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How the bacteria in our gut affect our cravings for food. We've long known that that the gut is responsible for digesting food and expelling the waste. More recently, we realised the gut has many more important functions and acts a type of mini-brain, affecting our mood and appetite. Now, new research suggests it might also play a role in our cravings for certain types of food. How does the mini-brain work? The gut mini-brain produces a wide range of hormones and contains many of the same neurotransmitters as the brain. The gut also contains neurons that are located in the walls of the gut in a distributed network known as the enteric nervous system.

In fact, there are more of these neurons in the gut than in the entire spinal cord. The enteric nervous system communicates to the brain via the brain-gut axis and signals flow in both directions. Let's consider what happens to the brain-gut axis when we eat a meal. This brings us to the topic of food cravings. Gut microbiota As many as 90% of our cells are bacterial.

Practical implications. The vitamins your doctor takes. Which supplements really work, and for what, by Victoria Lambert Whether you think supplementing your diet by taking additional vitamins, minerals and super-nutrients is common sense or money flushed away, there’s no ignoring the pharmacy shelves heaving with fizzy tablets, capsules, and even teas. But do any of these pills actually serve a purpose — even as a catch-all? Here’s some with evidence behind them. Vitamin B Brain function Who says? The Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Ageing found Vitamin B12 and B6 and folic acid slowed brain shrinkage by an average of 30 per cent a year in patients with possible early stage dementia. How much? Fish oil Mental health Who says? How much? Ginkgo biloba Memory Who says? How much? Vitamin D Strong bones Who says? How much? Peppermint Who says? How much? Zinc Beating colds Who says? How much? Vitamin C Speedy healing Who says? How much? Garlic Heart health Who says?

Of cancer. How much? Horse chestnut seed Legs Who says? How much? Why Late Nights Are Bad for Your Immune System. Jet lag, shift work, and even late nights staring at your tablet or smartphone may be making you sick. That's because the body's internal clock is set for two 12-hour periods of light and darkness, and when this rhythm is thrown off, so is the immune system.

One reason may be that the genes that set the body clock are intimately connected to certain immune cells, according to a new study. The finding “was a happy accident," says Lora Hooper, an immunologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. She and her colleagues were studying NFIL3, a protein that guides the development of certain immune cells and turns on the activity of others. The gene for this protein is mutated in some human patients with inflammatory bowel disease, and mice lacking the gene for NFIL3, the team found, had more so-called TH17 cells in their intestines. These cells are a type of immune cell known as a T cell. In a final experiment, the researchers gave the mice jet lag. How an 1836 Famine Altered the Genes of Children Born Decades Later. Fat profits: how the food industry cashed in on obesity. When you walk into a supermarket, what do you see? Walls of highly calorific, intensely processed food, tweaked by chemicals for maximum "mouth feel" and "repeat appeal" (addictiveness).

This is what most people in Britain actually eat. Pure science on a plate. The food, in short, that is making the planet fat. And next to this? In the UK, 60% of us are overweight, yet the "fat" (and I include myself in this category, with a BMI of 27, slap-bang average for the overweight British male) are not lazy and complacent about our condition, but ashamed and desperate to do something about it. When obesity as a global health issue first came on the radar, the food industry sat up and took notice. Weight Watchers, created by New York housewife Jean Nidetch in the early 1960s, was bought by Heinz in 1978, who in turn sold the company in 1999 to investment firm Artal for $735m. You would think there might be a problem here: the food industry has one ostensible objective – and that's to sell food.

The epigenetics of fat: Altered states. Conversion tables :: volume, capacity. Multipotent vs. pluripotent stem cells. Multipotent vs. pluripotent stem cells. Explainer: why do women go through menopause? A theory suggests that women stop menstruating when they have a whole third of their lives to live to help take care of their grandchildren Image: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock Menstruation is a reproductive quirk that humans share with only a few other mammals.

But even stranger is the fact that women stop menstruating when they have a whole third of their lives left to live. All animals have a finite reproductive life. The ability to bear children gradually declines throughout a woman’s reproductive life. But when the fertility free-fall of menopause kicks in between the ages of 45 and 55, complete sterility is the inevitable result. In contrast, males experience only a slight decrease in fertility in their senior years. Giving kids a head start Evolutionary theory predicts that life span and reproductive span should synchronise – why go on living if you are unable to go on breeding, bolstering the contribution of your genes to the next generation? Grandmothers and daughters-in-law. Embryonic stem cell research: an ethical dilemma. A human embryo can split into twins or triplets until about 14 days after fertilization Egg and sperm: some people believe an embryo must be fully protected from conception onwards (Wellcome Images/Spike Walker) Human blastocyst on the tip of a pin: embryonic stem cells can be grown from cells found in the blastocyst (Wellcome Images/Yorgos Nikas) Some people think an embryo deserves special protection from about 14 days after fertilization Many patients could one day benefit from embryonic stem cell research The rules controlling embryonic stem cell research vary around the world and have been the topic of much discussion The ethical dilemma Embryonic stem cell research poses a moral dilemma.

