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Stress levels may be a key factor in determining who suffers from severe COVID-19 and could potentially help measure who is at an increased risk of mortality. In a study conducted in London, researchers took the cortisol levels within 48 hours of hospital admittance in suspected COVID patients. Those who did not have COVID became the control group. Of the suspected patients admitted, 403 patients were found to have COVID. After analyzing the results, researchers found that the mean cortisol levels in COVID patients was 619 nmol/L versus 519 nmol/L in non-COVID patients. In addition, in patients with higher cortisol levels, a 43% increase in mortality was observed. Those with cortisol levels greater than 744 nmol/L had a median survival of 15 days versus 36 days in those with cortisol levels less than 744 nmol/L. MedRxIV Takeaway: Researchers noted that stress levels observed in some COVID patients were higher than…

Eating more of your calories during the first half of your day could mean a lower risk of mortality from diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD). A recent study found that if those with diabetes and cardiovascular disease make a small adjustment to the amount of food they eat in the second half of the day – moving just 5% of total calorie intake from dinner to breakfast – mortality risk from their disease significantly decreases. Researchers conducted an observational study in approximately 4,700 adults with diabetes and looked at energy and macronutrient intake using a 24-hour dietary recall over 2 back-to-back days. When looking at the relationship between mortality (including mortality from diabetes, CVD, and all causes) and energy consumption throughout the day, the scientists found that those who consumed the highest amount of their calories for dinner were almost twice as likely to die from diabetes and 69% more…

What causes animals (or humans) with identical genetic codes, gut microbes, and germ exposure to survive the same pathogen (and pathogen dosage), while another dies? Could the answer lie in manipulating the body to tolerate disease as opposed to fighting it? This is a theme that has received lots of attention in the last five years, and one worth discussing, especially in the midst of the pandemic. An article published in The Scientist in June 2019 highlighted a series of rodent studies that investigated this phenomenon. One study in particular showed that providing nutrients for the host when pathogens invade the body could help in maximizing host health and survival. Researchers infected a group of mice (all were identical in terms of genetic code, microbial makeup, diet, and environment) with a pathogenic bacterium, Citrobacter rodentium. Exposure was kept constant across all mice, and pathogenic bacteria levels were identical in the gut…

“As researchers continue to study the microbiome, it’s clear that our gut is a powerful tool in disease prevention and treatment. How can understanding the microbiome influence the way we eat and nourish our bodies? Is our gut the missing link to using food as medicine? This panel features preeminent researchers, scientists, and entrepreneurs who are leading this breakthrough area of science.” (Milken Institute: Future of Health Summit) Watch Dr. Chutkan, as she acts as moderator for the panel, Gut Feeling: Food, Microbiome, & Disease Prevention, that took place at this year’s Milken Institute: Future of Health Summit. Speakers include: Mark Hyman Head of Strategy and Innovation, Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine Rob Knight Professor, Departments of Pediatrics, Bioengineering, and Computer Science & Engineering, University of California, San Diego David Perlmutter Executive Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs and Dean, Washington University School of Medicine Karen Sandell Sfanos Associate Professor,…

Increased antibiotic use is associated with an increased risk for hospitalization. The study looked at primary care medical records linked to hospital admissions in 1.8 million patients from 2000 to 2016, and analyzed those who had received systemic antibiotics. Infections of interest included urinary tract, ear, and respiratory (those with more serious chronic conditions like cystic fibrosis and chronic lung disease were excluded from the study). The results showed that the more antibiotics a patient was prescribed, the more likely they were to be hospitalized for a subsequent infection in 3 or more months. Those with 9 or more antibiotic prescriptions were 2.26 times more likely to be hospitalized, while those with 5 to 8, 3 or 4, and 2 antibiotic prescriptions were 1.77, 1.33, and 1.23 more likely, respectively. BMC Medicine Takeaway: Researchers who conducted the study claim that the overuse of antibiotics for common infections is “unproven –…

A first study of its kind shows that gut microbes could predict how seriously ill a Covid-19 patient might become. In the hopes to identify why some individuals with COVID-19 fare better than others, researchers created a risk score based on blood biomarkers found in severe COVID-19 patients. Scientists found that these biomarkers are linked closely with a core set of gut microbiome characteristics, as well as with increased inflammatory cytokines. COVID-19 is linked closely to the gut. As the virus enters the body, it binds to ACE2 enzymes, which play a large role in regulating intestinal inflammation and gut microbe make-up. COVID-19 patients who experience GI symptoms (diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting) also tend to suffer from a more severe state of the disease, so it makes sense that the gut microbiome and disease severity are strongly associated. MedRxiv Takeaway: Scientists who conducted the research concluded that based on the…

A new study looking at a non-invasive blood assay method to detect early colorectal cancer (CRC) could eventually mean the end of regular colonoscopy for CRC screening. The test capitalizes on new, more sensitive methods to detect circulating cells in the blood and looks at three blood markers: circulating gastrointestinal epithelial cells, somatic mutations and methylation of cell-free DNA. Researchers tested the assay in 354 patients who were already scheduled for their regular screening colonoscopy with no previous CRC diagnosis – 14% of patients had experienced symptoms or a positive fecal immunochemical test and 86% were asymptomatic. When compared to findings during colonoscopy, the blood test proved a sensitivity (true positives) of 100% for detecting CRC and 76% for detecting advanced adenomas (pre-cancerous polyps). Takeaway: Colonoscopy has the ability to look for pre-cancerous polyps as well as remove them, but it’s invasive nature and the requirement for sedation make it…

New research shows that excessive weight is a main determining factor in who experiences complications from COVID-19 and who doesn’t. COVID-19 complications are heavily defined by respiratory symptoms – specifically acute respiratory failure and acute respiratory distress syndrome – that can be driven by characteristics common in obese individuals, including chronic, low-grade inflammation and hyperventilation (breathing at an abnormally high rate). A March study conducted across 14 states found that approximately 48.3% of those hospitalized for COVID-19 were obese. A second study found that BMI was strongly associated with the severity of disease; as BMI increased, so did the likelihood of being admitted to critical care. A third study also found that those with obesity were significantly more likely to need mechanical ventilators for care. While the respiratory capacity of excessively overweight individuals is compromised, putting them at a greater risk for COVID-19 complications, the underlying inflammation that is ever-present…

In this webinar with Dr. Chutkan, hosted by Our Health Talks, you will learn the following: How Dr. Chutkan’s “Live Dirty, Eat Clean” mantra applies to health todayDr. Chutkan’s produce-cleaning regimeHallmark foods in a “clean eating” dietRisk of antibioticsDoes having a GI issue make someone more susceptible to contracting illness? Explaining IBS vs. IBDCan nature exposure and sunlight help in combating the spread of COVID-19? What are some self-care practices that you using right now? How is the practice of medicine going to change after all this?Do you think it’s a good idea to increase dosage of probiotic supplements right now? Are you recommending prebiotics in conjunction with probiotics?Is sourdough considered a healthful fermented food?What is the role of hand sanitizers in the COVID-19 battle?How are you staying educated on our understanding of the disease right now? How do you think we could better prepare for the next time something…