Showing posts with label Healh. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Healh. Show all posts

April 17, 2013

Beer Taste Triggers Good Feelings in { The Brain }




The taste of beer, without its alcoholic effects, may be enough to trigger the release
 of the .ure chemical dopamine
 


The taste of beer, without its alcoholic effects, may be enough to trigger the release of the pleasure chemical dopamine in the brain, a study finds.
To see how the taste of beer affects the brain, researchers gave a group of men tiny tastes of beer, and as the men sipped the beer, the researchers scanned the men’s brains. After a taste of beer, the men's brains showed a notable release of dopamine, a brain chemical associated with the pleasurable experience of consuming alcohol and other drugs. The effect was even greater among men who had a family history of alcoholism.
The findings are not surprising, scientists say, but having a way to assess predisposition to alcohol abuse could be useful.

"We believe this is the first experiment in humans to show that the taste of an alcoholic drink alone, without any intoxicating effect from the alcohol, can elicit this dopamine activity in the brain's reward centers," the study's senior author, neuroscientist David Kareken of the Indiana University School of Medicine, said in a statement. The findings were detailed online today (April 15) in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.
Dopamine, a brain chemical widely associated with pleasure, has long been linked to the consumption of alcohol and other drugs. Sensory cues — such as tastes, smells or the sight of a bar — can elicit cravings to drink and cause relapses in recovering alcoholics. Dopamine may be critically involved in such cravings, scientists believe. (11 Interesting Facts About Hangovers)
In the study, researchers gave 49 male volunteers a tiny taste (half an ounce, or 15 milliliters) of their favorite beer over the course of 15 minutes — enough to taste the beer but not enough to cause a change in blood-alcohol level or intoxication. At other times, the volunteers were given a sports drink or water, for comparison.

To study the effect of beer's taste on dopamine receptors, the researchers scanned the volunteers' brains using Positron Emission Tomography, which uses the radiation emitted by a radioactive chemical to produce a 3D image of the brain.
The scans revealed higher increases in dopamine after the men tasted beer compared with tasting the sports drink or water — suggesting that the taste of alcohol is enough to prompt a pleasurable response in the brain. The men also reported higher beer cravings after tasting beer than water or the sports drink.
Furthermore, the men who had a family history of alcoholism showed an even greater spike in dopamine levels after they tasted the beer, so the dopamine response may be a heritable risk factor for alcoholism.
"This paper demonstrates that taste alone impacts on the brain functions associated with desire," Peter Anderson, a professor of substance use, policy and practice at Newcastle University, U.K., said in a statement. But Anderson noted that “With regard to the family history effect, this is quite difficult to assess and know what it means so we can’t be too sure of an effect or how strong it might be."
The effects of the alcohol itself on the brain, and not just the taste, could not be ruled out, Anderson added.
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This article originally appeared on LiveScience.com. Copyright 2013 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


January 17, 2013

For That Infection Would you take antibiotic 34% rate Excrement 94% cure?


One day in 2008, Ruth, a Long Island teacher, walked into her doctor's office with a container of a relative's feces, lay down, and had her doctor pump the stool inside her. Ruth had been suffering for nearly two years with an intestinal infection calledClostridium difficile, which caused her to suffer from excruciating diarrhea. She had lost 20 pounds. Her hair was falling out. Friends asked if she had cancer.
Then she met Lawrence Brandt, a gastroenterologist at the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx who believed he had developed a procedure to cure people of recurrent c. diffinfections: fecal transplant. Brandt has been inserting feces into his patients for a decade now and claims to be solving their problems nearly 100 percent of the time. If his method really works—and he's not the only doctor who believes that it does—then we may have found a viable, if weird, solution to a serious problem. C. diffinfects 250,000 Americans each year and killed more than 20,000 from 1999 to 2004. (Researchers estimate that 13 out of every 1,000 patients admitted to a hospital will pick up the bug.) Antibiotics will always be the first response to such infections, but when those fail, a fecal transplant could be the next step. For Ruth, at least, the procedure was a godsend. "I'm cured," she said. "Period. End of story. Cured."

