Saturday January 25, 2020

Gut Infections may Increase Risk of Developing IBS: Study

Here's how a gut infection may produce chronic symptoms

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IBS
In many cases, a bit of intestinal distress like traveler's diarrhea leads to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Pixabay

For some people, a bout of intestinal distress like traveler’s diarrhea leads to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Recent discoveries have given researchers a better idea of how this happens, and potential leads for new treatments.

Scientists aren’t sure exactly how this happens, but some think an infection may contribute to IBS by damaging the gut nervous system.

The study, published in the journal Cell, takes a close look at why neurons in the gut die and how the immune system normally protects them.

The research from Rockefeller University on mice offers insight into IBS, a chronic inflammation of the intestinal tract and could point to potential new treatment approaches.

IBS
IBS is a chronic inflammation of the intestinal tract. Wikimedia Commons

According to the researchers, in a healthy gut, the immune system must strike a careful balance between responding to threats and keeping that response in check to avoid damage.

“Inflammation helps the gut ward off an infection, but too much of it can cause lasting harm,” said study researcher Daniel Mucida, Associate Professor at Rockefeller University in the US.

“Our work explores the complex mechanisms that prevent inflammatory responses from destroying neurons,” Mucida added.

To understand the effects of an infection on the nervous system, the research team gave mice a weakened form of Salmonella, a bacterium that causes food poisoning, and analysed neurons within the intestine.

They found that infection induced a long-lasting reduction of neurons, an effect they attributed to the fact these cells express two genes, Nlrp6 and Caspase 11, which can contribute to a specific type of inflammatory response.

This response, in turn, can ultimately prompt the cells to undergo a form of programmed cell death.

IBS
An infection may contribute to IBS by damaging the gut nervous system. Pixabay

When the researchers manipulated mice to eliminate these genes specifically in neurons, they saw a decrease in the number of neurons expiring.

“This mechanism of cell death has been documented in other types of cells, but never before in neurons,” said study researcher Fanny Matheis.

“We believe these gut neurons may be the only ones to die this way,” Matheis added.

It’s not yet clear exactly how inflammation causes neurons to commit cell suicide, yet the researchers already have clues suggesting it might be possible to interfere with the process.

The key may be a specialised set of gut immune cells, known as muscularis macrophages.

Previous work in Mucida’s lab has shown that these cells express inflammation-fighting genes and collaborate with the neurons to keep food moving through the digestive tract.

If these neurons die off, as happens in an infection, a possible result is constipation — one of a number of unpleasant IBS symptoms.

In their recent report, the team demonstrated how macrophages come to the neurons’ aid during an infection, ameliorating this aspect of the disorder.

Their experiments revealed that macrophages possess a certain type of receptor molecule that receives stress signals released by another set of neurons in response to an infection.

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Once activated, this receptor prompts the macrophage to produce molecules called polyamines, which the researchers think might interfere with the cell death process.

In other experiments, the researchers found that Salmonella infection alters the community of microbes within the guts of mice — and when they restored the animals’ intestinal flora back to normal, the neurons recovered. (IANS)

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Top Tips to Personalize Your Fitness Routine

Find a personalised exercise routine for your body

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Fitness
With so many options available in the fitness space, finding the one right for you can be a task. Pixabay

With so many options available in the health, lifestyle fitness space, finding the one right for you can be a task.

Amaresh Ojha, CEO and Founder, Gympik shares his top tips.

1. Assess your fitness level- To assess your fitness progress, calculating the number of beats of your resting heart rate (RHR) is a beneficial way. The RHR should reduce as your fitness improves.

To calculate your RHR, place two fingers on your wrist (radial artery), and then count the number of heart beats you feel in a period of 60 seconds. Make sure to count the first beat as ezero’.

More than 101 is unusually high and not good. Between 81 and 100 is high, but acceptable, between 61 and 80 is average and 60 or less is good.

Fitness
Assessing your fitness level can be very helpful. Pixabay

2. Choose what form of exercise works best for you- While any type of physical activity is beneficial for you, different physical activities present different results.

Yoga is a discipline that focuses on breathing methods, meditation, and physical postures. It has a low-impact structure and hence is gentler on the joints. Yoga helps in improving muscle endurance, flexibility and body balance.

Zumba is an amalgamation of both fast and slow dancing, so it works on your whole body, helping you to lose weight and tone every muscle group, predominantly your back and abdominals. It also improves your posture, balance and flexibility. So, if you wish to develop a flamboyant body shape along with enhancing your dance moves, Zumba will be the right choice for you. One concern with this exercise form is that the best result for Zumba comes while working out in groups, so you will have to join a Zumba class to get the best out of this exercise form.

Pilates is largely focused with core strength. It improves muscle tone and strength along with obtaining a leaner look. This exercise form promotes balanced muscle development, flexibility and helps you in gaining a beautiful posture. Hence, the gateway to a graceful personality is through regular Pilates workout. One disadvantage of this type of exercise form is that it misses out on cardio, so it’s not very effective for steady weight loss.

Walking is one of the best exercises that must be an integral part of your fitness schedule. Regular brisk walk can help in preventing heart diseases and managing high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes along with improving the mood. No matter how many hours you spend in the gym, walking is the best way to lose weight and stay healthy. This is one of the exercise forms that can be practised by all.

Cycling is an activity that is gentle on the joints. It burns fat and improves your cardiovascular health. If you wish to increase your stamina and at the same time tone up your muscles, cycling is the best way of doing so. You can easily make it a part of your routine by building it in your day as a means of transport.

Fitness
Consult with your doctor before incorporating a fitness routine in your lifestyle. Pixabay

3. E-Fitness learning platforms can help you analyse the pros and cons of any form of exercise and you can choose the correct type of exercise for yourself once you know the benefits of each type. There are several E-Fitness channels that you can subscribe to and work with a virtual instructor, who will guide you through your fitness journey.

4. Exercise safe and focus on the health concerns. Pre-exercise screening will help you to identify any medical conditions that may put you at a higher risk of enduring a health issue during physical activity. Consult with your doctor before incorporating a fitness routine in your lifestyle. Certain exercises like running on the treadmill, sprinting, heavy weightlifting etc. can prove injurious for heart patients. Similarly, certain breathing exercises in Yoga can prove harmful for asthmatic patients.

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While there are several options available, the most important thing to keep in mind is to choose an exercise that you find fun and can stick to for the long haul. Choose from your preferences and make your exercise time fun. Do you wish to spend time indoors or outdoors? Alone or with friends/people?

If you choose an activity that seems like a burden after some time, you are more likely to abandon a healthy lifestyle. (IANS)