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Stomach bug giardia linked to IBS and chronic fatigue syndrome new
      #366227 - 10/06/11 07:02 PM

Reged: 12/09/02
Posts: 7795
Loc: Seattle, WA

Gut doi:10.1136/gutjnl-2011-300220

Irritable bowel syndrome and chronic fatigue 3 years after acute giardiasis: historic cohort study

Knut-Arne Wensaas1,2,
Nina Langeland3,
Kurt Hanevik3,4,
Kristine Mørch4,5,
Geir Egil Eide1,6,
Guri Rortveit1,2

+ Author Affiliations

1Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
2Research Unit for General Practice, Uni Health, Bergen, Norway
3Institute of Medicine, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
4National Centre for Tropical Infectious Diseases, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway
5Department of Medicine, Unit for Infectious Diseases, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway
6Centre for Clinical Research, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway

Correspondence to Dr Knut-Arne Wensaas, Research Unit for General Practice, Uni Health, Kalfarveien 31, N-5018 Bergen, Norway;

Contributors KAW, NL, KH, KM and GR conceived the study, and all authors designed it. GR acquired funding and supervised the study. GEE and GR provided guidance on statistical methods. KAW did all statistical analyses, and wrote the first draft of the manuscript. All authors contributed to the interpretation of the results, revision of the manuscript and approved the final version. KAW is the guarantor.

Revised 22 June 2011
Accepted 27 June 2011
Published Online First 12 September 2011


Background Giardia lamblia is a common cause of gastroenteritis worldwide, but there is limited knowledge about the long-term complications.

Objective To estimate the relative risk of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and chronic fatigue 3 years after acute giardiasis.

Design Controlled historic cohort study with 3 years' follow-up. Data collected by mailed questionnaire.

Setting Waterborne outbreak of giardiasis in the city of Bergen, Norway.

Participants 817 patients exposed to Giardia lamblia infection verified by detection of cysts in stool samples and 1128 matched controls.

Main outcome measures IBS and chronic fatigue.

Results The prevalence of IBS in the exposed group was 46.1%, compared with 14.0% in the control group, and the adjusted RR=3.4 (95% CI 2.9 to 3.8). Chronic fatigue was reported by 46.1% of the exposed group and 12.0% of the controls, the adjusted RR was 4.0 (95% CI 3.5 to 4.5). IBS and chronic fatigue were associated and the RR for the exposed group of having a combination of the two outcomes was 6.8 (95% CI 5.3 to 8.5). The RR was also increased for having just one of the two syndromes, 1.8 for IBS (95% CI 1.4 to 2.3) and 2.2 for chronic fatigue (95% CI 1.7 to 2.8).

Conclusions Infection with Giardia lamblia in a non-endemic area was associated with a high prevalence of IBS and chronic fatigue 3 years after acute illness, and the risk was significantly higher than in the control group. This shows that the potential consequences of giardiasis are more serious than previously known. Further studies are needed, especially in areas where giardiasis is endemic.

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Fecal Transplants Show Promise for Gastrointestinal Ills new
      #366436 - 11/23/11 02:37 PM

Reged: 12/09/02
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Fecal Transplants Show Promise for Gastrointestinal Ills

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Nov. 1 (HealthDay News) -- They sound disgusting, but doctors say "fecal transplants" -- once shunned by the medical establishment -- are proving useful against a range of gastrointestinal ailments, new research says.

Presenting at the American College of Gastroenterology annual meeting in Washington, D.C., researchers report that the therapy can ease severe irritable bowel syndrome and nasty bacterial infections.

Fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) involves taking feces from a donor, typically a spouse or relative though it could be anyone, after a light colonoscopy prep.

That sample is then mixed "with some saline so that it's a consistency that can be aspirated into 60 cc syringes," explained Dr. Mark Mellow, one of the researchers presenting findings at the meeting.

The patient then undergoes a routine colonoscopy during which the mixture is inserted. The idea is that this new, transplanted population of healthy flora will correct the patient's underlying problem and it does seem to work.

