Sunday October 22, 2017

Indian Scientists suggest Tweaking Microbial Minions in the intestine to treat Pancreatitis

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Doctors operating on a patient (Representational Image), VOA

Kolkata, May 4, 2017: The gut is the gateway to heath, courtesy the teeming microbial minions. The smarter they are, the better you are.

Indian scientists say tweaking the bacterial milieu in the intestine could be potentially therapeutic in treating chronic pancreatitis, a disease that cripples the body’s ability to digest food and regulate blood sugar and could even lead to diabetes.

Their suggestion is based on the revelation that alteration in gut microbes may be linked to malnutrition and diabetes in chronic pancreatitis (CP) for which there is currently no definitive cure.

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“Whatever treatment is offered to these patients is directed in ameliorating or reducing pain and improving nutritional and glycemic (blood sugar) status,” Rupjyoti Talukdar, Clinicial Pancreatologist and Head of Pancreatic Research at Hyderabad’s Asian Institute of Gastroenterology, told IANS.

Some of the futuristic procedures that could potentially contribute to therapy include administration of “designer” probiotics and faecal transplantation.

“Our recent studies have added a new angle to the disease biology of CP, i.e. alteration of the gut microbiota could contribute to diabetes and malnutrition. Gut microbial manipulation, including ‘designer’ probiotics and faecal transplantation, could be a potential future therapeutic addendum,” Talukdar explained.

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“However, before translating the concept to the clinic, this needs to be stringently tested in clinical trials,” he cautioned.

It sounds incredible but the millions of microscopic bugs in our gut may have a major role to play in the progression of the disease.

Collective human gut micro flora is composed of a staggering 35,000 bacterial species.

A specific concoction of gut microbes is crucial for digestion of foods (such as breaking down complex carbohydrates), key to a normal immune system, fending off diseases and for producing many essential hormones and vitamins that the body cannot produce.

Whether the good ones triumph or the bad ones flourish, this good versus evil story unfolding in your belly determines your overall health.

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In chronic pancreatitis, as the pancreatic tissue is damaged, digestive juices reduce and the undigested fat piles up, things start spiralling south for microbes.

“When there is excess amount of undigested fat in the intestine, there will be a change in the profile of healthy bacteria,” Talukdar explained.

The study noted the reduction in numbers of two crucial bacterial species (F.Aprausnitzii and R. bromii) in individuals with CP. They are among the good bacteria needed to keep the tummy in top shape.

The gut flora is an entire ecological system by itself.

“Therefore by giving the entire intestinal flora in the form of faecal transplantation, the ecology will be maintained. This is important because the different groups of organisms in the intestine are interrelated in distribution and function,” Talukdar said.

Faecal transplant is a real thing and has already found beneficial use in diseases of the intestine, namely, Clostridium difficile diarrhoea, which could result from antibiotic use or other conditions such as ulcerative colitis.

The other futuristic option, Talukdar said could be “personalised” probiotics that would act on specific targets and thereby provide the maximum possible therapeutic benefit to the patient.

Talukdar underscored the importance of dietary interventions, besides therapy.

“It can be done to a certain extent by ensuring adequate fat digestion with pancreatic enzyme supplementation, taking a balanced home-cooked diet without any specific restriction while on enzyme supplementation, and otherwise avoid high fat content in diet so as to prevent accumulation of inadequately digested fat in the intestinal lumen,” he added.

The study, published in March in Nature’s Scientific Reports, is co-authored by Sai Manasa Jandhyala, A. Madhulika, G. Deepika, G. Venkat Rao, D. Nageshwar Reddy, Chivukula Subramanyam and Mitnala Sasikala. (IANS)

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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Beware! Tobacco, Poor Diet, and Mental Disorders are Leading Causes of Poor Health and you may be at Risk too!

According to a new study, deaths from noncommunicable, or chronic, diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes have caused 72 percent of all deaths worldwide

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poor health
A heavyset man rests on a bench in Jackson, Miss. (VOA)

London, September 15, 2017 : Heart disease and tobacco ranked with conflict and violence among the world’s leading cause of poor health and the biggest killers in 2016, while poor diets and mental disorders caused people the greatest poor health, a large international study has found.

