Exciting new data presented at the International Liver Congress™ 2012 shows the gut microbiota's causal role in the development of diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), independent of obesity .(1) Though an early stage animal model, the French study highlights the possibility of preventing diabetes and NAFLD with gut microbiota transplantation - the engrafting of new microbiota, usually through administering faecal material from a healthy donor into the colon of a diseased recipient.(2) In the 16 week study, two groups of germ free mice received gut microbiota transplants; one set from donor mice displaying symptoms of insulin resistance and liver steatosis (responders), the other from normal mice (non responders). The donor mice were selected due to their response to being fed a high fat diet.
Rotavirus vaccines offer the best hope for preventing severe rotavirus disease and the deadly dehydrating diarrhea that it causes, particularly in low-resource settings where treatment for rotavirus infection is limited or unavailable, according to studies published in the April 2012 special supplement to the journal Vaccine. The special supplement, "Rotavirus Vaccines for Children in Developing Countries, " summarizes data on the performance of rotavirus vaccines to help maximize their impact in developing countries and adds to the growing body of evidence demonstrating that rotavirus vaccines are a safe, proven, cost-effective intervention that save children's lives. Diarrhea is one of the top two killers of children under five years of age worldwide, and rotavirus is the leading cause of severe and fatal diarrhea in infants and young children.
Scientists have discovered multiple gene switches in Salmonella that offer new ways to curb human infection. The discovery of the mechanisms of gene regulation could lead to the development of antibiotics to reduce the levels of disease caused by Salmonella. The breakthrough was made by Professor Jay Hinton, Stokes Professor of Microbial Pathogenesis, Trinity College Dublin and his research team* and has just been published in the leading journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Science Foundation Ireland funded the research. Salmonella causes food poisoning and kills around 400, 000 people worldwide every year. The bacteria are particularly effective at causing human infection because they can survive a series of harsh conditions that kill most bacteria including strong acids in the stomach and the anaerobic and salty environment of the intestine.
Computed tomography (CT) utilization in pediatric patients with non-traumatic abdominal pain increased in emergency departments each year between 1999 and 2007, according to a new study published online in the journal Radiology. The study authors found no corresponding increase in ultrasound use during the same period, despite research supporting it as an important diagnostic tool for assessing pediatric abdominal pain. Non-traumatic abdominal pain is a common source of pediatric visits to the emergency department. Physicians often order CT exams when abdominal pain suggests appendicitis. While CT scans provide rapid, accurate diagnosis, they expose patients to ionizing radiation - an important consideration for children due to their longer life expectancy and increased susceptibility to radiation effects.
For many people with gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, acid reflux drugs are the answer to their woes, curbing the chronic heartburn and regurgitation of food or sour liquid characteristic of the disorder. But when it comes to Barrett's esophagus, a condition commonly found in people with GERD, acid control may be less important than beating back another bodily fluid - bile. A new study published in the Annals of Surgery shows that bile - a digestive fluid that leaks backwards from the stomach into the esophagus along with acid in patients with GERD - plays a critical and previously unrecognized role in the development of Barrett's esophagus. Study authors say the findings provide new avenues for the prevention and treatment of the condition, which is the only known cause of a rare but often deadly type of cancer called esophageal adenocarcinoma.