6 Ways To Start Improving Your Gut Health Today

Brooke Lark / Unsplash

Considering the rapid rise in kombucha, sauerkraut and probiotic products, it’s pretty clear gut health is on everyone’s minds. And with good reason — more and more research is emerging showing just how important good gut health is for overall wellbeing.

“Having a healthy gut is so important,” accredited practising dietitian and sports dietitian Chloe McLeod told HuffPost Australia.

“It’s linked to a number of different medical conditions. When your gut isn’t healthy it can have an impact on mental health, weight, mood and a number of other digestive disorders. Keeping your gut nice and healthy can help keep the rest of your body healthy.”

Brooke Lark / Unsplash

How do you know if you have good gut health?

“Signs of good gut health include not getting bloating, gas, diarrhoea and constipation,” McLeod said.

“You find you feel better in general — better mood, more energy, a healthy weight and not feeling fatigued. These are all more pronounced when your gut is healthier.”

How do you know if you have bad gut health?

“If you have poor gut health you may have loose, unformed stools, or you’re really constipated, maybe your faeces are foul smelling, you feel gassy, feel foggy headed or have poor mood. These are some of the most common signs,” McLeod explained.

What can negatively affect gut health?

There are a number of diet and lifestyle-related factors which can impact the health of your gut.

“From a nutrition perspective, factors that negatively impact gut health include poor diet, alcohol and having a high fat intake,” McLeod said.

“Also, if you are someone with food intolerances, any large quantity of those trigger foods can have a negative effect on your gut health.

“Being highly stressed all the time impacts cortisol levels, and stress can be a factor for some people. Some medications can also affect gut health.”

 

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Depression: Is brain inflammation tied to suicidal thoughts?

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A new study confirms the link between inflammation of the brain and the prevalence of suicidal thoughts in people diagnosed with major depression. This is the first study of its kind to measure relevant biomarkers in living individuals.

Major depression is a very common mental condition, with 6.7 percent of all adults in the United States having had at least one severe depressive episode in 2014 or 2015.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is also currently the leading cause of years spent with disability worldwide.

Some people diagnosed with major depression experience suicidal thoughts, which may result in suicide attempts. In the U.S., “suicide is the 10th leading cause of death.” Now, researchers wonder whether or not suicidal ideation in people with major depression may be linked to abnormal inflammation of the brain.

Dr. Peter Talbot and other researchers based at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom have conducted a study testing the levels of a biomarker associated with brain inflammation in the systems of people diagnosed with clinical depression.

The scientists’ findings were reported in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

 

Read More: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319526.php?utm_campaign=sniply&utm_medium=sniply&utm_source=sniply

Mental health staff on long-term stress leave up 22%

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Image caption Some trusts saw the number of staff taking long-term leave double in five years

The number of NHS mental health staff who have had to take sick leave because of their own mental health issues has risen by 22% in the past five years.

Those taking long-term leave of a month or more rose from 7,580 in 2012-13 to 9,285 in 2016-17, BBC freedom of information requests found.

The union Unite said cuts to staff and services were putting extra pressure on front-line mental health workers.

The Department of Health said it was transforming mental health care.

Out of 81 mental health authorities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, 58 provided the BBC with comparable information.

Looking after ourselves

One mental health doctor who had to take mental health leave told 5 live anonymously: “I don’t think I realised it was happening until quite a long way down the road.”

She explained that she was getting irritable with her partner, her sleep was disturbed and she couldn’t switch off from work.

“In the end, I went to my GP who offered me a sick note. I was quite taken aback that it was quite so obvious to my GP that I needed to be off work.” she said.

Media captionFormer mental health nurse on why she had to leave the NHS

“As mental health practitioners, we are pretty rubbish at putting our own mental health first. You need to put your own oxygen mask on first before putting it on to someone else.”

5 live also spoke to a group of community mental health nurses at the Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust about how they cope with the pressure of the role.

“I think when you’re so passionate about something it’s very easy to overlook just how much you are taking on,” said Kate Ward, an occupational therapist working as a care co-ordinator in the team.

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Monitoring the heart’s mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?

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Credit: Dr. John Kheir, Boston Children’s Hospital & Shutterstock

A new device can assess in real time whether the body’s tissues are receiving enough oxygen and, placed on the heart, can predict cardiac arrest in critically ill heart patients, report researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital and scientists from Cambridge device maker Pendar Technologies. Their study, conducted in animal models, is the cover article in today’s issue of Science Translational Medicine.

 

“With current technologies, we cannot predict when a patient’s heart will stop,” says John Kheir, MD of Boston Children’s Heart Center, who co-led the study. “We can examine heart function on the echocardiogram and measure blood pressure, but until the last second, the heart can compensate quite well for low oxygen conditions. Once cardiac arrest occurs, its consequences can be life-long, even when patients recover.”

The device uses a technology called resonance Raman spectroscopy to measure whether enough oxygen is reaching the mitochondria, the organelles that provide cells with energy. In critically ill patients with compromised circulation or breathing, oxygen delivery is often impaired, making it hard for mitochondria to do their job. This is especially a problem for the heart, which has constant high energy needs.

The current standard for measuring tissue oxygenation, known as mixed venous saturation (SvO2), requires repeated blood draws, adding extra risk in critically ill patients. More importantly, SvO2 cannot tell whether oxygen supply is sufficient to meet the dynamic demands of heart muscle.

“We wanted to create an organ-specific, continuous, reliable readout of how adequately mitochondria are being fed oxygen,” says Kheir. “This is the first demonstration of a device that can monitor mitochondria in living tissues to predict impending organ failure.”

