Gut "bugs" may prevent food allergies
Gut bacteria may have another benefit to add to the list: fighting food allergies. Researchers from the University of Chicago found that bacteria from within the digestive system may be able to be converted into a medicine that could block certain food allergies, such as allergic reactions to peanuts.
Scientists experimented on mice to test the effectiveness of the bacteria. A group of mice that grew up in sterile environments without any bacteria in their gut exhibited strong immune responses to peanuts. Scientists then added different strains of bacteria into their guts. The Clostridia group of bacteria was successful in preventing the allergic reaction to peanuts. This type of bacteria blocks the allergen from entering the blood stream and triggering an immune response.
The initial testing was performed only on mice so far, but researchers are hopeful that a drug from gut bacteria can be created to treat food allergies in the future. This approach could include desensitization therapies, where people are exposed to small doses of the bacteria until their immune system is used to it.
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Sourced from: bbc.com, Gut bugs ‘help prevent allergies’
Published On: Aug 26, 2014
Medical marijuana may cut painkiller deaths
A new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found there are fewer deaths from painkiller overdoses in states where medical marijuana is legal.
Researchers looked at painkiller overdoses between 1999 and 2010 in 13 states that have legalized medical marijuana. The rate of painkiller overdoses increased across the board during those years, but states where medical marijuana is legal had a decreased rate of painkiller overdoses by 25 percent compared to states that had not legalized medical marijuana. The percentage of painkiller overdoses steadily decreased over the study period. By 2010, there were 1,700 fewer deaths than would be expected.
This study is one of the first to record population-level data that shows the potential benefits of medical marijuana. However, the study is not clear about how medical marijuana could influence opioid user behaviors. It is speculated that people who had prescriptions for painkillers may now be using medical marijuana more often to deal with chronic pain.
The researchers acknowledged that further studies are needed to better understand this potential connection.
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Sourced from: livescience.com, Medical Marijuana May Reduce Painkiller-Related Deaths
Published On: Aug 26, 2014