Evidence has been accumulating for years that gut infections can be treated by introducing beneficial bacteria. A reliable source of healthy bacteria may be healthy people’s feces. Two years ago, Emily Walker explained how and why fecal transfer may cure stubborn and painfulClostridium difficile infections. This week, the New England Journal of Medicine published the best support for the treatment yet: In a randomized, controlled trial, antibiotic treatment cured 31 percent of patients, while fecal transplant cured 94 percent. The original article is below.  
Here's the basic idea. People suffering from the hardy C. diff bacteria are generally prescribed a powerful antibiotic. Problem is, the drugs don't just kill the invaders; they also wipe out much of the beneficial bacteria in the gut. With these "good" microorganisms out of the way, any C. diff stragglers have a much easier time regrouping for a second bout of illness. If there were some way to respawn the beneficial bacteria in the intestines, such re-infections could be warded off. Some people, like Ruth, turn to expensive probiotic supplements. (At one point she was spending $350 on them every week.) But in certain cases, a patient who has lost nearly all of her good bacteria will find it nearly impossible to get them back. A fecal transplant seems to work as a sort of mega-probiotic, allowing doctors to repopulate a patient's intestines with the appropriate microorganisms by placing a robust sample directly into her gut.

Doctors recommend that the fecal donor be someone close to the patient—a family member, perhaps, or a spouse. Scientists reason that when people live in close quarters, they are exposed to similar bacteria—good and bad—and are likely to have had a similar set of bacteria living in their guts before anyone got sick.
The donor takes a stool softener the night before and then gives a full morning bowel movement to the recipient, who takes it to a doctor for screening. It's important to make sure that the sample doesn't contain any parasites or other pathogens, such as hepatitis, salmonella, or HIV. Once the transplant material has been cleared, the doctor mixes it with saline to make about a pint of liquid with the consistency of a milkshake. This is pumped into the patient's colon using a colonoscope or endoscope, or siphoned into the stomach via a nasogastric tube. (The latter method is considered more dangerous, since there's a chance feces will end up in the lungs. Colonoscopies carry their own risk of bowel perforation.)
And then there's the do-it-yourself crowd. All you need is a bottle of saline, a 2-quart enema bag, and one standard kitchen blender. Mike Silverman, a University of Toronto physician who wrote up a guide to homespun fecal transplants for the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, says it's entirely safe to do the procedure this way, provided that a doctor gets involved at some point to screen the donor sample. He felt he needed to draw up the instructions because administrators at his hospital wouldn't allow their doctors to perform a procedure that hasn't been validated in a large, peer-reviewed study.

It's true there's been no major clinical trial of fecal transplants, but the procedure appears in the medical literature at least as far back as 1958. That's when a Denver-based surgeon named Ben Eiseman performed four of the procedures to rid patients of a form of colitis thought to be caused by C. diff. His plan was to administer "normal feces into the colon of patients with the disease," so as to "re-establish the balance of nature." Three of his four patients were near death before the fecal enema. After, they recovered. This small experiment suggested a "simple yet rational therapeutic method," Eiseman and his colleagues wrote, that deserved careful evaluation.
Now we're beginning to see some more extensive studies. Mark Mellow, a gastroenterologist at INTEGRIS Health in Oklahoma City, recently presented a paper showing that 15 out of 16 C. diff patients whom he'd provided with a fecal transplant remained disease-free after five months. Several other papers presented at the meeting showed similar positive effects, and in every case, symptoms disappeared almost immediately after the transplant.
Still, the evidence supporting fecal transplant comprises just about 20 published case reports involving about 200 patients. Until a large-scale, randomized trial is published in a big-name medical journal, most doctors will likely follow the example of the University of Toronto and hold off on performing the transplant. Indeed, relatively few gastroenterologists have even tried it. Colleen Kelly, a gastroenterologist at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, surveyed 72 gastroenterologists at a recent international medical meeting and found that only seven had performed the procedure. Nearly half said they'd be willing to perform a transplant on a sick patient, but the rest said they weren't ready yet. "I really think in another couple of years, it's going to be something that everyone's doing," said Kelly, who has performed the operation 22 times herself.
Infectious-disease experts are a little more tempered in their enthusiasm. According to Vincent Young of the University of Michigan, the data look promising but he wouldn't perform a fecal transplant himself because there are too many unknowns about what bad things might be lurking in a stool sample. William Schaffner, president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, warned that the procedure is still in its early days and not yet ready for prime time. (The American College of Gastroenterology, for its part, has no official position on fecal transplants.)
But the true believers have even bigger plans. They hope fecal transplants might be used to treat other gut-related conditions, such as ulcerative colitis and even obesity. Some very overweight people, for example, are thought to have more of a certain type of bacteria in their intestines, which causes them to extract extra calories from complex carbohydrates. With this in mind, researchers found that fat mice would lose weight if transplanted with feces from thin ones. Later, a team of Dutch researchers tried the same approach in humans: No one lost weight, but the fecal recipients did show a significant improvement in their ability to regulate insulin. (That study is under review and should be published in the next few months.)
For all its promise, it's unlikely fecal transplants will take off any time soon. Not because patients are grossed out by the procedure—in fact, doctors say that long-standing sufferers from C. diff are eager to have it done—but because there's so little funding for large-scale clinical trials. Drug or medical-device companies usually foot the bill for such research, but in the case of a natural, patent-free treatment like this, no company stands to turn a major profit. If anything, fecal transplants would end up costing the pharmaceutical companies money: A single pill of vancomycin—one of two antibiotics used to treat C. diff—costs about $55, and the average dose is four pills daily over a two-week stretch. A glass of shit, on the other hand, costs very little. That doesn't mean we'll never get the much-needed data: Lawrence Brandt, the gastroenterologist in the Bronx, is applying for a grant with the National Institutes of Health for a small, double-blind, controlled study. He says he'll need about 40 patients, and he's hoping to get started right away.
The writer became educated on the subject matter by wikipedia and posted the entired post as it appeared at Slate on line



