The Brain-Gut Connection: How Gut Bacteria May Treat Depression
"As important as the neurons in the gut is the kind of bacteria found there. Our body is a dwelling place for about 100 trillion bacteria and other microbes, collectively known as our microbiome. They do many important things: break down our food, fight off infection, and boost our immune system. However, scientists are finding that they may do even more than that, and have an important role in our mental health. In fact, the burgeoning field of psychobiotics may prove to be a new treatment for those with chronic depression, and especially for those who suffer from gastrointestinal issues alongside depression and anxiety." (Read more at everydayhealth.com.)
Gut Microbes Influence Circadian Clock
"The mammalian gut microbiome is involved in controlling the circadian rhythm of its host, according to a mouse study published today (April 16) in Cell Host & Microbe. In both mice and humans, timing of feeding and diet type can impact the bacterial populations of the gut. Now, Eugene Chang of the University of Chicago Medical Center and his colleagues have found that mouse gut microbiota produce metabolites in diurnal patterns, and these can influence the expression of circadian clock genes in the liver." (Read more at The-Scientist.com.)
New research sheds light on how popular probiotic benefits the gut
"In recent years, research into the benefits of gut bacteria has exploded. Scientists across the globe are examining how these microbes can help improve health and prevent disease.
One of the most well-known of these is Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG). This strain of bacteria, which is part of many popular probiotic products, has a reputation as a helpful microbe. Researchers have found evidence that it can help with intestinal problems, respiratory infections and some skin disorders. Some research suggests that it may even help with weight loss." (Read more at ScienceDaily.com.)
Fiber-Famished Gut Microbes Linked to Poor Health
"Your gut is the site of constant turf wars. Hundreds of bacterial species—along with fungi, archaea and viruses—do battle daily, competing for resources. Some companies advocate for consuming more probiotics, live beneficial bacteria, to improve microbial communities in our gut, but more and more research supports the idea that the most powerful approach might be to better feed the good bacteria we already harbor. Their meal of choice? Fiber." (Read more at ScientificAmerican.com.)
Western hygiene could rob us of useful gut bacteria: study
"It's a line we've all heard before: rigorous sanitation and hygiene in the western world might contribute to making us sick. Reducing our exposure to bacteria means the immune system doesn't learn how to fight it, the argument goes.
While the question is far from settled, scientists are making incremental advances in understanding how bacteria in the gut differs between populations.
A team of researchers has compared the gut microbiota (micro-organisms) of people living in two traditional Papua New Guinea communities with people from an urban centre in the US state of Nebraska." (Read more at The Sydney Morning Herald.)
Children and Screen Time: How Much is Too Much?
"How much time does your child spend watching TV or movies, playing with a smartphone or computer, or enjoying video games? Although some screen time can be educational, it's easy to go overboard. Consider this guide to children and TV, including what you can do to keep your child's screen time in check.
The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages media use by children younger than age two and recommends limiting older children's screen time to no more than one or two hours a day. Too much screen time can be linked to:..." (Read more at MayoClinic.org.)
Population Clock: People Are Growing Old At Slower Pace Than Expected
"If you measure age simply as time already lived, things are pretty darn simple for population statisticians. Yet, if age is adjusted to take into account the time left to live, well, the status quo flies out the window and things begin to get interesting. Faster increases in life expectancy do not produce faster population aging, say researchers who developed new measures of aging and applied them to projections of residential lifespans in Europe. (Read more at medical daily.com.)