Probiotics found to reduce hepatic encephalopathy

Contact: Dimple Natali easlpressoffice@cohnwolfe.com 44-790-013-8904 European Association for the Study of the Liver

Amsterdam, The Netherlands,Thursday 25 April 2013: Probiotics could emerge as a treatment plan to manage hepatic encephalopathy (HE) therapy after a new study  announced at the International Liver Congress™ 2013 found they significantly reduced development of the notoriously difficult-to-treat disease.

The study analysed the efficacy of probiotics in preventing the development of HE in 160 cirrhotic patients over a period of approximately nine months and found significant improvements in reducing patients’ arterial ammonia levels after three months of treatment with probiotics.

Ammonia, produced by gut bacteria, is thought to be one of the main mediators of cerebral dysfunction in HE. Probiotics work by enriching the gut flora with a non-urease producing microorganisms, which decrease ammonia production.  Probiotics are live microorganisms (mostly bacteria) that produce a health benefit on the host when administered in adequate amounts.

Twice as many patients taking a placebo developed overt HE (the study’s primary endpoint) compared to patients taking probiotics in the form of a capsule.

EASL’s Treasurer, Prof. Mauro Bernardi welcomed the findings and said they would provide a positive impact for cirrhotic patients at risk of developing HE for whom the prognosis is typically very poor.

Prof. Bernardi said: “Hepatic encephalopathy is an insidious disease that’s caused by an accumulation of toxins in the blood that are normally removed by the liver. Treatment normally involves the use of antibiotics or laxatives to suppress the production of toxic substances in the intestine but there is still a great deal of room for improvement so it will be exciting to see the results of further studies to determine if clinicians have a new form of treatment on the cards.”

Hepatic encephalopathy is a spectrum of neuropsychiatric abnormalities including personality changes, intellectual impairment and reduced levels of consciousness in patients with liver failure, after exclusion of other known brain disease.

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Disclaimer: the data referenced in this release is based on the submitted abstract. More recent data may be presented at the International Liver Congress™ 2013.

Notes to Editors

About EASL

EASL is the leading European scientific society involved in promoting research and education in hepatology. EASL attracts the foremost hepatology experts and has an impressive track record in promoting research in liver disease, supporting wider education and promoting changes in European liver policy.

EASL’s main focus on education and research is delivered through numerous events and initiatives, including:

  • The International Liver CongressTM which is the main scientific and professional event in hepatology worldwide
  • Meetings including Monothematic and Special conferences, Post Graduate courses and other endorsed meetings that take place throughout the year
  • Clinical and Basic Schools of Hepatology, a series of events covering different aspects in the field of hepatology
  • Journal of Hepatology published monthly
  • Participation in a number of policy initiatives at European levelM.

About The International Liver CongressTM 2013

The International Liver Congress™ 2013, the 48th annual meeting of the European Association for the study of the Liver, is being held at the RAI Convention Centre in Amsterdam from April 24 – 28, 2013.

The congress annually attracts in excess of 9,000 clinicians and scientists from around the world and provides an opportunity to hear the latest research, perspectives and treatments of liver disease from principal experts in the field.

References:

1 M.K Lunia, AN OPEN LABEL RANDOMISED CONTROLLED TRIAL OF PROBIOTICS FOR PRIMARY PROPHYLAXIS OF HEPATIC ENCEPHALOPATHY IN PATIENTS WITH CIRRHOSIS. Presented at the International Liver CongressTM 2013

2 A. Agrawal, Secondary Prophylaxis of Hepatic Encephalopathy in Cirrhosis, An Open-Label, Randomized Controlled Trial of Lactulose, Probiotics, and No Therapy. Available  http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/767674_3 [Accessed 9/4/13]

3 World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organizationof the United Nations. Health and Nutritional Properties of Probiotics in Food including Powder Milk with Live Lactic Acid Bacteria. Ava http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/fs_management/en/probiotics.pdf [Accessed 9/4/13]

Probiotics may help ward off postpartum obesity

2009 study posted for filing

Contact: Emma Ross
rosswrite@mac.com
31-020-544-4125
International Association for the Study of Obesity

Study in pregnant women suggests probiotics may help ward off obesity

Amsterdam, the Netherlands: One year after giving birth, women were less likely to have the most dangerous kind of obesity if they had been given probiotics from the first trimester of pregnancy, found new research that suggests manipulating the balance of bacteria in the gut may help fight obesity.