Some of the most encouraging research comes in the form of three studies which demonstrated the procedure's effectiveness against recalcitrant infection with the bacterium Clostridium difficile. The bug can cause disabling and even life-threatening diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

"Patients who have multiple C. difficile recurrences have a totally different population of bacteria that normal people do," said Mellow, who is medical director of the Digestive Health Center at Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City. "The key thing is a marked decrease in diversity so, instead of having tons of different strains of microorganisms, they have many less strains and species than many people do."

In Mellow's study, 98 percent of patients with C. difficile who hadn't responded to a mean of five previous treatment courses saw rapid resolution of their symptoms -- if not with the first FMT transplant, then with a second.

The patients had been suffering for a mean of 11 months and many were ill enough to be in acute-care or skilled nursing facilities or homebound, Mellow said.

Dr. David Bernstein, chief of gastroenterology at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y., said: "It seems that this is potentially a phenomenal treatment for C. difficile infection, especially those that are refractory. This works and it's dramatic how quickly it works.

"C. difficile is becoming a greater problem in hospitals, and we're seeing more resistance and morbidity and mortality," he added.

Although it might seem difficult to find a volunteer, Bernstein felt that acceptance among patients would be high because "they've done so much already that has failed. They're desperate."

The transplants would not be first-line treatment for patients, however, Mellow said.

Researchers in Australia also reported success using FMT to treat ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease in three patients. In all cases, symptoms improved within days or weeks.

Other studies being presented at the meeting found effectiveness with probiotics, live "friendly bacteria" similar to those found naturally in the gut. The idea is similar to an FMT transplant but probiotics are generally sold as dietary supplements or come in foods such as yogurt.

SOURCES: Mark Mellow, M.D., medical director, Digestive Health Center, Integris Baptist Medical Center, Oklahoma City; David Bernstein, M.D., chief, gastroenterology, North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, N.Y.; Oct. 31, 2011, presentations, American College of Gastroenterology annual meeting, Washington, D.C.
Copyright © 2011 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
This is a story from HealthDay, a service of ScoutNews, LLC.

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Chronic Heartburn a Growing Problem in U.S. new
      #366638 - 01/05/12 01:46 PM

Reged: 12/09/02
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Loc: Seattle, WA

Chronic Heartburn a Growing Problem in U.S.

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Jan. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Heartburn and acid reflux strike many people as an annoying and painful but ultimately harmless problem -- a result of overindulgence and gluttony that must be endured, much like a hangover after a night of drinking.

But frequent bouts of heartburn and reflux constitute a real medical condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, and GERD is on the rise worldwide.

"The overall prevalence is increasing over the past decades," said Dr. Ronnie Fass, a medical advisory board member for the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders who's also a professor of medicine at the University of Arizona and chief of gastroenterology at the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System.

The increase has occurred "not only in the United States, but in Asian countries, where GERD was unheard of," Fass said. "But we are the trailblazers. We are leading the world."

If left untreated, GERD can lead to bleeding or ulcers in the esophagus, a buildup of scar tissue that makes swallowing difficult and, in extreme cases, esophageal cancer, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

"People consider heartburn part of the eating experience," Fass said. "They have to understand the presence of heartburn denotes a real medical problem."

Frequent reflux or heartburn are apparently a regular occurrence for Americans. "We believe up to 20 percent of the population experiences symptoms once a week, and 7 percent have daily symptoms," he said.

Heartburn and acid reflux occur when acidic digestive juices from the stomach get past a ring of muscle known as the lower esophageal sphincter, which acts as a valve separating the stomach from the esophagus.

People experience heartburn when the digestive juices eat away at the lining of the esophagus. Sometimes the acid refluxes all the way up through the esophagus to the mouth, causing people to taste digestive juices or food in the back of their mouth.

Doctors consider people to be suffering from GERD if they experience persistent reflux, meaning at least twice a week, according to the NIH. Anyone at any age can have GERD, although symptoms tend to be different for children 12 and younger, who may have asthma-like symptoms, a dry cough or difficulty swallowing.

Most of the time, GERD stems from one of two causes -- what you eat and how much you weigh -- but excessive weight is the most prominent, said Dr. Kenneth R. DeVault, chairman of the gastroenterology department at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., and co-author of the American College of Gastroenterology's guidelines for treating GERD.