Using light to monitor mitochondria

This technology is the product of a collaboration between the Translational Research Lab in Boston Children’s Heart Center, co-led by Kheir and Brian Polizzotti, PhD, and Pendar Technologies (Cambridge, Mass.). “At the bedside, we saw patients who had a limitation to coronary blood flow, and wanted a device that could provide an early warning sign,” Kheir says.

The team created a metric they call 3RMR that uses light readings generated by resonance Raman spectroscopy to quantify oxygenation and mitochondrial function in real time.

 

Read More: http://snip.ly/bt6o8#https://scienmag.com/monitoring-the-hearts-mitochondria-to-predict-cardiac-arrest-2/

Immune cells may heal bleeding brain after strokes

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Credit: Courtesy of Aronowski lab, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston.

While immune cells called neutrophils are known to act as infantry in the body’s war on germs, a National Institutes of Health-funded study suggests they can act as medics as well. By studying rodents, researchers showed that instead of attacking germs, some neutrophils may help heal the brain after an intracerebral hemorrhage, a form of stroke caused by ruptured blood vessels. The study suggests that two neutrophil-related proteins may play critical roles in protecting the brain from stroke-induced damage and could be used as treatments for intracerebral hemorrhage.

“Intracerebral hemorrhage is a damaging and often fatal form of stroke for which there are no effective medicines,” said Jaroslaw Aronowski, M.D., Ph.D., professor, department of neurology, at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and senior author of the study published in Nature Communications. “Our results are a hopeful first step towards developing a treatment for this devastating form of stroke.”

Accounting for 10 to 15 percent of all strokes, intracerebral hemorrhages happen when blood vessels rupture and leak blood into the brain, often leading to death or long-term disability. Chronic high blood pressure is the leading risk factor for these types of strokes. The initial phase of damage appears to be caused by the pressure of blood leaking into the brain. Over time, further damage may be caused by the accumulation of toxic levels of blood products, infiltrating immune cells, and swelling.

 

Decades of research suggest that neutrophils are some of the earliest immune cells to respond to a hemorrhage, and that they may both harm and heal the brain. In this study, the researchers found that interleukin-27 (IL-27), a protein that controls the activity of immune cells, may shift the role of neutrophils from harming the brain to helping with recovery.

Injections of IL-27 after a hemorrhage helped mice recover. Days after the strokes, the treated mice had better mobility, including walking, limb stretching and navigating holes in a floor. In contrast, injections of an antibody that blocked natural IL-27 activity slowed recovery. The brains of the mice treated with IL-27 also showed less damage. They had less swelling around the hemorrhages and lower levels of iron and the blood protein hemoglobin, both of which are toxic at high

Read More: http://snip.ly/5llk8#https://scienmag.com/immune-cells-may-heal-bleeding-brain-after-strokes/

Brain Activity and Good Diet May Prevent Insomnia-Related Depression

Brain Activity and Good Diet May Prevent Insomnia-Related Depression
While lack of sleep is a major risk factor for depression, not everyone who tosses and turns at night becomes depressed. According to a study, individuals whose brains are more attuned to rewards may be protected from the negative mental health effects of poor sleep. The findings revealed that students with poor quality sleep were less likely to have symptoms of depression if they also had higher activity in a reward-sensitive region of the brain.”This helps us begin to understand why some people are more likely to experience depression when they have problems with sleep,” said Ahmad Hariri, Professor at the Duke University in North Carolina, US. “This finding may one day help us identify individuals for whom sleep hygiene may be more effective or more important,” Hariri added.

For the study, appearing in The Journal of Neuroscience, the team examined a region deep within the brain called the ventral striatum in 1,129 college students. Ventral striatum helps regulate behaviour in response to an external feedback as well as reinforce behaviours that are rewarded, while reducing behaviours that are not. The results showed that those who were less susceptible to the effects of poor sleep showed significantly higher brain activity in response to positive feedback or reward compared to negative feedback.

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The effects of poor sleep showed significantly higher brain activity

“Poor sleep is not good, but you may have other experiences during your life that are positive. And the more responsive you are to those positive experiences, the less vulnerable you may be to the depressive effects of poor sleep,” Hariri said.

 

Read More: http://snip.ly/ttax2#http://food.ndtv.com/health/brain-activity-and-good-diet-may-prevent-insomnia-related-depression-1753267

FDA Finalizes Guidance on Interoperable Medical Devices

On September 6, 2017, FDA finalized a guidance document entitled “Design Considerations and Pre-Market Submission Recommendations for Interoperable Medical Devices” (“Final Guidance”). In the Final Guidance, the agency outlines design considerations for manufacturers when developing interoperable medical devices, as well as recommendations about information to include in premarket submissions and device labeling. Interoperability of devices can encourage the availability and sharing of information across systems, even when products from different manufacturers are used. A draft of this guidance was issued on January 26, 2016.

The Final Guidance defines “interoperable medical devices” as medical devices “that have the ability to exchange and use information through an electronic interface with another medical/non-medical product, system, or device.” These functions can consist of a one-way data transmission to another device or product, or more complex interactions in which command and control is exercised over another device. An “electronic interface” is defined as the medium by which systems communicate with each other, and includes both the type of connection and the information content.

According to the Final Guidance, the agency considers the management of risks associated with an electronic interface incorporated into a medical device to be part of a comprehensive quality system under 21 C.F.R. Part 820. Manufacturers of interoperable medical devices should perform a risk analysis and conduct appropriate testing addressing the risks associated with interoperability, the anticipated users, reasonably foreseeable misuse, and reasonably foreseeable combinations of events that can result in a hazardous situation. In particular, the Final Guidance identifies the following considerations that manufacturers should take into account and “appropriately tailor[]” to the device’s interface technology, intended use, and use environments

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