Tag

Featured

Browsing

Ever wonder why carrots, romaine lettuce, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and other produce in your local market (whether organic or not), all look and taste the same? It’s all about the seed, and it’s not so good for the health of our bodies or our earth – not to mention our taste buds! New York Times Cutting down on vegetable and fruit variety, while good for the wallets of seed industry leaders, dangerously depletes our nutrient intake, gut bacteria, and soil. Crop varieties are dependent on the seeds used, and with 4 major companies owning 60% of all seeds in the world (50 years ago there were over 1,000 seed companies), as well as an endless list of seed patents and other restrictions, crop diversity is becoming a thing of the past… Or is it? The recently published New York Times article, “Save Our Food. Free the Seed”, brings to light…

Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) receives an FDA safety alert due to adverse reactions in two individuals who underwent FMT and received stool from the same donor. The stool, infected with extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Escherichia coli (E. coli) – a multi-drug resistant organism (MDRO) and therefore very challenging to treat – was administered to two immunocompromised adults, resulting in one death. FDA Takeaway: The FDA identified that more screening is needed throughout the stool donor process, including specific questions addressing risk factors for MDRO stool colonization and rejection for those donors who are at high risk – as well as testing for MDRO colonization in donor stool. FMT is an FDA approved therapy for recurrent C. diff. While research shows that FMT may result in positive improvements for some other conditions – inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), infectious diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and severe antibiotic-associated diarrhea – the…

The placenta could be the surprising reason why so many women get autoimmune diseases – even in women who have never been pregnant. Women are diagnosed with 80% of all autoimmune diseases in the U.S. Humans in hunter-gatherer communities have an average of 8 to 12 children – a stark contrast to today’s U.S. average, which is less than 2 children. During these years of childbearing, the placenta sends signals to the immune system to weaken in order to prevent rejection of the fetus. This constant weakening of immunity could be dangerous for the mother, so it’s hypothesized that other aspects of the female immune system are programmed to ramp up during adulthood to compensate (women actually contain more immunity genes than men, possibly for this very reason). It’s possible that because our bodies have evolved to bear such large numbers of children over hundreds of thousands of years, the…

Does a microbiome exist in utero, or is the environment sterile up to the moment the baby exits the womb? This has been an area of much debate in the scientific community. While some studies show the intrauterine environment to be sterile, others have uncovered bacteria in the uterus and placenta, showing that an intrauterine microbiome does in fact exist. A new review study adds evidence to the idea that if colonized, the intrauterine environment is contaminated. Researchers of the study propose that maternal stress causes a disruption of bacteria in one region of the mother’s body – oral cavity, gut, or vagina – triggering the transfer of bacteria (or what scientists refer to as bacterial translocation) to the intrauterine environment. This transfer of bacteria, scientists believe, may trigger an immune (or inflammatory) response that leads to neurodevelopment insufficiencies in the fetus. Science Direct Takeaway: While we are far from uncovering the truth…

A high level of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) dramatically reduces the risk of getting lung and colorectal cancer (CRC) and significantly increases survival rates. In one of the most diverse retrospective cohort studies, researchers analyzed data from over 49,000 participants with a median age of 54 years. Those with the highest CRF levels (>12 METs, measured using a treadmill stress test) possessed a 77% lower risk of lung cancer and a 61% lower risk of CRC than those with the lowest fitness levels (<6 METs). Participants diagnosed with cancer who were in the highest CRF range prior to diagnosis also saw great benefits. Following diagnosis, those with lung cancer had a 44% lower risk of all-cause mortality and those with CRC, an 89% lower risk, compared to those who were less fit. American Cancer Society Takeaway: Researchers who conducted the study believe that these results act as some of the strongest evidence…

