August 2009 Newsletter

 Probiotics Research Endorses 4 Strains

Dr. Jeffry Katz, a gastroenterologist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center et al has reviewed probiotics research. There is strong evidence supporting the use of certain probiotic strains to help reduce the duration of infectious diarrhea, diarrhea associated with the use of antibiotics, and may help treat an infection called bacterial vaginosis in women.

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (Trade name LGG)
    Products: Culturelle (Amerifit), Danimals (Dannon)
    shown it to be effective at reducing the duration of infectious diarrhea in children, as well as reducing the duration of antibiotic-associated diarrhea.  See Culturelle
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae var. boulardii
    shown positive results in helping prevent and reduce the duration of antibiotic-associated diarrhea, and helps treat acute diarrhea in children. When used along with an antibiotic, it also has helped reduce recurrence of infection with the hospital associated bug C. difficile in patients who had been repeatedly infected.
  • Bifidobacterium infantis (Trade name Bifantis)
    shown that this strain is good  for people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which causes irregularity, gas, bloating and abdominal pain. Both studies compared the strain to placebo and found an improvement in symptoms.
  • Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14 and L. reuteri ATCC55730 (Trade name Protectis)
    RC-14 in combination with another probiotic, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1, has been shown to improve recovery from bacterial vaginosis when combined with antibiotics. L. reuteri "Protectis" has been shown to help with symptoms of infectious diarrhea and may improve treatment outcomes for children receiving antibiotic therapy for the bacteria that causes ulcers.
Creative Problem Solving Enhanced by REM Sleep

The study by Sara Mednick, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at UC San Diego and the VA San Diego Healthcare System, and first author Denise Cai, graduate student in the UC San Diego Department of Psychology, shows that REM directly enhances creative processing more than any other sleep or wake state.


"We found that - for creative problems that you've already been working on - the passage of time is enough to find solutions," said Mednick. "However, for new problems, only REM sleep enhances creativity."


Mednick added that it appears REM sleep helps achieve such solutions by stimulating associative networks, allowing the brain to make new and useful associations between unrelated ideas. Importantly, the study showed that these improvements are not due to selective memory enhancements.


A critical issue in sleep and cognition is whether improvements in behavioral performance are the result of sleep-specific enhancement or simply reduction of interference. The researchers controlled for such interference effects by comparing sleep periods to quiet rest periods without any verbal input.


PillCam Capsules Examines the GI Tract

Zarlink's  PillCam  SB video capsules is now used for wireless examination of the gastrointestinal tract. The ultra-low power RF chip transmits two images per second - more than 50,000 pictures over an eight-hour period - from the PillCam to an external data recorder as the vitamin-sized capsule passes naturally through the patient's small bowel.  Physicians  can visually examine the entire length of the small bowel to diagnose disorders such as obscure gastrointestinal bleeding (OGIB), Crohn's disease, celiac disease, tumors and a range of other small bowel disorders.


The PillCam SB video capsule measures 11 mm x 26 mm and weighs less than four grams. It contains an imaging device, light source and Zarlink's RF transmitter chip. The video capsules require no sedation and allow the patient to carry on with normal daily activities. Prior to PillCam capsule endoscopy, exploratory surgery was the only available method for visualizing the entire small intestine.


A high-resolution photo of Zarlink's RF transmitter chip is available at

Did You Know???

Avocados keep you thin, protect your vision, and may even prevent cancer.


Susan Hall reports the following benefits of avocado consumption:

  • Eye opener
    Protect your vision with a few slices of avocado at lunch or dinner. Avocados are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants found in the retina that keep eyes healthy; they also may help prevent age-related problems, like cataracts and macular degeneration.

  • Cancer fighter
    Extracts from avocados kill or stop the growth of precancerous cells that lead to oral cancer and may have a similar effect on other cancers, according to a recent study. Researchers credit the fruit's unique combo of nutrients--which include folate and vitamins C and E.
  • Nutrient booster
    Add avocado to salsa for a bigger health payoff. A study from The Ohio State University found that people absorbed four-and-a-half times more of the cancer-fighter lycopene from the tomatoes when avocado was added; the healthy fats help you absorb more nutrients.
  • Healthier fat
    Skip the mayo, and go for creamy avocado on your sandwich, she says.. It packs 4 grams of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat (which lowers cholesterol), 2 grams of fiber, and 1 gram of protein per ounce, making it a lower-fat, more-filling substitute for the white stuff.
  In this Issue:
Probiotics Research Endorses 4 Strains
Sleep Enhances Problem-Solving
PillCam Capsules Examine GI Tract
Did You Know??? 
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