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We aim to bring you interesting and helpful information about osteopathy and complementary medicine within Bristol and beyond.......

Monday 22 July 2013

Are Probiotics good for you?

By Bronwyn Ward

Probiotics are bacteria that are either the same as or similar to microorganisms found naturally in the human body. Also referred to as "good bacteria," probiotics are found in oral products, such as dietary supplements and yogurt. There is conflicting evidence demonstrating the benefits of taking probiotics. Here are some positive results:

Probiotics May Help Prevent Antibiotic-Related Diarrhoea
A review published May 31, 2013, in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that probiotics are safe and effective for preventing Clostridium difficile–associated diarrhoea (CDAD) in children and adults taking antibiotics. In 23 trials examined, enrolling a total of 4213 participants, probiotic use was associated with a significant 64% reduction in risk. On the basis of the overall evidence, the reviewers had moderate confidence in this large relative risk reduction. "Although probiotics are clearly superior to placebo or no treatment for preventing CDAD, further head-to-head trials are warranted to distinguish optimal strains and dosages," the review authors conclude.

Probiotics During Pregnancy May Ward Off Eczema, Food Allergy
In research reported in the October 18, 2012, issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, infants whose mothers took probiotics during pregnancy and while breast-feeding were less likely to develop eczema. The mothers all had a history of allergy, so their children were at high risk. About 30% of infants whose mothers took probiotics developed eczema compared with 79% of infants whose mothers did not. However, the study found no difference in the incidence of other allergies at age 2 years, including milk, wheat, soy, and dog and cat dander. And in a separate review published online April 17, 2013, the authors write, "Twenty-three randomized, placebo-controlled intervention studies regarding the clinical effect of probiotic supplementation on development of [food] allergy and eczema in particular have been published. Around 60% of the studies show a favourable effect decreasing the risk of eczema during the first years of life. The remaining studies fail to show an effect." 

Probiotics Affect Brain Activity
A new study in the June 2013 issue of Gastroenterology provides the first evidence in humans that probiotics in the diet can modulate brain activity. In a proof-of-concept study using functional MRI, researchers found that women who regularly consumed probiotic-containing yogurt showed altered activity of brain regions that control central processing of emotion and sensation.

Allergic Rhinitis Eased by Antihistamine + Probiotic
In other allergy research, supplementing the antihistamine levocetirizine with the probiotic Lactobacillus johnsonii EM1 effectively alleviated the symptoms of perennial allergic rhinitis in a group of Taiwanese children, according to a study published in the July 2012 issue of the International Journal of Paediatric Otorhinolaryngology. The study was somewhat small, with just 62 children. In addition, the "open-label design makes it difficult to compare the clinical response between the 2 treatment groups, but any bias may have been decreased by using the crossover method," the researchers write. Another issue to be resolved is whether the benefit will extend beyond 12 weeks.

Article and research provided by Medscape

Thursday 18 July 2013

Spice up your joints

By Xavier Decup

For those with joints pain, arthritis, arthrosis or digestive problems, you may want to try adding turmeric to your diet. The turmeric is a small ginger-like root we often use in powdered for, most commonly in curries. It has a distinctive bright yellow colour. It has been used by lots of civilisations for medicinal treatment over the centuries. The principal component is curcumin which is a powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. Traditionally it is used to stimulate digestion and protect the digestive system, liver, bowels and stomach.

New research has shown that turmeric could protect and help the liver against inflammatory disease like chronic hepatitis for example (However people who have gall bladder problems or gall stones must avoid it). Researchers are also trying to measure how turmeric is involved in protecting the body against some cancers.

Scientists are interested in curcumin because of its anti-inflammatory role. Some trials have shown that taking turmeric or curcumin may be beneficial for patients who suffer from joints pain such as arthritis and arthrosis. It enhances the functioning of the cell membrane and decreases the formation of inflammatory molecules. Added to an anti-inflammatory drugs, it could reduce their side-effects and help to protect the stomach. There are some who need to check with their GP before including turmeric in their diet. This includes diabetics and those taking anti-coagulants or anti-acid stomach medications. So why not try including it in a good diet, exercise and good posture to help maintain joints and ease digestive troubles.

Monday 8 July 2013

Sunshine Medicine

by Gosia Gray

Summer time means for most of us holidays and lots of time outdoors in the sun. Unfortunately, this year we have not been so lucky with the weather.  Hopefully, summer will arrive eventually.  During these months of long days we can enjoy eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. We will store the vitamins and minerals from these foods in our bodies, where they will ultimately help our immune system through the long winter months. We must also remember to drink plenty of water so as not to become dehydrated.

 The sun also plays a big role in the formation and absorption of vitamins.  Most of the vitamin D in our body is created by a chemical reaction that starts with sunlight exposure to the skin. This is essential for the absorption of calcium from food to ensure healthy bones and teeth.  Traces of Vitamin D are also found in egg yolks, butter and cod liver oil. Insufficient vitamin D has been linked to depression. So, enjoy your summer and don’t forget to eat plenty of those fresh summer fruits.

Monday 1 July 2013

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? That is the question

By Giles Cleghorn

MMR Vaccination has raised its head again this year with the out brake of measles in Swansea.  The quagmire of facts verses fiction is very difficult to navigate.

Most people seem to hang their attention on Dr Andrew Wakefield as the cause of the low up take of MMR. As I was active in clinical work in London in the 1990’s I would like to remind people that Dr Wakefield was published in Lancet in 1998. The suspicion and fear around the MMR vaccination started in 1989-91 when parents began to report that their children have been allegedly damaged by the MMR vaccination. Up take of the MMR declined form 1990 onwards.

 Dr Wakefield’s research was very limited. He was struck off not for the research content but because he gathered his data unethically. He also made claims that his research showed conclusively that MMR was a causative agent in autistic children.  The medical community states categorically that there is no scientific evidence for MMR to be considered a causation in autistic children.

Personally in the last 15 years I have heard no claims from parents that their children have become autistic as a result of MMR. I wonder if the vaccines that were withdrawn might coincide with the rate of decrease of autism being diagnosed in the UK? Two MMR vaccinations were withdrawn from the market in the UK in 1992 due to concerns about their safety.  The Japanese government also withdrew all MMR in the wake of the public alarm in 1993 five years before the Lancet report that caused Andrew Wakefield to be struck of the medical register. According to Wikipedia, the Japanese withdrew the vaccine due to it causing cases of aseptic meningitis, not a connection to the increase of diagnosis of autism in the childhood population in Japan.  Japan did see a rise in autistic diagnosis from 1990 peaking in 1995. If you consider your peak inoculations are in 1990, then your peak diagnosis of any consequential autism will be diagnosed three to five years after the peak inoculations. Just a coincidence?

We cannot be sure and possibly never know if there has been a cover up or indeed that it may have been public misinterpretation of the facts. I am lead to conclude that MMR is said to be safe but to reduce risk and maximise protection one might consider single vaccinations of measles and rubella (mercury free). These are now available in the UK as a way if managing the minefield of mixed opinions.