The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, published in The Lancet medical journal, found that while life expectancy is increasing, so too are the years people live in poor health. The proportion of life spent being ill is higher in poor countries than in wealthy ones.

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“Death is a powerful motivator, both for individuals and for countries, to address diseases that have been killing us at high rates. But we’ve been much less motivated to address issues leading to illnesses,” said Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, which led the study.

He said a “triad of troubles” — obesity, conflict and mental illness — is emerging as a “stubborn and persistent barrier to active and vigorous lifestyles.”

Diet critical

The IHME-led study, involving more than 2,500 researchers in about 130 countries, found that in 2016, poor diet was associated with nearly one in five deaths worldwide. Tobacco smoking killed 7.1 million people.

ALSO READ Ban on E-Cigarettes May Increase the Risk on the Public Health in India, Warn Experts

Diets low in whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds, fish oils and high in salt were the most common risk factors, contributing to cases of obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol.

The study found that deaths from firearms, conflict and terrorism have increased globally, and that noncommunicable, or chronic, diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes caused 72 percent of all deaths worldwide.

Heart disease was the leading cause of premature death in most regions and killed 9.48 million people globally in 2016.

ALSO READ Eat According to Your Blood Type and See the Benefits Yourself!

Mental illness was found to take a heavy toll on individuals and societies, with 1.1 billion people living with psychological or psychiatric disorders and substance abuse problems in 2016.

Major depressive disorders ranked in the top 10 causes of ill health in all but four countries worldwide.

The GBD is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation global health charity and gives data estimates on 330 diseases, causes of death and injuries in 195 countries and territories. (VOA)

 

 

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Consumption of Dairy Products Changed the Shape of Human Skull: Study

We all know milk makes our bones stronger. But a new study suggests that the consumption of milk and other dairy products did not make skulls of our ancestors stronger or bigger. Read on to know how!

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Human Skull
The diet consumed during one's growing years has a major impact on our bones, jaws and even the face structure. Pixabay.
  • According to a new study, change in Human skull structure could be due to the consumption of a specific diet
  • Researchers believe the practice of chewing altered face structures
  • Skull morphology also varies between people of different genders

New York, August 25, 2017: Do you belong to the category of people who read the label on every food item they purchase? Do you count your calories and keep an account of your daily calorie consumption? Are you the person who religiously reads articles on health and nutrition on the internet? Even if not, this article is going to take you by surprise. What if we tell you that an individual’s diet alters the construction of the human skull?

Having processed food that lacks several important nutrients exposes us to an increased risk of various medical problems like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, etc. However, recent studies have found that the diet you consume, particularly in your growing years, has a major impact on the development of your bones, jaws and even the face structure/human skull!

ALSO READ: Evolution of Human Proboscis: Nose Shape Influenced by Local Climate, say Researchers

A team comprising of David Katz, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Calgary, Professor Tim Weaver and statistician Mark Gote from the University of California-Davis accessed a collection of 559 crania and 534 lower jaws (skull bones) from different corners of the world that ranged from more than a two dozen population from the pre-industrial era. These bones were then studied to analyze the influence that the diet consumed had on the form, size and shape of the human skull during the time man shifted to consumption of agricultural products.

The research found that the advent of farming practices, especially the consumption of dairy products significantly affected the shape of human skull.

The researchers observed modest changes in human skull morphology for groups that were dependent on cereals, dairy, or a combination of the two. This effect was more evident in populations suspected to consume softer foods like cheese.

According to Katz, for the early farmers of the time, “milk did not make for bigger, stronger skull bones.”

Katz found that the primary difference between the skulls of a hunter-gatherer and that of a farmer “are where we would expect to find them, and change in ways we might expect them to.” This he believes, could happen if the demand of chewing decreased within the farming groups.

According to the study, different foods determined how often or how hard one had to chew. The constant movement of the bones in order to properly chew food is what is believed to have altered the shape.

Chewing on hard foods activates bone cells which promote the growth of strong and big jaws. Alternatively, consumption of softer foods like dairy products led to people having smaller jaws with tooth-crowding.

Apart from dietary consumption, the researches claim human skull morphology was also altered by the gender of the people, or between individuals who consumed the same diet but were from different populations.

The study has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


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