• Can Nutritional Therapy Help Patients with Minimal Hepatic Encephalopathy?

Can Nutritional Therapy Help Patients with Minimal Hepatic Encephalopathy?

Nutritional therapy for patients with cirrhosis and minimal hepatic encephalopathy (MHE) not only improves their nutritional status, but increases cognitive function, health-related quality of life (HRQOL), and liver function and reduces hospitalization, researchers report in the March issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. HE is a spectrum of neuropsychiatric abnormalities that develops in

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  • Intestinal Microbiota Protect Children From Malnutrition

Intestinal Microbiota Protect Children From Malnutrition

Three new studies show that intestinal bacteria protect children from malnutrition and allow them to benefit from breast milk. Malnutrition, the world’s leading cause of death before age 5, is a persistent challenge that is not always remedied by improvements in nutrition. This is because the community of gut microbes regulate growth,

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  • Restoring Vaginal Microbiota to C-Section Babies

Restoring Vaginal Microbiota to C-Section Babies

Babies born by Cesarean section (C-section) are not always exposed to bacteria and other microbes present in the birth canals of their mothers—a factor that some studies have associated with health risks later in life. Now, researchers present preliminary data indicating that microbial communities could be at least partly restored

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  • Gut Microbiome Determines Efficacy of Cancer Immunotherapy

Gut Microbiome Determines Efficacy of Cancer Immunotherapy

Specific groups of intestinal microbes can boost the anti-tumor effects of cancer immunotherapies in mice, researchers show. Cancer immunotherapies that block immune inhibitory pathways have been tested in patients with several tumor types, but responses have varied. A study published in Science, while not the first to link gut microbes

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  • How Might PPIs Promote C difficile infection?

How Might PPIs Promote C difficile infection?

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) do not have a large effect on microbial diversity of the colon, but do affect specific taxa, including Streptococcaceae and Enterococcaceae, which mediate resistance to Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), researchers report in the October issue of Gastroenterology. This finding might provide a mechanism by which these drugs increase risk for CDI.

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  • Special Issue: Food, the Immune System, and the GI Tract

Special Issue: Food, the Immune System, and the GI Tract

The digestion of food and absorption of nutrients is the principal role of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract—everyone wants to know what we should eat and how it affects our body. Interactions between food and the immune system affect our microbiome, development of food allergies, nutrition, risk for inflammatory disorders or cancer, and even

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  • Food Emulsifiers Increase Intestinal Permeability to Promote Inflammation

Food Emulsifiers Increase Intestinal Permeability to Promote Inflammation

Food additives commonly used to thicken and stabilize processed foods disrupt the intestinal microbiota to cause inflammation, researchers found in a study of mice. Emulsifiers are added to foods to hold together mixtures of fat and water, which would otherwise separate. Healthy mice fed a diet containing commonly used emulsifiers (1%

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How Good Gut Microbes Resist Inflammation

Gut commensal bacteria survive inflammation by making a simple switch to their protective coats, researchers show. When harmful microbes like salmonella infect the gut, the innate immune system produces antimicrobial peptides to kill them. But these pathogenic microbes are often similar to the commensal microbes that live in the gut—it was

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  • Author Q and A Series: Alcohol, the Microbiota, and Liver Disease

Author Q and A Series: Alcohol, the Microbiota, and Liver Disease

Chronic alcohol consumption disrupts the intestinal microbiota to reduce production of saturated long-chain fatty acids and subsequently the proportion and functions of hepatoprotective lactobacilli, Peng Chen et al report in the January issue of Gastroenterology. Dietary approaches to restore levels of saturated fatty acids in the intestine might therefore reduce ethanol-induced liver injury in patients with

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  • Microbes go With the Flow (of Oxygen) in the Intestine

Microbes go With the Flow (of Oxygen) in the Intestine

The intestine contains a radial gradient of microbes that changes with the distribution of oxygen and nutrients, researchers report in the November issue of Gastroenterology. Further study of this distribution could provide information about activities of the microbiota in the healthy and inflamed intestine. The bacteria of the intestinal live in

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