The duty to prevent or alleviate sufferingThe duty to respect the value of human life In the case of embryonic stem cell research, it is impossible to respect both moral principles.To obtain embryonic stem cells, the early embryo has to be destroyed. What moral status does the human embryo have? 1. 2. 3. Friendly Viruses Protect Us Against Bacteria. Bacteria can be friends and foes—causing infection and disease, but also helping us slim down and even combating acne. Now, a new study reveals that viruses have a dual nature as well. For the first time, researchers have shown that they can help our bodies fight off invading microbes. "This is a very important story," says Marilyn Roossinck, a viral ecologist at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, who was not involved in the work. "We don't have all that many examples of beneficial viruses. " One of our most important lines of defense against bacterial invaders is mucus.

"Mucus is actually a really cool and complex substance," says Jeremy Barr, a microbiologist at San Diego State University in California and lead author of the new study. Mucus is also home to phages, viruses that infect and kill bacteria. To find out, Barr and his colleagues grew human lung tissue in the lab. Geeky Medics | the revision site by medics, for medics… MedicoNotebook. Acupuncture research – the path least scientific? A recent, rather flattering, article on acupuncture on this website holds a mirror to a broader problem in the world of acupuncture research. A problem that goes to the heart of the most fundamental scientific principles. There’s no doubt that acupuncture is gaining traction on the grounds that it holds up under scientific interrogation. But does it really? Let’s go back to basics.

The scientific method involves proposing a theory based on plausible principles, and then trying to disprove it. Let’s say the theory proposes that a particular treatment is effective for a certain condition. First, we ask whether it’s based on plausible principles. Shaky foundations Acupuncture is based on implausible principles. Perhaps despite its implausible principles, acupuncture point combinations are based on centuries of practice and consistent observations of this effect.

For a number of reasons, this estimate should be considered wildly conservative – and this is for just one condition. It’s exam time! Can smart drugs make you smarter at this testing time? While a cup of strong coffee is probably the choice of drink for most people studying for exams, perhaps coupled with a healthy diet , some exercise and sleep, many students will be taking something stronger and, it’s claimed, more effective.

So-called ‘brain steroids’ or ‘smart drugs’ can be purchased on campuses, or off the internet, for a few pounds. By improving concentration, attention, memory and alertness, students are increasingly using them to study longer and perform better during exams. A report by The Academy of Medical Sciences in 2008 showed that even a small 10% improvement in a memory score could lead to a higher A-level grade or degree class, which is a big improvement. Provigil, also known as modafinil, is licensed in Britain to treat tiredness associated with the rare sleeping disorders narcolepsy and sleep apnoea. It can easily be purchased online. The journal Nature found large-scale use within academia as a whole, not just among students.

Is taking them cheating? Handwritten Tutorials - Videos. Mitochondrial Me | Blogging the mitochondrial world. Appendix A: Word Parts and What They Mean. What Causes an Itch? That and Other Common Body Quirks Explained at! Whether uncomfortable, embarrassing or just plain weird, there are some pretty funky things that our bodies do. Curious about the causes of such reactions as hiccups, goose bumps and eye twitches, we spoke with Eric Plasker, DC, author of The 100 Year Lifestyle , to get the real scoop. Read on to discover the common reasons for 14 peculiar bodily functions. Yawns If your body is low on oxygen, your mouth opens wide and tries to suck more in. Yawning is a way to regulate the amount of carbon dioxide and oxygen in your blood. Unfortunately, yawns are nearly impossible to stifle. Eye Twitches Serious eye twitches can be a symptom of neurological disorders, but often there is a more mundane explanation.

Itches According to Dr. Hiccups If you’ve frequently got a case of the hiccups, try slowing down when you eat and drink, suggests Dr. Goose Bumps Those tiny bumps that cover your skin when you’re cold or scared are actually a defense mechanism. Sneezes Coughs Charley Horses Shivers Ear Ringing. Armando hasudungan.