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Showing posts with the label health

Obesity does not damage your knees, microbes do!

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Damage to the knees, or osteoarthritis, is commonly seen in people who are obese. For many years, it was assumed that osteoarthritis is due to additional stress on the knee joints, due to increased weight. However, studies have shown that the commonly seen side effect of obesity is actually due to the increase in systemic and local inflammation caused by macrophages and other inflammatory cells that are targeting the adipose tissue but the joints tissue are caught in the cross fire and undergo degeneration. 
Studies published over the last couple of years have now been able to associate the inflammation seen in obesity to the gut microbiome. While this might sound a bit outlandish, researchers studying the gut microbiomes have found that nature of microbiome of the gut is dependent primarily on the dietary intake. Nature of food intake can distort the natural flora of the gut, which can then effect the inflammatory status in the body, leading to events like osteoarthritis in obesity,…

Genetic Mutation helps Amish live longer, healthier!

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Genetic mutations are usually associated with bad news. A mutation in BRCA genes could put you at risk of breast or ovarian cancer or give you a blood disorder like thalassemia or haemophilia. From cystic fibrosis to phenylketonuria, colour blindness to polycystic kidney, there is a long list (some rare, some not so rare) of diseases caused by mutations. 

Although, Marvel Comics has done a lot on its part to promote the good that can come out of harboring a rare mutation, the benefits are yet to reach the common man. A commonly cited example for good mutation is the resistance to malaria that is conferred by the Sickle Cell mutation, but it does come with the risk of getting two copies of the mutation and being affected by sickled red blood cells. There are a few other mutations that seem to help people lower their risk for heart diseases, get stronger bones or improve their under water vision.
But, a recently published paper in Science Advances puts light on a mutation in SERPINE1 gene …

Would you donate your poop for a loved one?

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The internet is ripe with bizarre stories of how a brother/ sister/ friend/ lover  (even estranged husband’s lover) donated an organ to save the life of a patient in a precarious condition. Call it love or just humanity, we tend to delve in such selfless behaviours from time to time be it for our loved ones or even complete strangers. 



The very fact that blood donation camps have been held regularly around the world and continue to attract donors every time is testament to human good will. Many donate their organs while living or after their death and that is a noble cause. Sperm donation is also quite common, but does not come with the nobility of organ donation. But what about poop? Would you consider it a noble cause to donate poop? Should the need arise, would you rise to the occasion and make a deposit?
If you look at it for what it is, your poop is of no use to you whatsoever. Everybody just dumps their collection sooner or later. So, there is no reason for not doing so. We should…

Leptin can help you lose weight?

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Leptin is a small hormone produced by the adipose tissues (fat cells) in our body and functions as a signal for the amount of fat present in the body. Depending on the 'Leptin' signal received, the brain can instruct our stomach to stop demanding food or our mouth to stop eating, thereby reducing food intake. So, in theory, more the amount of leptin in your body, lesser will you eat and it would be a a breeze to keep your weight in control. Of course, there is a catch.
The effect of Leptin was discovered in 1994 in a study involving voraciously eating obese mice. When these mice were given leptin injections, their craving for food dropped and they returned to normal body weight. So, scientists attempted to cure obesity in humans with the help of leptin injections. But, during trials, large amounts and frequent doses of leptin had to be injected to gain significant weight loss in highly obese patients. Also, large doses resulted in redness of skin at the site of injection for c…

Allergies and The Hygiene Hypothesis

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Have you ever gone to a kid’s birthday party and every time someone got up for the food table the host would go on with a list of what could be probable allergens in the dish? With kids today being allergic to perpetually everything (except junk food), throwing a birthday party may be the worst nightmare for any host! But all jokes apart, anyone would have noticed that the list of allergies seems to be getting more and more bizarre.
Our connection with microbes
Our tiff with the microbial world kick starts quite early in our neonatal life. When the fetus is growing inside its mother’s womb, it is protected from this microbial world. After it is born, it gets introduced into a different environment- one abundant in microbes. These microbes rapidly colonize the gut and respiratory tract, to the extent that at the cellular level they exceed human cells by ten times! But these microbes are actually beneficial to the human body. They provide a constant stimulus for the development and matu…

Salt intake and Kidney Stones

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There are several medical mysteries that are yet to be solved but here is one mystery which was solved recently.
A study conducted by University of Alberta researchers indicated the link between high salt intake leading to kidney stones and osteoporosis. The human body has a molecule which plays a dual role of regulating the levels of calcium as well as absorption of sodium. Sodium is expelled from the body when the intake is high and along with sodium, even calcium is expelled in the urine. On one hand high calcium level in urine leads to formation of kidney stones and the inadequacy of calcium can lead to osteoporosis which is a condition where the bone density is reduced. Statistics in the United States show that 10% of adults are likely to suffer from kidney stones at least once in their lifetime and about 10 million people suffer from osteoporosis. High sodium intake in the daily diet can lead to these medical consequences and hence a low sodium diet should be adapted.
It is observ…