"The most consistent factor is probably weight gain and obesity," DeVault said. "It's become pretty clear that a small amount of weight gain produces an increase in reflux symptoms. I'm not talking a large amount; I'm talking about 5 or 10 pounds, probably. Even if you're already overweight, increasing your weight will increase your risk of reflux over the next several months."

Excess weight can press on the stomach, forcing acid past the valve into the esophagus. And, as Fass explained, the problem isn't just the belly flab evident on people who are obese or overweight. Rather, the accumulation of fat around the organs inside the body contributes by increasing pressure on the stomach, making reflux much more likely to occur, he said.

GERD also can be caused, or exacerbated, by a person's diet. But foods contribute to reflux in different ways.

Caffeine, for example, has been shown to relax the esophageal sphincter, increasing the chances of reflux, DeVault said.

Eating fatty foods can also contribute to reflux because fats slow the emptying of the stomach, meaning "there's more material left in the stomach that can be refluxed," he said.

Acidic, spicy or strongly flavored foods also can contribute to reflux by increasing the amount of acid in the stomach, according to the NIH. Citrus fruits or juices, tomatoes, mint, garlic, onions and chocolate are among the main offenders.

Also, lifestyle changes can usually reduce the possibility of reflux, the two experts said. These include:

Making a concerted effort to lose weight, by exercising and adopting a healthy diet.
Learning which foods are more likely to trigger excess acid or reflux, and then avoiding them.
Eating the final meal of the day two to three hours before bedtime, thus reducing the amount of food in the stomach that would press against the esophageal valve.
Elevating the head of the bed, if nighttime reflux is a problem, as this can reduce the pressure of stomach acid and contents on the valve.

If reflux symptoms persist, however, DeVault stressed that more needs to be done to avoid damage to the esophagus.

"If they have frequent heartburn symptoms, more than weekly, and have had it for many years, they need to see a physician," he said.

SOURCES: Ronnie Fass, M.D., professor, medicine, University of Arizona, and chief, gastroenterology, Southern Arizona VA Health Care System, Tucson, Ariz.; Kenneth R. DeVault, M.D., chairman, gastroenterology, Mayo Clinic Florida, Jacksonville, Fla.

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

This is a story from HealthDay, a service of ScoutNews, LLC.

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Too Many Americans Skipping Colon Cancer Screening new
      #367005 - 03/13/12 05:02 PM

Reged: 12/09/02
Posts: 7795
Loc: Seattle, WA

Too Many Americans Skipping Colon Cancer Screening

FRIDAY, March 2 (HealthDay News) -- Approximately one in three U.S. adults between the ages of 50 and 75 who should be screened for colorectal cancer have not been, according to the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

As National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month kicks off, the society is reminding older adults about the benefits of a colonoscopy exam to screen for colorectal cancer, which is largely preventable, while offering tips on getting screened.

"Colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable cancers because the majority of colorectal cancers arise from precancerous growths in the colon called polyps, which can be found during a colonoscopy screening exam and removed before they turn into cancer," Dr. Gregory Ginsberg, president of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), said in a society news release.

ASGE experts say everyone should be screened starting at age 50, and repeat the screening once a decade thereafter if the initial test results come back normal.

Those with a family history of colorectal cancer should get screened starting at age 40. Other high-risk groups, such as black people and those with inflammatory bowel disease, should discuss getting screened sooner with their doctors.

Before the screening, it is important to follow pre-colonoscopy instructions carefully to ensure the colon is thoroughly cleaned so no polyps or cancers are missed during the procedure, Ginsberg said.

Studies suggest that not following the prescreening guidelines results in more missed polyps.

More information

For more on colonoscopies, visit the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

SOURCE: American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, news release, Feb. 28, 2012

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

This is a story from HealthDay, a service of ScoutNews, LLC.

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Fecal matter, delivered by enema, helps heal in nine out of 10 cases new
      #367292 - 04/23/12 01:34 PM

Reged: 12/09/02
Posts: 7795
Loc: Seattle, WA

(Reuters Health) - For patients with nearly no options to treat a persistent bacterial infection wreaking havoc on their bowels, a transplant of someone else's fecal matter, delivered by enema, helps heal in nine out of 10 cases, according to a new study.

