Health bites

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 November, 2013, 7:48pm
UPDATED : Monday, 11 November, 2013, 7:53pm

Chronic stress hits your genes Constantly overstressed? Perhaps it's time to review your lifestyle before it's too late. New research on mice and humans, led by Ohio State University scientists, found that chronic stress changes gene activity in immune cells before they are released from bone marrow making them more inflammatory than normal - as if primed to fight a non-existent infection or trauma. This can increase risks of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other disorders. While the response from the nervous system is important for survival, prolonged activation can have grave health effects. The research appears in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

A gut feeling Bacterial disturbances in the gut may play a role in autoimmune attacks on the joints, say scientists from the New York University School of Medicine. Using sophisticated DNA analysis to compare gut bacteria from faecal samples of rheumatoid arthritis patients and healthy individuals, the researchers found that a species of intestinal bacteria known as Prevotella copri was more abundant in newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis patients than in treated chronic sufferers or healthy people. This is the first evidence in humans that the autoimmune joint disease may be mediated in part by specific intestinal bacteria. However, it remains unclear whether there's a casual link between the bacteria and disease, and why the bacteria growth seems to take off in newly diagnosed patients.

Dietitians should blog Few food blogs contain dietitian-approved entries, and nutritionists at Boston's Simmons College suggest that dietitians should be part of the food-blogging culture to promote healthier recipes. The nutritional values of 96 entrée recipes on six popular food blogs were studied, and the results published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour. Overall, they found the sampled recipes were acceptable in calories but excessive in saturated fat and sodium. They say this creates an opportunity for nutrition educators and dietitians to educate clients, partner with bloggers, or begin their own food blogs.