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Oct 11

News: Health Herbal Medicine Research Latest News

News: Health Herbal Medicine Research Latest News

Latest News – For our clients and customers to keep up to date with current health and herbal medicine research and their conditions

  • Gut health affects MEMORY Monday February 19th, 2018

    Latest research on gut health was presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference on Friday

    University of California researchers have shown gut affects sleep and memory
    But each person’s gut needs are very different – some can fare better with ice cream than others

    Some people have a perfect memory, live to 100, never get sick, and eat ice cream without gaining weight.

    New research suggests that could all boil down to their gut health.

    Increasingly, scientists are finding our microbiome – which accounts for 57 percent of cells in our body – affects everything from sleeping patterns to brain health.

    But that doesn’t mean the global population would have a better memory if we all switched to salads and probiotics: some people’s guts are built to thrive off ice cream, while others should stick to plain rice or kale.

    ‘This is changing our view of who we are as humans,’ Dr Rob Knight, professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego, told the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference on Friday.

    Unveiling the latest research, Dr Knight and other leading researchers in the field said it’s becoming clear there is no end to the laundry list of factors that affect gut bacteria – and how those changes affect who we are.

    Everyone has their own unique make-up of bacteria which is affected by a tumult of factors, including how they were born (via a c-section or vaginal birth) and whether they took antibiotics as a child for an ear infection or conjunctivitis, for example.

    As adults, it is affected by what we eat, what we drink, how often we have sex, who we have sex with, where we live, and the air we breathe.


    Dr Rob Knight, co-founder of the American Gut Project, said his team is working on many ‘science fiction’ ideas to revolutionize how we understand our personal gut health.

    He tabled three ideas which he is exploring to work towards:

    A ‘smart toilet’ that examines your fecal matter and offers a live report of ‘how you’re doing’

    A ‘smart mirror’ that gives an analysis of your breath when you breathe on it, much like the cystic fibrosis breath tests available

    An app synced with your smart toilet that could scan grocery items while you’re shopping, and can tell you what you should buy to eat

    One of the most compelling new details is the way bacteria affects the mind in more ways than we ever realized – in particular, our memory.

    ‘We are finding strong evidence of associations between the brain and microbiome,’ Janet Jansson, director of biological science at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington state, said.

    Dr Jansson’s lab has broken ground in this field by showing that they could improve a germ-free mouse’s memory by injecting them with a certain bacteria species called Lactobacillus.

    Analyzing the doctored mice compared with the metabolite composition of control mice, they could see that the ones experiencing better memory had also experienced metabolic changes caused by the Lactobacillus.

    This finding is not easy to translate into practical methods for memory-boosting since each person’s bacteria make-up is so unique.

    Even our own sleeping patterns affect our microbiome – and vice versa, explained Dr Knight, co-founder of the American Gut Project which is analyzing donated fecal samples from 10,000 volunteers.

    His analysis of the citizen data compiled broke down which factors are the most important.

    The most important factor was unequivocally the variety of vegetables we eat, rather than sticking to romaine every lunchtime.

    Next is sleep, having sex and our weight – which all affect different people to varying degrees.

    Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut way to find out if you are an ice cream and sex person or not.

    The only test available to find out what your microbiome needs is only available in Israel.

    But blindly loading up on probiotics and cutting out major food groups in the meantime – because they are tipped as ‘healthy’ – is an ill-advised approach to improving gut health.

    The concept of taking ‘probiotics’ in general is like taking ‘a lot of drugs’ for an illness, then encouraging your friends to take ‘a lot of drugs’ for any illness, he said.

    When it comes to food, he points to a study by the Weizmann Institute in Israel found some people experienced more of a blood sugar surge after eating white bread or rice than they did eating ice cream.

    Dr Knight says that experiment on 800 people, published in 2016, was a major advance in gut research showing those who prescribe to popular diets may not be meeting their gut’s individualized needs.

    But he insists we are making strides in the field, especially since starting the American Gut Project, in understanding that medicating our gut is pivotal to taking control of all kinds of diseases.

    ‘Your gut is not Vegas: what happens in your gut does not stay in your gut,’ he quips.