"It's unbelievably effective," said Dr. Neil Stollman, who was not involved in this research, but who has reported similar success using colonoscopy to deliver a stool transplant.

The procedure is used primarily to treat patients with infections from the bacterium Clostridium difficile.

Typically, the bugs colonize the gut after antibiotics used to treat other infections have disrupted the body's normal bacterial harmony.

"C. diff," as doctors refer to it, can cause chronic diarrhea, weight loss, abdominal pain and complications such as kidney failure or a hole in the colon.

Most people recover from the infection, often with another course of antibiotics.

But a minority have recurrent cases of infection, or never respond to treatment.

The idea behind fecal transplant from someone with a healthy gut is to restore bacterial balance to the patient's intestines.

In the study, led by Dr. Christine Lee at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, the researchers asked two healthy volunteers to donate fecal matter, which was diluted in water and given to 27 patients who had failed to recover after antibiotic treatments.

Unlike earlier studies that have used a colonoscope or a tube through the nose into the stomach, Lee's group used an enema to inject the feces.

"The rationale for using an enema is it can be used in any setting and it's not an invasive procedure," Lee told Reuters Health.

All but two of the patients recovered after the procedure, and the vast majority felt better within one day, Lee and her colleagues report in Archives of Internal Medicine.

"I would recommend it to anyone who has had recurrent Clostridium difficile infection. Right now we're dealing with a high rate of relapse, particularly in light of the type of strain that's circulating now. It's difficult to treat," Lee told Reuters Health.

Stollman, who practices at Northern California Gastroenterology Consultants, said only about 10 percent of patients have the nasty C. diff infections that might make them good candidates for the stool transplant, but that number is on the rise.

"C. diff is exploding," Stollman said.

Lee's team notes that C. diff infections tripled between 1996 and 2005, now affecting about 84 out of every 100,000 people.

Stollman said that so far he has seen no drawbacks to the procedure, but given that most studies are only several years old, it's unclear whether long term side effects could emerge in the future.

How, exactly, the transplanted material helps is unknown.

Lee said it could be that the newly introduced bacteria outcompete the C. diff bugs, or it could be that bacterial by-products in the stool help restore balance to the gut.

"The whole underpinning of this procedure is, if I don't know which bacteria to put in and in what concentration, let's put it all in," said Stollman. "It's an inelegant procedure with an elegant outcome."

SOURCE: Archives of Internal Medicine, January 23, 2012.

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April is IBS Awareness Month new
      #367296 - 04/23/12 01:47 PM

Reged: 12/09/02
Posts: 7795
Loc: Seattle, WA

April marks the 16th annual Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month, meant to publicize a condition so prevalent that, though rarely discussed, is the leading cause of worker absenteeism after the common cold. In particular, significant patient self-help avenues such as offer information, support, and immediate tangible help for Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms. Self-help management of IBS has proven so successful that physicians and dietitians are embracing these approaches. IBS Awareness Month spreads the news that IBS patients are finally being given the help they need - not just a diagnosis.

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Can a Gut Check Boost Sleep, Sex and Brain Power? new
      #367359 - 05/02/12 10:27 AM

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Loc: Seattle, WA

Can a Gut Check Boost Sleep, Sex and Brain Power?

By Treacy Colbert
April 27, 2012

Americans feel it in their guts. Poor health, that is, the combined consequences of an unwholesome diet, stress, aging, and not drinking enough water.

Every year, more than 90 million Americans seek help from a doctor for gut-related problems such as acid reflux, pancreatitis, gallstones, and irritable bowel syndrome, according to the American College of Gastroenterology. With a few simple and straightforward steps, you can improve your GI tract function, boost your overall health, and perhaps avoid being one of those 90 million in the doctor's office.

Your gut not only digests your food, but is integrally linked to brain function, hormones associated with sleep and thinking, sex drive, the heart, the body's muscles, and immune function, according to Steven Lamm, M.D., internist and clinical faculty member at New York University Medical Center. His book, No Guts, No Glory (Basic Health Publications, 2012), outlines a plan for treating your gut with the respect it deserves.

