The fiber consumed in fruits and vegetables seems to help quiet the overzealous immune system activity that leads to such conditions as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and possibly even colon cancer. Now it appears that a diet rich in fiber may also fend off asthma, an inflammatory condition that constricts the airways of the lung, by changing the way some immune cells are produced in the bone marrow.When we eat plentiful fruits and vegetables, the bacteria that occur naturally in our intestines help us digest the fiber. The microbes take “soluble” fiber such as pectin—found in apples, pears, berries, citrus fruits, and onions—and ferment it into specific types of fatty acids that interact with immune cells, helping keep inflammation in check. Whether this anti-inflammatory effect extends beyond the digestive tract is less clear. But the fatty acids in question are able to circulate through the bloodstream, perhaps hooking up with immune cells throughout the body.That could mean that dietary fiber influences other inflammatory diseases, such as asthma. It’s known that asthma has increased in westernized countries since the 1960s, during which time the amount of fiber consumed has also declined. 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After 2 weeks, the researchers had the animals sniff an allergen derived from dust mites (a key trigger of human allergy and asthma). These mice showed exaggerated asthmatic responses, including inflammatory compounds in the lungs and the constricted airways that cause the wheezing and shortness of breath so familiar to asthmatic patients.On the other hand, mice that ate a diet rich in pectin for 2 weeks before getting the dust mite extract showed a reduced inflammatory response. Levels of the immune cells known as eosinophils, and of the antibody immunoglobulin E—both usually increased in allergies and asthma—were almost halved, and the mice showed less constriction of their airways.To see if the gut bacteria were responsible for the fiber-mediated benefits, the scientists analyzed the feces of mice on normal, low-, and high-fiber diets. In the animals given pectin, the kinds of bacteria best able to produce the anti-inflammatory fatty acids were about twice as prevalent as those of other bacteria more common in a low-fiber diet. On closer examination, the researchers found proportionally higher amounts of the fatty acids not only in the stool of the pectin-eating mice, but also in their blood.Were the fatty acids in the bloodstream telling the immune system to back off, and was this message enough to call off an asthma attack? To find out, the researchers injected the mice with propionate, one of those fatty acids. After 2 weeks, the rodents again showed reduced inflammatory markers and less constriction of the airways in response to the dust mite treatment, the team reports online today in Nature Medicine. What’s more, key immune cells called dendritic cells behaved differently. Dendritic cells can either scale down immune system activity or ramp up the response, depending on the signals they send to other types of immune cells. In mice on a high-fiber diet, the dendritic cells were less able to turn on the so-called effector cells, which are key players in allergic asthma in mice and humans.In the final phase of the experiment, the researchers found that the mice given propionate were actually producing more of the immature “precursor” cells that develop into the dendritic cells that protected against asthma. “Our study is the first to show that diet can influence the production of immune cells in the bone marrow, which could have major implications given that immune cell precursors leave the bone marrow and spread to tissues throughout the body, including the lung,” Marsland says.According to Gary Huffnagle, an immunologist at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, researchers had expected that if compounds produced by bacteria did influence asthma, they would do so in lung tissue. The chain of events connecting dietary changes, altered metabolism of gut bacteria, a shift in immune cell production in the bone marrow, and relief of asthmatic inflammation is an exciting development, he says. “No one has ever put that all together before. The study is a beautiful convergence of observations.”Rigorous scientific work needs to be done, Marsland believes, to test whether dietary supplements including purified propionate, or some similar fatty acid, might be beneficial for people with asthma or for those who don’t have access to fruits and vegetables. In the meantime, he says, a balanced diet rich in fiber is the best way to get the anti-inflammatory benefit.
