Pee brings the world together

Now, you're going to think that I'm totally making this story up and that it's untrue. Well, it's from MSNBC, so you can make your own conclusions there. Anyway, here's the first sentence from the story, "Pee from more than 4,000 volunteers shows that people from different nations often have spectacularly different metabolisms."

And, off we go! Ok, so, I'm trying to visualize the newspaper ad that had to go out on this one: "Seeking pee from people worldwide for research study." And, they got 4,000 people to participate? Fascinating. What did they find? Well, different people from different nations had different metabolites in their urine (no kidding).

"For instance, Chinese and Japanese people are almost identical genetically, which isn't surprising, since they diverged culturally only a few thousand years ago — but they are very different metabolically," said researcher Jeremy Nicholson, a biological chemist at Imperial College London.

"We know there's a huge difference in the diseases that different nations risk — broadly speaking, the Japanese tend to die of strokes, the Chinese of heart attacks — and we see those differences reflected in their urine," he added. "Of course they're different in terms of lifestyle — the Japanese tend to eat more fish than the Chinese as a whole do — but their gut bacteria are also very distinct as well."

Now, why is this important? According to the article, the substances found may help shed light on things like diabetes, vascular diseases, obesity, and even cancer. Sure, that's great. But, I'd hate to be the poor freshman college student asked to do all the grassroots work on this paper. Is getting a published research paper worth it to work with all this urine? I guess so. Wonder what the follow-up research will hold?