Posts tagged with "News-Medical"

Going vegan lowers risk of urinary tract infection

February 3, 2020

Ditching meat and going vegan may reduce your risk of suffering from a urinary tract infection (UTI), a new study conducted at Tzu Chi University in Taiwan has found.

Indeed, according to a report by News Medical, urinary tract infections (UTIs) are most often caused caused by bacteria, such as Escherichia coli (E.coli)— which is normally found in the gut, but enters the urinary tract through the urethra.

Past studies have established that meat is a major reservoir for the E. coli strains that cause UTI, but it researchers could not confirm that avoiding eating meat could lower UTI risk. The latest study, published in the journal, Scientific Reports, found that vegetarians have a lower incidence of UTIs than those who eat meat.

To arrive at their findings, the team assessed the incidence of UTIs in more than 9,700 Buddhists in Taiwan, all of whom participated in the Tzu Chi Vegetarian Study, which looked at the connection between a vegetarian diet and chronic degenerative diseases. The researchers followed the participants for ten years—and found that vegans were 16% less likely to develop a UTI than their meat-eating counterparts, News Medical reports.

The team used a 57-item food frequency questionnaire to assess the patients’ dietary habits. After analyzing the diets of men and women separately, the team found that the reduced risk of UTI associated with a vegetarian diet was greater in men than in women. However, women are far more likely to be burdened with cystitis generally. The overall UTI risk for men was 79% lower than for women, regardless of diet.  

Overall, women were 18% less likely to develop UTI if they went vegan.

Research contact: @NewsMedical

The inside track: Gut microbes may alter the aging process, study finds

December 10, 2019

The unseen, microbial lives that we foster inside our intestinal tracks may affect our individual life expectancy, according to a new study featured on News-Medical.

An international research team from the United Kingdom, Australia, and Singapore–led by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore)—has found that microorganisms living in the gut may alter the aging process, which could lead to the development of food-based treatment to slow it down.

All living organisms, including human beings, coexist with a myriad of microbial species living in and on them, and research has established their important role in nutrition, physiology, metabolism, and behavior.

For the most recent study, a team led by Professor Sven Pettersson of the NTU Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine transplanted gut microbes from two-year-old mice into much younger, six-week-old germ-free mice. After eight weeks, the younger mice had increased intestinal growth and production of neurons in the brain, known as neurogenesis.

The team showed that the increased neurogenesis was due to an enrichment of gut microbes that produce a specific short chain fatty acid, called butyrate, News-Medical reported.

Butyrate is produced through microbial fermentation of dietary fibers in the lower intestinal tract and stimulates production of a pro-longevity hormone called FGF21, which plays an important role in regulating the body’s energy and metabolism. As we age, butyrate production is reduced.

The researchers then showed that giving butyrate on its own to the young germ-free mice had the same adult neurogenesis effects, noting: These results will lead us to explore whether butyrate might support repair and rebuilding in situations like stroke [and] spinal damage, [as well as] to attenuate accelerated aging and cognitive decline.”

Pettersson commented, “We can conceive of future human studies where we would test the ability of food products with butyrate to support healthy aging and adult neurogenesis.”.

He added, “In Singapore, with its strong food culture, exploring the use of food to ‘heal’ ourselves, would be an intriguing next step, and the results could be important in Singapore’s quest to support healthy aging for their silver generation”.

Group leader Dr, Dario Riccardo Valenzano at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Germany, who was not involved in the study, said the discovery is a milestone in research on microbiome.

“These results are exciting and raise several new open questions for both biology of aging and microbiome research, including whether there is an active acquisition of butyrate-producing microbes during mice life and whether extreme aging leads to a loss of this fundamental microbial community, which may be eventually responsible for dysbiosis and age-related dysfunctions,” he added.

The study was published in the journal, Science Translational Medicine, on November 13.

Research contact: @NewsMedical

Scientists link anxiety disorders to seasonal allergies

May 29, 2019

Seasonal allergies to different types of grass or tree pollen are more common in people with anxiety disorders, while patients with depression are more likely to suffer from perennial allergies triggered by animal dander or dust mites. These are the findings of a recent study conducted at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), reports.

Conversely, food and drug allergies do not seem to be triggered by psychosocial disorders.

The research team—led by Claudia Traidl-Hoffmann, director of the University Center for Health Sciences at University Hospital Augsburg (UNIKA-T) and professor of Environmental Medicine at TUM— interviewed over 1,700 people from the Augsburg area of Germany about their allergies. The study respondents answered questions both about their allergies and about their psychological health. The focus here was on depression, generalized anxiety disorders—which affect all aspects of daily life—and acute mental stress.

About one- quarter of those surveyed (27.4%) stated that they suffered from allergies, with 7.7% reporting perennial; 6.1%, seasonal; and 13.6%, other forms of allergic reactions.

The researchers found that people with generalized anxiety disorders also suffered more often from pollen allergies, but not from year-round allergies. Statistically, these were actually less frequent in the group of anxiety sufferers. A possible explanation for this might be that people with persistent allergies develop different coping strategies to deal with stress, which protect them from anxiety disorders.

On the other hand, there was a positive correlation between perennial allergies and depression or depressive episodes.

However, the structure of the study did not allow for clarification of whether allergies increase susceptibility to depression or whether depression itself is a risk factor for allergies. What surprised the research team was the fact that psychological factors had little, if any, influence on the occurrence of food and drug allergies.

Possible mitigating factors that could compromise causal relationships were statistically excluded in this study. These included age, smoking/non-smoking status, gender, and family predispositions (e.g. to allergic asthma).

According to Professor Traidl-Hoffmann, what this study particularly underscores is the importance of devoting sufficient time to patients. This is the only way to complement clinical evaluations with psychosocial aspects to support an integrated therapeutic approach.

The study has been published in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology.

Research contact: @TU_Muenchen