Three Squares

Where to start? Lamm suggests beginning with a regular meal schedule. Skipping meals, rich, late-night repasts, and erratic snacking throughout the day tax your system. Try the old standby, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which almost seems like a quaint concept in our world where food is everywhere.

Take Time to Eat

Enjoying your food also helps you digest it properly, Lamm maintains. If you're in the habit of absently stuffing something in your mouth at your desk so that you can keep working, consider slowing down. Take the time to savor and chew your food. Hastily swallowing food without chewing it properly can also sets the stage for digestive problems.

Eating and Sleeping

Rest is an integral part of healthy digestion. The National Sleep Foundation reports that 20 percent of Americans say they get six hours or less of sleep a night, a level of sleep deprivation that can contribute to a host of health problems, including digestive issues. Aim for eight to nine hours. Impossible, you say? Switch off the television, smartphone, and computer in the evening, and log the extra time in bed rather than on the screen. Your gut will thank you.

Eating and Drinking

You need water, and plenty of it, to digest your food well. Sip throughout the day, and don't wait until thirst strikes. Coffee or beer won't count as part of your healthy liquid intake. In fact, easing up on alcohol will improve your health, and limiting your caffeine can help you feel less stressed.

The Raw Truth

Overly processed and refined foods trigger many gut-related illnesses, Lamm says. He advises swapping out one cooked meal with a meal made with raw ingredients every day. Raw fruits and vegetables contain important enzymes needed for digestion, and these enzymes are often destroyed in the process of cooking. Try oatmeal with fruit or a smoothie for breakfast, and make lunch a crisp salad, fresh fruit, or veggie wrap. If you're considering switching to a mostly vegetarian diet, try a gradual approach to avoid having a lot of gas at first.


Butterflies, a knot, churning, flip-flopping—these terms describe the effect of stress on the gut. Taking a relaxing walk after a healthy meal is a good antidote to stress, Lamm notes. Build some form of regular relaxation into your daily schedule—a few minutes of gentle yoga stretching, a pause to meditate or listen to music—this act of unwinding helps cut your stress level.

Changes with Age

Digestive changes or problems aren't inevitable with age, says Thai-Van Nguyen, M.D., a gastroenterologist with Gastroenterology Consultants in Los Alamitos and on staff at Los Alamitos Medical Center. Some older adults have problems with constipation or diarrhea, she says, but this is frequently linked to certain medications, immobility, dietary restrictions, or other medical conditions, and not necessarily a result of getting older.

Many older adults taking blood pressure pills, proton pump inhibitors, or certain antacids can experience medication-related changes in digestion, says David A. Drake, M.D. a gastroenterologist with Long Beach Gastroenterology Associates and on staff at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. He frequently sees patients admitted to the hospital for ulcers or bleeding in the GI tract from nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, which are often used to treat arthritis. "A lot of older folks end up on multiple medications," he notes. "It can be hard to tell what's in the soup and how the medications are interacting."

Slowing Down on Supplements May Help

Roughly half of all Americans reach for vitamins or other dietary supplements with a goal of improving their health. But sometimes supplements can result in stomach discomfort, says Drake. "Fish oil is very popular now, but it can cause flatulence and bloating," he notes. Menopausal women who take calcium may experience constipation, and a calcium-magnesium supplement produces the opposite, diarrhea from the magnesium. "I sometimes ask patients to stop all supplements for a week or two to see if their symptoms change," Drake says. "Then I'll ask them to add the supplements back one at a time."

What about probiotic supplements? Probiotics are bacteria that prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and maintain the balance in your intestinal system. Of the roughly 400 kinds of probiotic bacteria in your system, the type found in the largest amount is lactic acid bacteria. When you eat yogurt with live cultures, you're taking in this type of probiotic. Look for yogurt with the fewest ingredients, and with "live active cultures" on the label.

David Drake observes that selecting a probiotic supplement can be bewildering, as health food store shelves are jammed with multiple varieties, some of which are very pricey. The trials investigating the role of probiotic supplements have been small, notes Thai-Van Nguyen. "We'll have a better idea in the future about probiotic pathways and their role in the bowel when more research is done," she says.

