Explorers speed up the scientific process. Because they are already experimenting with personalized health actions on themselves, they can contribute valuable data to the scientific community. Though there are many settlers who are well-informed about human health, the percentage of informed explorers is greater. By the very virtue of their exploratory adventures in health, explorers have to have some baseline of knowledge. The Power of Poop (PoP) website calls these explorers “e-patients”: people who have gotten tired of waiting on the healthcare system and have taken control of their health care. They get the idea of using the valuable information gleaned from the experiences of past explorers to help them make relatively informed decisions about their health; however, they know that often they are venturing into uncharted territory. PoP claims,
E-Patients like us live in a land of trial and error. The territory we navigate is full of potholes, mud slides, U-turns and detours. There is no GPS. We have often been abandoned by the mainstream medical community. When mainstream treatments fail we have no choice but to undertake our own research and treatments. We are forced to rely on our instincts as if we had been dropped onto a desert island and left to survive. Occasionally we meet others along the journey and may glean ideas, inspiration and comfort. But ultimately it’s a solo journey across uncharted terrain[i].
Though biased towards the power of . . . poop, PoP acknowledges that not all knowledge is helpful especially when taken out of context. Many of the bravest explorers are actually quite dangerous because they have one piece of the puzzle of human health, but that isolated element has very different implications in the holobiont as a whole.
I want to provide explorers with vocabulary and knowledge about current scientific studies, methodologies, and conclusions. We want to encourage explorers to boldly venture into our microbial world and will offer places to continue that adventure in an informed manner. Further, we want to empower settlers to do a little exploration of their own. Anyone can be a citizen scientist. Let’s get into the shit.