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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…

Weight control could be more genetic than previously thought.New studies confirm a genetic mutation that makes people feel full all the time, which may explain why some people are less interested in food and naturally thin. The first study included half a million participants between the ages of 40 and 69. Through DNA samples, medical records, and years of health tracking, scientists identified a genetic alteration in about 6% of the population that mutes appetite and protects against cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The single gene, MC4R, plays a key role in hunger and satiety (the feeling of fullness). During a meal, the gene is turned on to send signals of fullness, and then turns off. The mutation involved in this study occurs when the gene is turned on all the time, therefore the person always feels full. The gene can also play a role in obesity in those who have…

High dietary fiber intake lowers non-communicable disease (namely cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes) risk, and the relationship is causal. The study included all past studies (200+ observational studies and randomized control trials) involving dietary fiber and its relationship to human health. A dietary intake of between 25 and 29 grams of fiber showed the greatest reduction in disease risk. Whole grain fiber was found to have significant disease lowering effects, while the effects of low glycemic index diets on disease risk was not significant. The Lancet →Takeaway: Based on this extensive study, there is direct causal evidence that a diet rich in fiber (between 25 and 30 grams daily) has significant effects on lowering disease risk. Increasing dietary fiber is also one of the most immediate ways to improve microbial health. Scientists who conducted the study recommend three ways to increase dietary fiber: Change food prep methods: keep and consume the…