Probiotics are bacteria that help maintain a healthy bacterial balance in the digestive tract by reducing the growth of harmful bacteria. They are part of the normal digestive system and play a role in controlling inflammation. Researchers have for many years been studying the potential of using probiotic supplementation to address a number of intestinal diseases. More recently, obesity researchers have started to investigate whether the balance of bacteria in the gut might play a role in making people fat and whether adjusting that balance could help.

“The results of our study, the first to demonstrate the impact of probiotics-supplemented dietary counselling on adiposity, were encouraging,” said Kirsi Laitinen, a nutritionist and senior lecturer at the University of Turku in Finland who presented her findings on Thursday at the European Congress on Obesity. “The women who got the probiotics fared best. One year after childbirth, they had the lowest levels of central obesity as well as the lowest body fat percentage.”

“Central obesity, where overall obesity is combined with a particularly fat belly, is considered especially unhealthy,” Laitinen said. “We found it in 25% of the women who had received the probiotics along with dietary counselling, compared with 43% in the women who received diet advice alone.”

In the study, 256 women were randomly divided into three groups during the first trimester of pregnancy. Two of the groups received dietary counselling consistent with what’s recommended during pregnancy for healthy weight gain and optimal foetal development. They were also given food such as spreads and salad dressings with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, as well as fibre-enriched pasta and breakfast cereal to take home. One of those groups also received daily capsules of probiotics containing Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which are the most commonly used probiotics. The other group received dummy capsules. A third group received dummy capsules and no dietary counselling. The capsules were continued until the women stopped exclusive breastfeeding, up to 6 months.

The researchers weighed the women at the start of the study. At the end of the study they weighed them again and measured their waist circumference and skin fold thickness. The results were adjusted for weight at the start of the study.

Central obesity – defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more or a waist circumference over 80 centimetres – was found in 25% of the women who had been given the probiotics as well as diet advice. That compared with 43% of the women who got dietary counselling alone and 40% of the women who got neither diet advice nor probiotics. The average body fat percentage in the probiotics group was 28%, compared with 29% in the diet advice only group and 30% in the third group.

Laitinen said further research is needed to confirm the potential role of probiotics in fighting obesity. One of the limitations of the study was that it did not control for the mothers’ weight before pregnancy, which may influence how fat they later become.

She said she and her colleagues will continue to follow the women and their babies to see whether giving probiotics during pregnancy has any influence on health outcomes in the children.

“The advantage of studying pregnant women to investigate the potential link between probiotics and obesity is that it allows us to see the effects not only in the women, but also in their children,” she said. “Particularly during pregnancy, the impacts of obesity can be immense, with the effects seen both in the mother and the child. Bacteria are passed from mother to child through the birth canal, as well as through breast milk and research indicates that early nutrition may influence the risk of obesity later in life. There is growing evidence that this approach might open a new angle on the fight against obesity, either through prevention or treatment.”

Latinen’s study was funded by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, the Academy of Finland and the Sigrid Juselius Foundation, a Finnish medical research charity.

 

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Catalogue no: T1:RS1.3 oral presentation, Elicium 2, 09.30 hrs CET Thursday 7 May.

Japan shows bomb-detecting plane ticket reader

Oct 04 — AFP
Plane passengers could soon be scanned for bombs as they swipe their boarding pass, a Japanese company said Wednesday, unveiling the world’s first explosive-detecting departure gate.
Engineers from hi-tech firm Hitachi showcased a machine that blows a short puff of air at a passenger’s hand as he scans his pass.It then sucks in that air — along with all the minute particles that have been blown off the hand — and instantly analyses whether there are any explosive substances present, said senior chief researcher Minoru Sakairi.All that takes about one to two seconds, short enough to keep people moving through the gate and onto the plane, he said.”This allows screening of all passengers and can make air travel safer,” Sakairi said.

