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The intake of probiotics may prevent depression

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The intake of probiotics may prevent depression
The intake of probiotics may prevent depression. wikimedia commons
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London, Dec 27, 2017: Besides keeping your gut healthy, consuming a diet rich in probiotics – also called as “good” or “helpful” bacteria — may help protect against depression, finds a mice study.

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for health, especially the digestive system.

The findings showed that rats which lived solely on the fatty diet were found to develop behaviour similar to depression, while the rats receiving the probiotics-enriched drinking water remained neutral in their behaviour.

Further, the rats that did not receive probiotics had an increased number of white blood cells in their brain tissue, which can be a sign of chronic inflammation, and is also seen in the fatty tissues and livers of overweight people and diabetics.

Conversely, these cells were found decreased in the brains of the rats with probiotics in their drinking water.

“This may indicate that one of the things the probiotics do is work to reprogramme the immune system. In this study, the rats offset the consequences of the fatty diet with the help of probiotics, so that they were on par with their peers in the control group,” Anders Abildgaard, researcher at the Aarhus University in Denmark.

“This is a fascinating discovery that supports the conclusion that probiotics, which primarily work in the intestines, also affect the brain. That makes the result interesting for the treatment of depression,” Abildgaard added.

In the study, published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, the rats were divided into groups and were fed an extra fatty and fibreless diet, while the other group drank water with probiotics.

After 12 weeks, the researchers observed that the rats on the fatty compound feed without probiotics behaved more depressively when they were given a swimming test.

Although it is difficult to say whether the results can be transferred to people with depression, it is possible to imagine some of the people who suffer from depression benefiting from probiotics, Abildgaard said. (IANS)

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How gut bacteria, broccoli can help keep colorectal cancer away

Researchers have developed a cocktail of bacteria and cruciferous vegetables that can potentially turn into a targeting system that seeks out and kills colorectal cancer cells.

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Using genetic techniques, scientists engineered the bacteria into a probiotic. Wikimedia Commons
  • Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide.
  • The broccoli extracts can now be used to reduce the tumour size and terminate cancer.
  • Scientists have created a probiotic which will get cancer cells to kill themselves.

Researchers have developed a cocktail of bacteria and cruciferous vegetables that can potentially turn into a targeting system that seeks out and kills colorectal cancer cells.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide, after lung and prostate cancer.

Although the 5-year survival rates for earlier stages of this cancer are relatively good, at later stages survival goes down and the risk of cancer recurrence goes up considerably.

Broccoli can help reduce bowel cancer.
Broccoli can help reduce bowel cancer.

Thus researchers, from the National University of Singapore, developed a mixture of engineered probiotics with a broccoli extract or water containing the dietary substance.

This mixture killed more than 95 percent of colorectal cancer cells in a dish.

Further, the probiotics-veggie combination also reduced tumour numbers by 75 percent in mice with colorectal cancer.

However, the mixture had no effect on cells from other types of cancer such as breast and stomach cancer.

These probiotics could be used as prevention and to clean up the cancer cells remaining after surgical removal of tumours, the researchers said.

“One day, colorectal cancer patients may be able to take the probiotics as a dietary supplement along with broccoli to prevent colorectal cancer or to reduce recurrence after cancer surgery,” said lead author Chun-Loong Ho from the varsity.

Broccoli when used as a dietary supplement can help reduce the risk of cancer. Image source: huffingtonpost.ca
Broccoli, when used as a dietary supplement, can help reduce the risk of cancer. Image source: huffingtonpost.ca

For the study, published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, the team developed a cancer-targeting system by engineering a form of E.coli Nissle — a harmless type of bacteria found in the gut.

Then using genetic techniques, they engineered the bacteria into a probiotic that attached to the surface of colorectal cancer cells and secreted an enzyme to convert a substance found in broccoli, into a potent anticancer agent.

The idea was for the cancer cells in the vicinity to take up this anticancer agent and be killed. IANS

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