    Source: Daily Mail

  • Cleaning products linked to poorer lung function Monday February 19th, 2018

    Regular exposure to cleaning products significantly affects lung function, research has suggested.

    The study of 6,000 people by a team from Norway’s University of Bergen, found women appeared to be more badly affected than men.

    They said cleaning chemicals were “unnecessary” and microfiber cloths and water were “enough for most purposes”.

    UK experts said people should keep their homes well ventilated and use liquid cleaners instead of sprays.

    The team looked at data from the European Community Respiratory Health Survey.

    Previous studies have looked at the short-term effect of cleaning chemicals on asthma, but this work looked at the longer term.

    Prof Cecile Svanes, who led the Bergen team, said: “We feared that such chemicals, by steadily causing a little damage to the airways day after day, year after year, might accelerate the rate of lung function decline that occurs with age.”

    Microfiber cloths and water ‘enough’

    Adults in the study, published in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, were followed for more than 20 years.

    Their lung function was measured by looking at how much air people could forcibly breath out – and the amount declined more over the years in women who cleaned.

    The authors suggest the chemicals in cleaning products irritate the mucous membranes that line the airways of the lungs, causing long-term damage.

    No difference was seen between men who cleaned and those who did not.

    The researchers said that could partly be explained by there being far fewer men working as cleaners, but also suggested women might be more susceptible to the chemicals’ effects.

    Oistein Svanes, who also worked on the study, said: “The take-home message is that in the long run cleaning chemicals very likely cause rather substantial damage to your lungs.

    “These chemicals are usually unnecessary; microfiber cloths and water are more than enough for most purposes.”

    Sarah MacFadyen, from the British Lung Foundation said: “Breathing in any kind of air pollution can have an impact on our health, especially for those living with a lung condition.

    “This study further confirms that air pollution can come from a range of sources, including from paints, adhesives and cleaning products we use indoors.

    “Ensuring we keep our homes well ventilated, using liquid cleaners instead of sprays and checking that our cookers and heaters are in good working order will help protect us and prevent everyday products impacting on our lungs.”

    Source: BBC

  • Is There Evidence That Curcumin Benefits Multiple Sclerosis? Monday February 19th, 2018

    Multiple sclerosis is a serious neurological disease with severe symptoms affecting the quality of life. Researchers from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia review what’s known about whether curcumin benefits the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

    Multiple sclerosis, known colloquially as MS, is a degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system. In MS, an abnormal immune response attacks the fatty coating, myelin, around nerve fibers as well as the nerve fibers themselves. This leads to symptoms such as blindness, muscle weakness, and problems with coordination. These neurological symptoms often remain even when the disease is no longer progressing.

    The causes of MS are not perfectly understood, but there are likely both genetic and environmental factors that influence its onset. Although there are some therapies for MS, many of these come at a significant cost, both financially and in terms of toxicity and adverse reactions. As a result, scientists are on the lookout for new potential therapies.

    Medicinal plants have been used both in traditional medicine and as a starting point for modern biomedical treatments. In Neurological Sciences, Qureshi and colleagues reviewed the known curcumin benefits for MS. Curcumin is a yellow chemical produced by plants and gives the turmeric spice its color. It is often used as an herbal supplement as well as in cosmetics and food coloring.

    One of the factors influencing MS progression is oxidation or free radicals. Curcumin acts as an antioxidant. Further, curcumin can reduce inflammation by inhibiting many of the enzymes and factors that lead to the activation of immune responses and inflammation. In addition to these direct effects on inflammation, curcumin can reduce cell death, although the way in which it does this is not well-understood. Together, these factors are responsible for a substantial portion of MS disease progression.

    Although curcumin has potential benefits for the treatment of MS, it is difficult to turn it into a medication. It is not easily available to the body once consumed, it is chemically unstable, and is difficult for the body to absorb. However, curcumin is stable in fatty tissues like myelin and the brain.

    Future research will improve our understanding of curcumin’s effects, and how to turn these known benefits into usable therapies. Clinical studies are already taking place with new formulations of curcumin that may be more easily available to the body.

    Written by C.I. Villamil

    Reference: Qureshi et al. 2017. Neurol Sci. Therapeutic potential of curcumin for multiple sclerosis.

    Source: Medical News Bulletin

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