Broccoli may beneficially affect microbiota diversity: Study
University of Illinois
Consuming broccoli may change the diversity and composition of the microbiota in the gastrointestinal tract, says a new study.
Two hundred grams per day of broccoli for 17 days resulted in 37% increase in the proportion of Bacteroidetes relative to Firmicutes, according to data presented at the Experimental Biology meeting in Chicago this week by scientists from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, ARS-USDA, and the National Cancer Institute.
“These novel results reveal that broccoli consumption affects the diversity and composition of the GI microbiota of healthy adults,” they wrote in the FASEB Journal . “These data help fill the gap in knowledge related to the role of bacterial hydrolysis of phytonutrients.
“The increase in Bacteroides spp. is particularly relevant because Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron has been shown in vitro to utilize glucosinolates.”
Acupuncture possible treatment for dental anxiety
University of York
Researchers have found evidence that acupuncture could help people who experience dental anxiety.
Dental anxiety affects up to an estimated 30% of the adult population in countries world-wide. Patients can experience nausea, difficulty breathing and dizziness at the thought of going to the dentist, during an examination, and following treatment.
In a review of six trials with 800 patients, researchers used a points scale to measure anxiety and studies show that anxiety reduced by eight points when dental patients were given acupuncture as a treatment. This level of reduction is considered to be clinically relevant, which means that acupuncture could be a possibility for tackling dental anxiety.
Studies that compared anxiety levels between patients that received acupuncture and those that did not, showed a significant difference in anxiety scores during dental treatment. A clinically relevant reduction in anxiety was found when acupuncture was compared with not receiving acupuncture.
Omega-3 may help protect against adverse cardiovascular effects of pollution
Case Western University
An article published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reported a protective effect for supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids against some of the harmful cardiovascular effects of exposure to air pollution in China.
The randomized, double-blinded trial included 65 healthy college students in Shanghai, China who received 2.5 grams fish oil as a source of omega-3 fatty acids or a placebo daily. During the last two months of the trial, the subjects participated in four health examinations that included blood pressure assessment and measurement of blood markers of inflammation, coagulation, endothelial function, oxidative stress, antioxidant activity, cardiometabolism and neuroendocrine stress response.
Campus levels of fine particulate matter air pollution (PM 2.5) measured during the course of the trial averaged 38 micrograms per cubic meter. The researchers observed greater stability of most biomarker levels in responses to changes in fine particulate matter exposure in the fish oil-treated group in comparison with the placebo group. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation was associated with beneficial effects for five blood biomarkers of inflammation, coagulation, endothelial function, oxidative stress, and neuroendocrine stress response.
Snoring causes injuries and prevention of healing in the upper airways
Umea University (Sweden)
The recurrent vibrations caused by snoring can lead to injuries in the upper airways of people who snore heavily. This in turn, can cause swallowing dysfunction and render individuals more vulnerable for developing the severe condition obstructive sleep apnea. These findings are reported by researchers at Umeå University, Sweden. Their on-going research focuses on the processes behind vibratory damage and healing of the upper airway tract. The data generated will help identify people at high risk of developing sleep apnea and to find novel treatment strategies.
Researchers in Umeå have shown that snorers and sleep apnea patients have neuromuscular injuries in the upper respiratory tract. The injuries can be seen at both the structural and molecular level. Researchers could also observe a correlation between snoring and swallowing dysfunction as well as a relation between nerve damage and obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is characterized by repeated collapse of the upper respiratory tract leading to respiratory arrest during sleep, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The studies show that people who constantly snore heavily and have sleep apnea displayed a loss of nerves and muscle mass in the soft palate. Furthermore, the attempts by the body to heal damaged tissue were disturbed resulting in an abnormal muscle structure. Another interesting finding was that muscle fibres in the soft palate lacked or had a disturbed organization of certain structural proteins. These proteins stabilize the organelles of the muscle cell and support cellular structures related to energy production and muscle fibre contraction.
The researchers also found that a neurotransmitter that is normally associated with healing and regeneration of neurons was present in the muscle cells. This finding suggests that the body is trying to heal the injuries, but the recurrent snoring vibrations prevent proper healing. It becomes a vicious circle where snoring causes damage and at the same time disturb healing of injuries, which can lead to swallowing dysfunction and sleep apnea.
Study: Tai chi can reduce hypertension symptoms in young and middle-aged in-service staff
Zhei-jian Hospital (China)
Researchers from Zhejiang Hospital in China reported that practicing t’ai chi can help with hypertension.
- The treatment group practiced simplified t’ai chi for three months. On the other hand, the control group underwent general daily lifestyle intervention.
- After one month of exercise, the participants who practiced t’ai chi experienced significant reductions in their systolic blood pressure, heart rate, triglycerides, total cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
- At the end of the intervention period, the t’ai chi group experienced substantial decreases in their BMI, heart rate, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, pulse pressure, triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. Practicing t’ai chi also improved their quality of life.
Lemongrass essential oil protects the liver from acetaminophen-induced injury
State University of Maringa (Brazil)
A study published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine found that the essential oil extracted from lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) can protect the liver from damage caused by acetaminophen intake.
- They pretreated mice with 125, 250, or 500 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) of lemongrass essential oil or 200 mg/kg of a standard drug per day for seven days.
- Then, they induced liver toxicity by administering 250 mg/kg dose of acetaminophen.
- The researchers found that pretreatment with lemongrass essential oil significantly reduced the levels of liver disease markers alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP).
- Inflammation in the liver was also reduced by lemongrass essential oil.
- Liver lesions in mice were also improved after pretreatment with lemongrass essential oil.
- Pretreatment with lemongrass essential oil increased antioxidant activity in the liver.