December 21, 2012

How Far is Actor Jared Leto Going With His Weight?

Actor Jared Leto is rail-thin after going on a drastic crash diet for a month for a film role.

Actor Jared Leto starved himself for a month to play a transsexual woman battling AIDs in the drama "Dallas Buyers Club."

In startling photos unveiled on photographerTerry Richardson's blog, the lanky 5-foot-9 Leto lifts his shirt to show off his tiny, concave stomach. Jared, 40, also shaved his eyebrows and body hair to look like an emaciated and sickly AIDs patient.
Leto, who's known for his obsessive commitment to his acting roles, lost the weight by fasting for almost four weeks.
"Your body goes through weird stages," he told New York magazine. "Sometimes it's hard to hold on to water. But for me, it's not about the most weight I can lose, it's more to represent the character. I'm focused on what it means to be a transsexual woman."
Jared, a vegan who normally hikes, cycles and does yoga to stay fit, had hoped to experience the enlightenment some people say they experience while fasting.
"Historically, people have done it for pursuit of self, to achieve a meditative state, so I'm hoping for that, and not the other things." he laughed. "It's not necessarily a bad thing."
Meanwhile, Leto's co-star, Matthew McConaughey, is also raising eyebrows after losing 38 pounds off his usually muscular body to play the lead role in "Dallas Buyers Club."
Not surprisingly, the 6-foot McConaughey, who crash-dieted from a strapping 181 pounds to a gaunt 143 pounds, can't wait to sink his teeth into a juicy cheeseburger after shooting wraps.
“I will have some 70%-beef, 30%-fat ground beef, maybe a half-pound cheeseburger with another three types of cheese," said McConaughey. "I'll prepare it all and I'll make sure that it takes three hours just to prepare.
While dramatically changing his body for a film role is new to the athletic Matthew, it's something Jared has done before. In 2007, Leto gained a whopping 67 pounds to play John Lennonassassin Mark David Chapman for the drama "Chapter 27."
Jared piled on the weight by gorging on pints of ice cream spiked with olive oil and soy sauce. In 2008, Leto insisted he would never again gain weight for a film role because carrying the excessive weight on his slender frame damaged his health.
"I'd never do it again; it definitely gave me some problems," he said. "I don't know if it was gout, but I had a definite problem with my feet.
"Towards the end of the shoot, one of the glaring issues was the pain I had with my feet. I couldn't walk for long distances; I had a wheelchair because it was so painful. My body was in shock from the amount of weight I gained. It took about a year to get back to a place that felt semi-normal. I don't know if I'll ever be back to the place I was physically."

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