the significant robustness of each of their state of general health, too.

    Some seem to catch every “bug” around and others seem able to ward off any disease circulating throughout their household. I wonder if this discovery will cause some to refrain from close contact with others such as hugging, etc. I’m interested to learn more of the conclusions of the study.

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