The device is intended as an extra layer of security on top of existing measures, such as metal detectors, pat-downs and x-ray scanners, he said.

The gate is most effective in finding those who may have hidden non-metal-based bombs on their bodies, like the man who concealed plastic explosives in his underwear on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit in 2009.

(AFP, Oct 04)

The memory of water is a reality, pseudoscience?

Repost from 2007

Contact: Tanya Wheatley t.wheatley@elsevier.com 44-186-584-3824 Elsevier

The memory of water is a reality

New issue of Homeopathy journal explores water memory effects

Oxford, UK, 01 August 2007 –  A special issue of the journal Homeopathy, journal of the Faculty of Homeopathy and published by Elsevier, on the “Memory of Water” brings together scientists from around the world for the first time to publish new data, reviews and discuss recent scientific work exploring the idea that water can display memory effects. The concept of memory of water is important to homeopathy because it offers a potential explanation of the mechanism of action of very high dilutions often used in homeopathy.

Guest editor Professor Martin Chaplin of the Department of Applied Science at London South Bank University, remarks: “There is strong evidence concerning many ways in which the mechanism of this ‘memory’ may come about. There are also mechanisms by which such solutions may possess effects on biological systems which substantially differ from plain water.”

The concept of the memory of water goes back to 1988 when the late Professor Jacques Benveniste published, in the international scientific journal Nature, claims that extremely high ‘ultramolecular’ dilutions of an antibody had effects in the human basophil degranulation test, a laboratory model of immune response. In other words, the water diluent ‘remembered’ the antibody long after it was gone. His findings were subsequently denounced as ‘pseudoscience’ and yet, despite the negative impact this had at the time, the idea has not gone away.

In this special issue of Homeopathy (http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/623042/description#description), scientists from the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, USA as well as the UK present remarkably convergent views from groups using entirely different methods, indicating that large-scale structural effects can occur in liquid water, and can increase with time. Such effects might account for claims of memory of water effects.

Commenting on the special issue, Professor Chaplin said: “Science has a lot more to discover about such effects and how they might relate to homeopathy. It is unjustified to dismiss homeopathy, as some scientists do, just because we don’t have a full understanding of how it works.”  In his overview he is critical of the “unscientific rhetoric” of some scientists who reject the memory of water concept “with a narrow view of the subject and without any examination or appreciation of the full body of evidence.”

Professor Chaplin and Dr Peter Fisher, editor-in-chief of the journal, agree that the current evidence brings us a step closer to providing an explanation for the claims made for homeopathy and that the memory of water, once considered a scientific heresy, is a reality. “These discoveries may have far reaching implications and more research is required,” comments Dr Fisher.

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About Homeopathy

Homeopathy is the leading international journal of homeopathy, and the only journal dedicated to the topic indexed in Medline (http://www.sciencedirect.com/homp). It is the journal of the Faculty of Homeopathy (http://www.trusthomeopathy.org), and published by Elsevier.

About the Faculty of Homeopathy

The Faculty of Homeopathy was incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1950 to provide education and training in homeopathy for statutorily regulated healthcare professionals. The Faculty’s membership includes doctors, vets, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, podiatrists and a number of other healthcare professionals who are qualified in and practice homeopathy.

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. Working in partnership with the global science and health communities, Elsevier’s 7,000 employees in over 70 offices worldwide publish more than 2,000 journals and 1,900 new books per year, in addition to offering a suite of innovative electronic products, such as ScienceDirect (http://www.sciencedirect.com/), MD Consult (http://www.mdconsult.com/), Scopus (http://www.info.scopus.com/), bibliographic databases, and online reference works.

Elsevier (http://www.elsevier.com/) is a global business headquartered in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and has offices worldwide. Elsevier is part of Reed Elsevier Group plc (http://www.reedelsevier.com/), a world-leading publisher and information provider. Operating in the science and medical, legal, education and business-to-business sectors, Reed Elsevier provides high-quality and flexible information solutions to users, with increasing emphasis on the Internet as a means of delivery. Reed Elsevier’s ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange).