Wednesday September 19, 2018

Eating Strawberries Boosts Gut Health, Here’s How

The team found that along with decreased inflammation, a reversal of the unhealthy microbiota pathways in the IBD mice was also observed -- which in turn could lead to the decreased colonic inflammation

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Strawberries
Eat strawberries, improve gut health. Pixabay
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Eating strawberries at a dose equivalent to as low as three quarters of a cup may reduce colonic inflammation and improve gut health, a study has found.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a set of painful conditions that can cause severe diarrhoea and fatigue and the treatment can include medications and surgery.

The findings suggest that the dietary consumption of whole strawberries, significantly suppressed symptoms like weight loss and bloody diarrhoea in mice with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

“The sedentary lifestyle and dietary habits of many people in this country — high-sugar, high-animal fat, but low-fibre diets — may promote colonic inflammation and increase the risk of IBD,” said lead author Hang Xiao from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the US.

The study, to be presented at the 256th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), also found that strawberry treatments diminished inflammatory responses in the mice colonic issue.

strawberries
The findings suggest that the dietary consumption of whole strawberries, significantly suppressed symptoms like weight loss and bloody diarrhoea in mice with inflammatory bowel disease. Pixabay

To establish an effective and practical approach to decrease colonic inflammation in both IBD patients and the general population, the team focused on strawberries due to their wide consumption.

For the study, the researchers used four groups of mice — a group of healthy mice consuming a regular diet, and three groups of mice with IBD consuming a regular diet which had 2.5 per cent whole strawberry powder or a diet with five per cent whole strawberry powder.

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They tried to feed the mice doses of strawberries that would be in line with what a human could reasonably consume.

The team found that along with decreased inflammation, a reversal of the unhealthy microbiota pathways in the IBD mice was also observed — which in turn could lead to the decreased colonic inflammation. (IANS)

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From Radio Signals A Pill Could Tell About Gut Health And Help Doctors

Scientists developed a swallowable capsule to detect bleeding in the digestive tract.

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MIT engineers have designed an ingestable sensor with bacteria programmed to sense environmental conditions and relay the information to an electronic circuit.
MIT engineers have designed an ingestable sensor with bacteria programmed to sense environmental conditions and relay the information to an electronic circuit. VOA

A pill could soon radio signals from inside your gut to help doctors diagnose diseases from ulcers to cancer to inflammation, according to a new study.

Scientists have developed a small, swallowable capsule that mixes synthetic biology and electronics to detect bleeding in the digestive tract.

The system can be adapted for a wide range of medical, environmental and other uses, the researchers say.

The biological part of the pill uses bacteria engineered to glow when exposed to heme, the iron-containing molecule in blood.

The electronic side includes a tiny light detector, computer, chip, battery, and a transmitter that sends data to a cell phone or computer.

“A major challenge for sensing in the GI tract is, the space available for a device is very limited,” said Massachusetts Institute of Technology electrical engineer Phillip Nadeau.

Using very low-power electronics they designed, Nadeau and colleagues fit all the components into a capsule about 3 centimeters long by 1 centimeter wide.

A Microbiologist scientist
A Microbiologist scientist, Pixabay

It’s still a bit big to swallow. But Nadeau says with engineering work it can likely be made about a third that size.

The engineered bacteria are contained in chambers covered by a membrane that lets small molecules in but does not let the organisms out. The researchers say the bacteria can be engineered to die if they accidentally leak from the capsule. Or future models may just use the key enzymes, rather than whole bacteria.

In laboratory tests, the pill successfully distinguished pigs fed small amounts of blood from those not given blood. The capsule has not yet been tested on humans. The team aims to do so in the next year or two.

Since the components are all fairly cheap to manufacture, the researchers speculate that the cost would be in the range of tens to hundreds of dollars.

And they say the same platform could be used to detect markers of a range of illnesses. Or, it could be used to sense chemicals in the environment.

“It’s really exciting, and I think it’s got a lot of legs,” said Rice University bioengineer Jeff Tabor, who was not part of the research team.

But Tabor notes that the sensors may need to be much more sensitive than what was used in the pig tests. He says there may be much less blood in the guts of actual patients than what the pigs were given. Other conditions may have the same limitations.

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“For many actual diseases, you might have far less of the molecule that you need to sense available to you,” he added. (VOA)