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The role of the human microbiome in otolaryngology–head and neck surgery: A contemporary review

Authors

  • Paul Hong MD,

    Corresponding author
    1. IWK Health Centre, Division of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    2. Department of Pathology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
    • Send correspondence to Dr. Paul Hong, IWK Health Centre, 5850/5980 University Avenue, PO Box 9700, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3K 6R8, Canada. E-mail: Paul.Hong@iwk.nshealth.ca

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  • Cindy M. Liu MD, MPH,

    1. Department of Pathology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
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  • Lora Nordstrom PhD, BSN, CCRC,

    1. Pathogen Genomics Division, Translational Genomics Research Institute, Flagstaff, Arizona, U.S.A.
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  • Anil K. Lalwani MD

    1. Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Columbia University, New York, New York, U.S.A.
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  • This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health (No. 1R15DE021194-01; c.m.l.).

  • The authors have no other funding, financial relationships, or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Abstract

Objectives/Hypothesis

The human microbiome represents the collective genomes and gene products of microbes living within and on humans. The objective of this review is to provide a summary of the current microbiome literature pertaining to otolaryngology–head and neck surgery.

Data Source

Ovid MEDLINE.

Methods

Scientific publications with clinical correlates.

Results

Human microbiome studies have been facilitated by culture-independent, high-throughput sequencing methods. Data from the Human Microbiome Project has shown that the composition of the human microbiome is specific to each body site and that each individual has a unique microbiome. Alterations in the human microbiome are associated with some disease states; thus, novel therapeutic strategies are being developed based on concepts and findings stemming from microbiome research.

Conclusions

Although a growing body of research shows potential significance of the human microbiome for human health and disease, there is a paucity of microbiome studies in otolaryngology. More studies are required to increase our understanding of the indigenous microbiota and their effects on diseases of the head and neck.

Level of Evidence

Laryngoscope, 124:1352–1357, 2014

Ancillary