Altering the gut microbiome improves anxiety, but not with probiotics. Researchers analyzed 21 studies, including over 1,500 participants, which looked at altering gut bacteria to improve anxiety. 14 of the studies used probiotic interventions, while 7 of the studies used non-probiotic (or dietary) interventions. Results found that the non-probiotic interventions were significantly more successful in reducing anxiety than probiotic interventions. 45% of the probiotic interventions and 80% of the non-probiotic interventions had positive effects on anxiety. BMJ Takeaway: Researchers say that these results are consistent with the idea that food is the best way to ignite change in the gut microbiome. Secondly, the probiotic studies may have been less successful due to the fact that many of them used multi-strain probiotics, which resulted in differing microbial alterations, as well as a short study period (one to two months), which may not have allowed enough time for the probiotics to take root…

While colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence and mortality rates are decreasing in those 50 years of age and older, CRC in young adults is on the rise. New research sheds light on the differences between early and late onset CRC. Analyzing data from 36,000 patients, a recent study found that younger patients (aged 18 to 29 years) diagnosed with CRC are more likely to have specific genetic mutations and CRC sub-types, while older patients and those with predisposing conditions like inflammatory bowel disease have different clinical and genetic characteristics. Cancer  Takeaway: These very distinct differences in CRC between younger and older patients may affect how the cancer presents itself and may call for different types of treatments. The researchers who conducted the study are hoping for more studies looking at very young CRC patients and those with predisposing conditions. For more on early onset CRC, check out Did You Know – Colorectal Screening Age…

Probiotics significantly improve chemotherapy-induced diarrhea, a common and often severe side effect of chemotherapy drugs, which can threaten the effectiveness of treatment. The study included 291 patients undergoing chemotherapy (Fluropyrimidines and/or Irinotecan specifically) -145 participants received a twice-daily dose of a high potency probiotic powder and 146 participants received a placebo powder twice daily. Treatment began 14 days before chemotherapy and continued 2 weeks following the third cycle of chemo. Results showed successful reduction in incidence of diarrhea (mild to moderate) and in patient inflammatory patterns. European Society for Medical Oncology  Takeaway: This study shows promising results from a high potency, multi-strain probiotic in reducing diarrhea in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. Hopefully this will result in a better quality of life, a more balanced microbiome, reduction in sickness and death related to diarrhea, and more effective cancer treatment. However, probiotics are living organisms and can be problematic in immunocompromised patients, including some cancer…

Antibiotic therapy disrupts the gut microbiome and results in a pro-inflammatory response that negatively affects bone health. Previous studies have uncovered the direct relationship between a balanced microbiome and healthy bone development. A February 2019 study took this relationship further and investigated the use of a broad-spectrum antibiotic in mice to determine if there were any microbiome-mediated alterations in skeletal formation on a cellular level. After administering antibiotic therapy during the post-puberty phase (this phase is responsible for 40% of our bone accumulation), researchers found that the antibiotics led to significant disruptions in gut bacteria that altered the communication between immune cells and bone cells. These alterations led to substantial changes to trabecular bone – the bone type that experiences high rates of bone metabolism. The American Journal of Pathology  Takeaway: Antibiotics, especially broad-spectrum ones, significantly alter the gut microbiome, which may have negative and lasting effects on skeletal health. Researchers hope to conduct…

Stool transplantation proves effective in reducing autism symptoms by nearly 50% two years post transplant. A recent study conducted a special type of fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) known as Microbiota Transfer Therapy (MTT – a 10-week treatment process in which a stool transplant is performed daily for 7 to 8 weeks) and found that initial gut improvements (58% reduction in GI symptoms) as well as slow and steady positive changes in autism-related symptoms (language, social interaction, and behavior – quantified at a 45% reduction in overall symptoms) are lasting, even two years after the date of transplantation. Improvements in positive microbial markers, as well as increases in favorable species and diversity, also remained for the two years post transplant. Scientific Reports Takeaway: Today, approximately 1 in 59 children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), an exponential increase from 1 in every 150 in 2000. Despite such a weighty percentage of…