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Bacteria in Gut new
      #367534 - 05/30/12 11:59 AM

Reged: 12/09/02
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Loc: Seattle, WA

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Bacteria in Gut

Released: 5/25/2012 8:00 AM EDT
Source: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Newswise — LOS ANGELES (May 25, 2012) – An overgrowth of bacteria in the gut has been definitively linked to Irritable Bowel Syndrome in the results of a new Cedars-Sinai study which used cultures from the small intestine. This is the first study to use this "gold standard" method of connecting bacteria to the cause of the disease that affects an estimated 30 million people in the United States.

Previous studies have indicated that bacteria play a role in the disease, including breath tests detecting methane – a byproduct of bacterial fermentation in the gut. This study was the first to make the link using bacterial cultures.

The study, in the current issue of Digestive Diseases and Sciences, examined samples of patients' small bowel cultures to confirm the presence of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth – or SIBO – in more than 320 subjects. In patients with IBS, more than a third also were diagnosed with small intestine bacterial overgrowth, compared to fewer than 10 percent of those without the disorder. Of those with diarrhea-predominant IBS, 60 percent also had bacterial overgrowth.

"While we found compelling evidence in the past that bacterial overgrowth is a contributing cause of IBS, making this link through bacterial cultures is the gold standard of diagnosis," said Mark Pimentel, MD, director of the Cedars-Sinai GI Motility Program and an author of the study. "This clear evidence of the role bacteria play in the disease underscores our clinical trial findings, which show that antibiotics are a successful treatment for IBS."

IBS is the most common gastrointestinal disorder in the U.S., affecting an estimated 30 million people. Patients with this condition suffer symptoms that can include painful bloating, constipation, diarrhea or an alternating pattern of both. Many patients try to avoid social interactions because they are embarrassed by their symptoms. Pimentel has led clinical trials that have shown rifaximin, a targeted antibiotic absorbed only in the gut, is an effective treatment for patients with IBS.

"In the past, treatments for IBS have always focused on trying to alleviate the symptoms," said Pimentel, who first bucked standard medical thought more than a decade ago when he suggested bacteria played a significant role in the disease. "Patients who take rifaximin experience relief of their symptoms even after they stop taking the medication. This new study confirms what our findings with the antibiotic and our previous studies always led us to believe: Bacteria are key contributors to the cause of IBS."

The study is a collaboration with researchers at Sismanogleion General Hospital in Athens, Greece, and at the University of Athens.

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Army of gut microbes keep us fit and healthy
      #367612 - 06/15/12 01:19 PM

Reged: 12/09/02
Posts: 7795
Loc: Seattle, WA

Army of gut microbes keep us fit and healthy

Washington, June 7 : An army of gut micro-organisms, comprising some 500 to 1,000 distinct bacterial species and uncountable billions, keep us both fit and healthy with proper body weight, a study says.

Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown and colleagues of Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute with John DiBaise from the Mayo clinic's gastroenterology division, reviewed the role of gut microbes in nutrient absorption and energy regulation.

"Malnutrition may manifest as either obesity or under-nutrition, problems of epidemic proportion worldwide," said Krajmalnik-Brown, the journal Nutrition in Clinical Practice reports.

"Micro-organisms have been shown to play an important role in nutrient and energy extraction and energy regulation although the specific roles that individual and groups of gut microbes play remain uncertain," added Krajmalnik-Brown, according to a Arizona statement.

The study outlines the growth of varied microbial populations - from birth onwards - highlighting their role in extracting energy from the diet.

Based on current findings, the authors suggest that therapeutic modification of the gut microbiome may offer a much better option to treat nutrition-related maladies, including obesity and a range of health outcomes.

The microbes in our gut belong to three broad domains: Eukarya, Bacteria, and Achaea. Of these, bacteria reign supreme, with two dominant divisions - known as Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes - making up over 90 percent of the gut's microbial population.

Conversely, the Achaea that exist in the gut are mostly composed of methanogens (producers of methane) and specifically by Methanobrevibacter smithii - a hydrogen-consumer. Methanogens appear in greater abundance in obese as opposed to normal weight individuals. (IANS)

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Dietary cleanses risky
      #367613 - 06/15/12 01:22 PM

Reged: 12/09/02
Posts: 7795
Loc: Seattle, WA

Dietary cleanses rise in popularity, but there are risks

They have names like BluePrint Cleanse, Master Cleanse and Clean Program. They promise to detox the body and aid weight loss, and are often touted by celebrities. But health experts warn of the risks of such extreme dieting.