Every evening, three generations of worried Angatt family women meet outside a half-built bungalow in this village in India’s southern Kerala state.Nearly six months after the house’s foundation was laid and its two floors raised, construction has slowed to a near halt. The reason is never discussed out loud – only whispered cautiously.“My husband said there are problems in the Gulf. Everything is suddenly more expensive and he is not able to save as much,” murmured Faseela Angatt, 29, who is overseeing the building while her husband works in the finance department of a Dubai firm.Read it at Reuters Related Items
Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “Just give us enough space,” he said and the Red Cross would set up what they usually do in calamity areas.It’s a sound, humanitarian proposal, but the idea and image of Cebu City, Queen City of the South, the once proud “Second to None” city of yore, behaving like a disaster zone when the greatest dislocation of people is across the channel in Bohol province, does not do justice to the city.FEATURED STORIESNEWSINFOSenate to probe Tolentino’s ‘novel legal theories’ on oral agreementsNEWSINFOLocsin wants to drop ‘visas upon arrival’ privilegeNEWSINFOTolentino: No more debate with Drilon on China dealConsider a fourth option.While City Hall officials debate on how to spend a P103 million calamity fund or reach Mayor Michael Rama’s target of P1.5 billion for a dream 1,000-bed hospital, can we ask private hospitals to fill the gap? Taipei to offer migrant workers free medical checks, haircuts 4.0 quake shakes Davao Oriental town Immediately after the quake, about 130 CCMC patients were evacuated. Some spent a week in tents or the fire department’s lobby across the street before being transferred to private hospitals by special arrangement.The sight of newborns and infants in their cribs, with exhausted mothers fanning them in the humid chapel converted into a nursery, was heartbreaking.If a fiscal incentive is needed to get 10 percent or 20 percent extra non-revenue beds, City Hall could offer tax breaks to private hospitals.Debate and fund-raising take time. Mayor Rama and the City Council, who don’t see eye to eye on many fiscal matters, can take till Christmas and Sinulog to raise a single hollow block.In the meantime, the weakest and poorest residents of Cebu City have nowhere to go for hospital care that doesn’t require a P5,000 deposit. (The overburdened state-run Vicente Sotto Medical Memorial Center has its limits.)The need is now. A tent city isn’t good enough – shouldn’t be “OK lang” – for charity patients of a city that strives to be among the best in Asia.Read Next Tolentino: No more debate with Drilon on China deal MOST READ Cebu City hosts several modern hospitals with first-rate medical staff and excellent facilities.MORE STORIESnewsinfo4.0 quake shakes Davao Oriental townnewsinfoLOOK: MMDA conducts 2nd round of clearing ops in Pasig, PaterosnewsinfoDemocrats fight over health care, immigration at debateMORE STORIESnewsinfo4.0 quake shakes Davao Oriental townnewsinfoLOOK: MMDA conducts 2nd round of clearing ops in Pasig, PaterosnewsinfoDemocrats fight over health care, immigration at debateThe big three – Chong Hua Hospital, Cebu Doctors’ Hospital and Perpetual Succour Hospital – have all invested in the expansion of their buildings and facilities in recent years, eyeing bigger markets beyond Cebu through medical tourism.What would it take for each private institution to pledge here and now, 10 percent or 20 percent of its beds for CCMC’s displaced patients and future charity cases?Ten percent is a classic amount for tithing in church. A private hospital with bolder corporate social responsibility (CSR) could offer 20 percent.To be a true response to the emergency of the Oct. 15 earthquake and the sudden loss of the 300-bed CCMC, the offer should be on top of their current charity wards.ADVERTISEMENT The fate of the quake-damaged Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) remains in limbo amid the debate over whether to demolish and build a new one or retrofit the cracked structure.A third interim option was offered by the Philippine National Red Cross over the weekend. Its chairman Richard Gordon offered to set up a temporary tent hospital.ADVERTISEMENT Fake cop accosts real cops, is arrested in Pateros LATEST STORIES Bodjie Pascua slams Palace stance on making Dengvaxia usable again PCSO to focus on improving transparency of gaming activities PLAY LIST 03:26PCSO to focus on improving transparency of gaming activities01:39Sotto open to discuss, listen to pros and cons of divorce bill06:02Senate to probe Tolentino’s ‘novel legal theories’ on oral agreements01:50Palace open to make Dengvaxia usable again as dengue cases spike01:49House seeks probe on ‘massive corruption’ in PCSO01:37PCSO estimates P250M in Lotto revenue loss due to suspension LOOK: MMDA conducts 2nd round of clearing ops in Pasig, Pateros Bodjie Pascua slams Palace stance on making Dengvaxia usable again SMC bags Bulacan airport project View comments