A bacterial cocktail could soon offer a knifeless alternative to gastric bypass surgery.
The gastric bypass limits a person’s food intake by, in effect, reducing the size of the stomach – often to the size of a walnut. The procedure is an effective treatment for obesity and associated diseases such as type 2 diabetes, and typically leads to a loss in excess body weight of between 65 and 75 per cent. However, it carries a high mortality risk, especially in severely obese individuals.
Lee Kaplan at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and colleagues may have discovered an alternative to surgery. The team performed a gastric bypass on mice and then fed microbes from their lower intestine to other healthy mice. The mice fed the bacterial cocktail lost five per cent of their body weight in two weeks, compared with mice on the same diet who had not been fed the bacteria. Continue reading Gut Bacteria swap is alternative to Gastric Bypass Surgery
The amount of salt in our diet could be involved in driving our own immune systems to rebel against us, leading to diseases such as multiple sclerosis, early laboratory findings suggest.
Several teams of scientists have simultaneously published data in the journal Nature suggesting a link.
Salt may activate a part of the immune system which can target the body.
Experts said the findings were very interesting and plausible, but were not a cure for people with MS.
The body’s defence against infection can go horrible awry, turning on the body and leading to autoimmune diseases including Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Continue reading Salt linked to “Immune Rebellion”
WEIGHT gain bugging you? Evidence is mounting for the central role that bacteria play in causing obesity.
Liping Zhao and his team at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China put a morbidly obese man on a diet of whole grains, traditional Chinese medicines, probiotics and non-digestible carbohydrates for 23 weeks. The diet was designed to inhibit the bacteria thought to be associated with weight gain by increasing the pH in the colon.
The 175-kilogram volunteer lost 51 kg, despite not exercising. People who have had weight-loss surgery lose on average 49 kg. Continue reading Gut-microbe swap changes Eating Habits
There’s more to malnutrition than poor diet. Two complementary studies suggest that microbes have an important role to play in both the onset and treatment of a poorly understood form of malnutrition called kwashiorkor.
Malnutrition, the leading cause of death among children worldwide, remains something of a puzzle. It is unclear, for instance, why some children are especially prone to becoming malnourished when siblings they live with appear to fare better.
Now Jeffrey Gordon at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, and his colleagues have found that a child’s risk of malnutrition may come down to the microbes in his or her guts. Continue reading Abnormal gut bacteria linked to severe malnutrition
Concentrated milk fats, a common ingredient of processed foods and confectionery, trigger blooms of otherwise rare gut bacteria in mice that may contribute to inflammatory gut diseases.
The discovery coincides with release of the “microbiome” – the most comprehensive census yet of the species of bacteria that live in and on the human body. By providing an inventory of bugs that live in 18 sites on the body in healthy people, the Human Microbiome Project should enable researchers to explore how disease might result from perturbations to the microbes, similar to those observed in the mice fed milk fat.
Eugene Chang at the University of Chicago and colleagues gave mice milk fat, lard or safflower oil to see how it would alter the spectrum of bugs living in the gut. The mice were genetically engineered to mimic inflammatory bowel disease, unable to make a protein called interleukin 10 which normally damps down inflammation. Continue reading Milk fats – clue to Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Researchers say they have gained a key insight into how zinc helps the immune system fight infection.
A study shows that zinc stops the immune system from spiralling out of control, as happens when people develop sepsis.
The researchers say the findings could also explain why taking zinc supplements at the start of a cold can stem its severity.
It is thought the finding could have implications for other diseases.
Although research has highlighted the importance of zinc for the immune system, because the mineral has many complex roles in the body it is not understood in any detail how it helps fight off infection.
After previous studies in mice, the researchers from Ohio State University had shown that zinc-deficiency could lead to excessive inflammation. Continue reading Zinc “Keeps Immune System in Check”
The report, in the journal PLOS Medicine, analysed genetic data from 21 studies – a total of 42,000 people.
It found every 10% rise in body mass index (BMI) – used as an indicator of body fat – led to a 4% drop of available vitamin D in the body.
As vitamin D is stored in fatty tissue, the authors suggest the larger storage capacity in obese people may prevent it from circulating in the bloodstream.
BMI it is calculated by taking weight (in kilograms) and dividing it by height (in metres) squared. Those with a BMI of 30 or above are considered obese.
Lead author Dr Elina Hypponen, from the University College London Institute of Child Health, said the study “highlights the importance of monitoring and treating vitamin D deficiency in people who are overweight or obese”. Continue reading Obesity can lower vitamin D levels in the body, a study suggests.