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In This Issue
Probiotics Increases Immunity
Science and Medicine News reports that probiotics are often recommended by doctors and nutritionists after a course of antibiotics, or as part of the treatment for gut related candidiasis, a fungal infection. We also know that probiotics may strengthen the immune system to combat allergies, excessive alcohol intake, stress, exposure to toxic substances and other diseases. The immune system's normal response to infection is rapid and effective. However, it may occasionally cause inflammation and damage to healthy tissue.
Liam O'Mahony of University College, Cork (Ireland) is the lead investigator of the new study. He says, "Inflammation is a major factor in a number of chronic diseases affecting millions of people and can cause an unwanted impact on healthy tissue. Inflammation is associated with a wide range of conditions, like bowel disease, arthritis, bacterial-induced colitis, type I diabetes and organ transplantation. Past research has shown that the probiotic Bifidobacterium infantis can positively impact the body's immune defense, and the recent data suggests that its benefits are not restricted to the gastrointestinal tract."
This study appeared in the August issue of the Public Library of Science (PLoS) Pathogens. It examined the effect of Bifidobacterium infantis on immunity to Salmonella, the harmful bacteria that can cause intestinal infections and trigger the body's inflammatory response.
Bifidobacterium infantis, a probiotic strain isolated from healthy human gastrointestinal tract, was administered to mice in freeze-dried powder form at least three weeks prior to salmonella infection. They showed dramatically increased numbers of certain immune cells that control the immune system response to harmful pathogens.
Additionally, data show increased numbers of T-regulatory cells, or cells that suppress inflammatory disease in a wide range of autoimmune diseases. Administration of Bifidobacterium infantis resulted in the induction of these Treg cells, which protected the host from excessive inflammation during the course of infection.
Bifidobacterium infantis is contained in 4 of our probiotic supplements:
Essential Fatty Acids Improve Reading and Spelling
Local Education Authority in Durham, England were concerned that a significant number of pupils underachieved because they have particular problems concentrating and remaining on task. For many, this can lead to difficulties with reading, spelling and other aspects of the curriculum. Pupils can feel isolated within their peer-group and suffer loss of self-esteem. Some students have specific learning difficulties: dyslexia/dyspraxia and although traditional approaches to support these pupils was effective in many cases, some made little progress.
With current research revealing that fatty acid deficiencies may be a factor connecting these learning difficulties, it was possible that for some pupils an improved diet would lead to improvements elsewhere: however overturning the high-carbohydrate heavily- processed diets that children typically consume was going to be a momentous task.
This trial is the largest and most extensive study to look at fatty acids and learning conditions. During the course of 2002, more than 100 children at 12 schools in the county were daily given either active or placebo capsules in a double-blind, randomised format. The main aim of the trial was to look at Dyspraxia and Motor skills, but there were also full assessments for Dyslexia and ADHD. More than 12,000 assessments were undertaken in the course of the year, and reports from parents, teachers and children involved in the study have been encouraging. A complete statistical overview of the study has yet to be released, as analysis of the data is ongoing.
Dramatic results were seen within just 3 months of the trial. The children in the active group supplementing with fatty acids saw significant improvements in reading (9.5 months), spelling (6.5 months) and behaviour, compared to the placebo group where no overall improvement was made.
During the 3-6 month period when the placebo group crossed over to fatty acid supplementation, considerable improvements were shown in the same areas, with an average reading gain of 13.5 months and an average spelling gain at over 6 months. The active group that continued with fatty acid supplementation showed further signs of progress or maintained their improvement.
At the start of the trial, all of the school children were a year behind their chronological age for reading and spelling, but after the trial, the active group who had been on fatty acids throughout the trial made spelling and reading gains over and above their chronological age.
See details of study at Durham Research website.
Bill introduced to create postage stamp dedicated to Crohn's Disease
Gideon Sofer is one step closer to victory in his nine-year campaign to get a U.S. postage stamp dedicated to Crohn's Disease. U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., has introduced a bill that would create the stamp, which could help increase awareness and aid efforts to generate research funding and encourage early diagnosis of the disease.
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