By Jessica P. Ogilvie, Special to the Los Angeles Times

June 9, 2012

To the rational mind, the notion of willingly depriving oneself of food for days on end seems illogical, at best. Basic biology, after all, dictates that calories are necessary to sustain everyday functioning and that low levels of, say, iron or potassium could throw off our physical health, possibly even dangerously so.

And yet, extreme dietary cleanses seem to have gripped the imaginations of even the most practical among us. Somewhere along the line, we bought into the idea that our bodies harbor toxins that need flushing out or that dropping weight via an all-liquid diet is someone medically sound.

So how have these regimens become so popular? What's so enticing about them? And do they actually do any good?

Kinds of cleanses

For anyone looking to embark on a cleanse, there's no shortage of options: juice fasts, water fasts, lemonade diets. A company called BluePrint Cleanse, for instance, sells three- to 10-days worth of juices made from ingredients such as kale, cashew nuts, apples and pineapples. Another, Ritual Cleanse, follows a similar program of organic raw juice, promising on its website potential benefits that include mental clarity, weight loss and increased sex drive.

For the star-struck among us, there are celebrity-endorsed cleanses. Gwyneth Paltrow, the incurably buoyant actress and mother of two, swears by the Clean Program, a 21-day eating plan consisting of a shake for breakfast and dinner, and a light lunch. Salma Hayek co-founded the Cooler Cleanse, a program that professes on its website: "Consuming only liquids for a few days frees energy in the body, which can then return to the essential jobs of deep inner cleansing and healing."

And then there's the Master Cleanse, which tells users to ingest only a mixture of water, lemons, cayenne pepper and maple syrup up to six times a day for 10 days.

The big draw

Teddy Bass, an L.A.-based personal trainer who works with celebrities, notes that one reason cleanses have caught on is because of our belief as a society in the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

"This is a fad-oriented society," he says. "If people read that someone got results from doing this for a certain amount of days, then they really want to do it."

Psychiatrist Megan Jones, director of the Healthy Body Image Program at Stanford University, adds that even those of us who might otherwise be above the hype can get ensnared in a clever marketing ploy — on the emphasis that cleanses place on "health."

"'Healthy' is becoming a pseudonym for 'dieting,'" she says. "The advertising industry is using health as a way of selling an unrealistic and unattainable ideal. For very smart, well-educated people, it's not socially acceptable to go on a diet." A cleanse, she adds, sounds more in line with taking care of one's body.

What the pros say

So is there anything healthy about a dietary cleanse? Dr. Adrienne Youdim, the medical director of the Weight Loss Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, doesn't think so.

To begin with, she says, our bodies are equipped with everything they need to rid themselves of bacteria, chemicals or viruses.

"The body actually has a very intricate way of detoxing on its own," she says. "Our liver is designed to clear toxins out of the body. Our kidneys are designed to clear toxins out of the body. Our gastrointestinal tract itself has mechanisms to clear toxins from the body. There really isn't any reputable science to suggest that there is any health benefit" to cleanses.

As for the weight loss promised by a week of liquid dieting, Youdim notes that any poundage shed on a cleanse is likely to be temporary. What's more, she adds, cleanses done repeatedly might actually cause the practitioner to gain weight in the long run.

"The weight loss is often not the kind of weight that you want to lose," she says. "You may be losing lean mass, and when that comes back it comes back as fat. If these are done recurrently, the long term would be changing your body composition for a higher percent of body fat."

So why do it?

The question remains, then, as to whether cleansers know that there isn't much science behind their diets and do them anyway, don't know about the lack of science at all or simply don't care about the science.

Read full article here:,0,610267.story

Copyright © 2012, Los Angeles Times

Heather is the Administrator of the IBS Message Boards. She is the author of Eating for IBS and The First Year: IBS, and the CEO of Heather's Tummy Care. Join her IBS Newsletter. Meet Heather on Facebook!

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