News and Notes March 2023

    March Newsletter 3 2023

    A cure for peanut allergies?

    A daily dose of 2 × 1010 colony-forming units of the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus ATCC 53103, together with peanut oral immunotherapy may be an effective cure for peanut allergy. Oral immunotherapy consisted of increasing doses of peanut protein. The study was published in the Lancet.

    Peanut allergies

    Glutamate build up toxic during prolonged cognitive tasks

    According to a recent study, brain scans found high-demand tasks which require intense, constant concentration can lead to build-up of a potentially toxic chemical called glutamate. When nerve cells break down nutrients to release energy, a byproduct such as glutamate accumulates, causing cognitive fatigue. The brain clears this metabolite during sleep. In this study, an increase in glutamate concentration was seen as a fatigue marker. If you have to make a difficult decision at the end of the day, rather sleep on it.

    Clove oil better than asprin

    Platelets are the blood cells that are responsible for initiating clotting when we are injured. Although this is an essential component of survival physiology it can work against us when we have a heart attack or thrombotic stroke. If one of these unfortunate incidents takes place, platelets initiate thrombus formation by accumulating in the arteries where the initial cardiac or cerebral event begins.

    While aspirin may still be the drug of choice when it comes to preventing heart attacks and strokes, new research shows that spices are the FOODS of choice in this regard. The authors of the study found that eugenol was the strongest of the anti-clotting spice-derived compounds and that it was far more effective than aspirin in preventing platelet aggregation.

    The problem with aspirin is that it has a major side effect – intestinal bleeding. Eugenol extract in large doses can be toxic but it is safe when used as part of its mother spice in quantities called for in normal recipes.

    Apart from eugenol, spices contain a number of other phytonutrients that have anti-clotting activity. And there are many other studies to show that, when eaten as part of a healthy diet, herbs and spices play an important role in protecting us from sticky platelets and the other pathological processes that underlie cardiovascular disease.

    Caution: Taking clove oil might cause bleeding in people with bleeding disorders. Stop using clove at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery. Cloves contain chemicals that might affect blood sugar levels, so monitor your blood sugar closely.

    Other herbs and supplements that may affect bleeding include garlic, ginger, ginkgo, nattokinase, and Panax ginseng.

    The overuse of fever meds in children

    One in three parents may unnecessarily give children fever-reducing medicine. According to pediatricic doctor Susan Woolford: ‘Some parents may immediately rush to give their kids medicine but it's often better to let the fever runs its course. Lowering a child's temperature doesn't typically help cure their illness any faster. In fact, a low-grade fever helps fight off the infection. There's also the risk of giving too much medication when it's not needed, which can have side effects.'

    Fevers are part of the immune response to prevent viruses and bacteria from replicating and also produce more white blood cells and antibodies. Fever-reducing medications also mask symptoms.

    ‘Medications used to lower temperatures also treat pain, but pain is often a sign that helps to locate the source of an infection,’ Woolford said. ‘By masking pain, fever-reducing medication may delay a diagnosis being made and delay receiving treatment if needed.’

    Try alternatives to relieve the child's discomfort and aid in more restful sleep instead of medicine. If a newborn or infant less than three months old has a fever, immediately see a health professional.

    The overuse of fever meds in children

    Crohn's disease linked to process food

    McMaster University professor Neeraj Narula has discovered that consuming large amounts of ultra-processed foods (UPFs) can increase the risk of Crohn's disease. They analysed data from five previous studies with a total of more than one million participants, more than half of whom were female.

    Examples include processed meats such as chicken nuggets, sodas, sauces, certain breakfast cereals, refined sweetened foods, commercially prepared breads and pre-packaged candies, among others.

    The findings were published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

    Crohn’s disease linked to process food

    Iron and the brain – it starts during pregnancy

    The cells that make up the human brain begin developing long before the physical shape of the brain has formed. This early organizing of a network of cells plays a major role in brain health throughout the course of a lifetime. Numerous studies have found that mothers with low iron levels during pregnancy have a higher risk of giving birth to a child that develops cognitive impairments like autism, attention deficit syndrome, and learning disabilities. However, iron deficiency is still prevalent in pregnant mothers and young children.

    It has been shown in a study that that iron supplements giving at birth does not restore functional impairment that appears later in life.

    Source: This study was recently published in the journal Development.

    A wonderful breakthrough out of Ghana (where there are high rates of iron deficiency) has just made headlines. Successful predictions of anemia in children can now be made using only a set of cellphone images of the eye and face.

    The most common cause of anemia globally is iron deficiency, but other conditions such as blood loss, malaria and sickle-cell disease also contribute.

    Iron and the brain – it starts during pregnancy

    Olive oil improves brain health & memory 

    Extra virgin olive oil may have positive effects on individuals with mild cognitive impairment, according to a recently completed study by Amal Kaddoumi in Auburn University's Harrison College of Pharmacy. Her findings, recently published in the journal Nutrients, suggest compounds found in olive oil impact brain health and improve the blood-brain barrier.

    ‘These results are exciting because they support the health benefits of olive oil against Alzheimer’s disease' said Kaddoumi. ‘Based on the findings of this study and previous pre-clinical studies by us and others, we can conclude that adding olive oil to our diet could maintain a healthy brain and improve memory function.’

    The results were obtained with about three tablespoons, of olive oil per day for six months.

    Olive oil improves brain health & memory

    Face masks made ‘little to no difference’ scientific review

    A new scientific review (published by Cochrane Library) suggests that widespread masking may have done little to nothing to curb the transmission of COVID. The review, titled Physical interventions to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses, was led by 12 researchers from esteemed universities around the world.

    masked woman

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