Probiotics Under Study in Cystic Fibrosis

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A devastating lung disease which strikes in childhood, cystic fibrosis causes recurrent airway infections. Treatment involves copious antibiotics; this leads to disturbed microbial populations. Could probiotics help? A pilot study in Israel  found that probiotics reduced pulmonary exacerbation rates in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). Ten CF patients were supplemented with Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG for six months. This confirms earlier observations from a … Read More

Probiotics for Low Birth Weight Infants

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Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a significant cause of death for low birth weight premature infants. NEC means abdominal distension,  vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and bradycardia; it is reported in 10 to 25% of preterm infants and may affect 1/3 to1/2 of all low birth weight infants. The mortality ranges from 20 to 30% and those who survive have long term complications … Read More

Can Probiotics Help Diabetic Foot Ulcers?

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With the explosion in cases of diabetes (the International Diabetes Federation predicts 1 in 10 worldwide could have diabetes by 2030), complications of this chronic condition will soar. Diabetic foot ulcer is one which requires vigilance and thoughtful care. Delayed wound healing and higher rates of infection can occur and lead to more serious events. Researchers from India and the … Read More

The Uncommon Cold

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  Because it infects adults between two and four times per year, the guilty virus has earned its name as the common cold. What to do? Decongestants and antihistamines may relieve its miserable symptoms including fever, sore throat and stuffy noses.  Zinc and vitamin C have shown some benefit. Of course, antibacterials are useless because colds are caused by viruses, … Read More

After You, Doctor

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For some scientists, the easiest and often best research subjects are those closest. Textbooks are full of lively examples which have led to great discovery. Take the polio vaccine which has eradicated the deadly disease from most countries in the world: Almost two decades before Jonas Salk announced his breakthrough, a research assistant at New York University, Maurice Brodie concocted … Read More

Fermentation in Filipino Foods

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Filipino cuisine offers a delightful menu of fermented dishes, each one as different as the region of the country from which it comes. Fermentation extends the shelf-life of food in this country of nearly 100 million people many of whom live in poverty. But rich they are in probiotic taste treats. A recent paper—access the PDF here—from researchers at the … Read More

Probiotics May Fight Tooth Decay

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  One thing stands out when watching an old movie. Very few actors had perfect teeth. Today most young people in developed countries look as though they just stepped out of Photoshop. Orthodontics of course are widespread. But there is one other thing that is drastically different. Fluoride. This mineral which is added to water supplies—most often in the United … Read More

Probiotics May Change Your Drug Dose

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  Medications affect different people in different ways. Now scientists think that gut microbes and enzymes may be one reason. This review explores mechanisms including biotransformation, bioactivation, and biodegradation as well as up- or down-regulation of the epithelial transporters. These reactions may lead to overdosing or underdosing. Read more about this new thinking here in Current Issues in Molecular Biology. … Read More

Probiotics in Chronic Stress

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Probiotics have been shown to reduce the ill effects of chronic stress on intestinal function. Researchers from the Netherlands wondered if mast cells played a part. In recently published work with rats, they were able to see protective effects of probiotics when mast cells were present.        

Kiwi: The Beauty Inside

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Kiwifruit turns up everywhere these days. Once considered an exotic fruit, this furry brown nugget with brilliant and juicy green flesh dresses many a fruit salad across the globe. No wonder its scientific name is Actinidia deliciosa. It is often called just kiwi but that more accurately describes a flightless bird of New Zealand as well as the self-chosen nickname … Read More