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Link Between Celiac And Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes and the food intolerance disorder celiac disease appear to share a common genetic origin, UK research suggests.

The genetic similarities are such it suggests they may also be triggered by similar environmental factors.

This raises the possibility that the protein gluten, already known to cause celiac disease, may also trigger Type 1 diabetes. The study appears in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Type 1 diabetes causes the body to attack the beta cells of the pancreas, limiting its ability to produce the insulin necessary to regulate blood sugar levels.

In contrast celiac disease attacks the small intestine. However, both conditions are the result of a malfunctioning immune system.

In addition, the development and anatomy of the small intestine and pancreas are closely related, and the gut immune system shares connections with pancreatic lymph nodes, which have been linked to an inflammation of the pancreas and the destruction of beta cells.

The researchers, from the University of Cambridge and Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, analyzed nearly 20,000 tissue samples to look for genetic similarities between the two conditions.

They identified seven chromosome regions that are shared between the two diseases.

The key regions are thought to regulate the mechanisms that cause the body’s own immune system to attack both the beta cells in the pancreas and the small intestine.

The researchers said more work was needed to pinpoint how genetic and environmental factors combined to trigger the conditions. The researchers stressed the interaction was likely to be complex, but suggested that the same sort of environmental factors were likely to trigger both conditions.

In the paper, they write: “Our results support further evaluation of the hypothesis that cereal and gluten consumption might be an environmental factor in type 1 diabetes, leading to the alteration of the function of the gut immune system and its relationship with the pancreatic immune system.”

Researcher Professor David van Heel said: “These findings suggest common mechanisms causing both celiac and Type 1 diabetes – we did not expect to see this very high degree of shared genetic risk factors.”

Karen Addington, of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which helped fund the study, “These studies demonstrate that type 1 diabetes and celiac disease share far greater genetic overlap than had been appreciated; which helps explain the high prevalence of both conditions occurring simultaneously in an individual and may provide new avenues for understanding the cause and mechanisms of both conditions.”

Sarah Sleet, of the charity Celiac UK, described the research as a real advance in understanding a condition which is thought to go undiagnosed in many people.

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DHA In The Womb May Fortify Baby’s Immune System

BEIJING, Aug. 2, 2011 (Xinhuanet) — Pregnant moms who take DHA supplements may help fortify the immune system of their babies and give them some protection against common colds, a new study in the journal Pediatrics suggests.

Reseachers randomly assigned nearly 1,000 Mexican women to receive either DHA supplements per day or a placebo during their second trimester and continued to do so until they gave birth.

At all three time points, the duration of cold symptoms tended to be shorter in the children whose mothers had taken the DHA supplements. And at the one-month mark, the DHA babies had 24 percent lower odds of having had any cold symptoms.

When the researchers checked in on the babies one month later, 38 percent of the infants whose mothers took the DHA pills had experienced cold symptoms in the previous 15 days, compared with 45 percent of infants whose mothers got the placebo. The gap remained when the babies were 3 months old: 38 percent vs. 44 percent.

When 1-month-old babies in the DHA group had cold symptoms like cough, phlegm and wheezing, those symptoms cleared up about 25 percent faster than they did for babies in the placebo group. Those gaps closed in subsequent months, but when the babies were 6 months old, the ones in the DHA group got over fevers, runny noses and breathing problems more quickly than babies in the placebo group.

Previous research has suggested that DHA supplements can improve respiratory health and overall immune function in babies and children, but this is just the second study to explore whether exposure to DHA in the womb might have similar effects.

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Avoid Reflux This Summer

Often we have a tendency to over-indulge while on vacation, especially when it comes to diet. But, for some of us, it’s more difficult to enjoy ethnic cuisines when you are worried about the discomfort or pain that may follow.

The truth is, heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), causes millions of people to suffer every day – whether you’re on vacation or not. If you’re not careful, it can completely sideline you at the time when you most want to enjoy yourself.

It is characterized by a burning discomfort from the chest up to the throat. According to estimates, heartburn affects about one in every 10 Westerners. One of its causes is acid reflux, which is when stomach acid flows up through the lower esophageal sphincter and irritates the esophagus.

To keep the burn from getting in the way of your fun, here are a few tips you can try:

  1. Eat smaller portions of food
    No matter what the food is, too much at once can put you in danger of a flare up. Also, try to eat food slower. Grabbing your meals on the go and wolfing them down leads to poor digestion and a greater risk of GERD symptoms.
  2. Baked, grilled or roasted foods are all better alternatives to fried.
    Also, make sure to cut off the fatty parts if you can. Foods that are high in fat sit in the stomach longer, which can cause discomfort.
  3. In some cases, it’s best to just avoid certain foods altogether.
    If you’re a frequent heartburn sufferer, spicy foods or foods that are highly acidic are probably not for you, especially on an empty stomach. Particularly acidic foods include tomatoes, citrus fruits and vinegar. If you’re really craving one of these foods, include a decent amount of other, less acidic foods like meat or vegetables as part of your meal.
  4. Drinks can cause bloating and irritation too.
    Stay away from caffeine and carbonation, as well as excess alcohol.


Now, get out there and enjoy the final stretch of summer!

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Daily Mail Investigates Colonic Hydrotherapy

Lying on a coach in a therapist’s treatment room, events organiser Tamily Cookson was not enjoying her first ever experience of colonic irrigation.

‘Every few minutes I was getting sharp cramps in my abdomen, like period pains,’ she remembers of that day in August last year. ‘A couple of times they got so bad I had to tell the therapist that I was really hurting. But she massaged my tummy and the pain did subside.
‘Afterwards, she assured me that this was completely normal. Her explanation was that because my bowel had become so impacted with old waste matter, I had to expect some discomfort.

‘She assured me that by the end of my course of treatment — three sessions costing £180 — I would feel completely different, lighter and less sluggish in mind and body.’ That night Tamily, now 35, struggled to get comfortable.

‘Far from feeling less bloated, I felt as if a balloon had been blown up in my body,’ she said. ‘When I went back three days later for the second irrigation the therapist told me the pains were normal and due to my bowels working properly for the first time.
‘The second treatment was less uncomfortable, although I did pass some pebbly matter, which she said was waste that had been trapped in the bowel crevices.’
It was during her third session that everything went badly wrong. ‘Halfway through the treatment, I started to feel extremely nauseous and within a few seconds I had the most awful diarrhoea followed by horrific cramps.

‘I was mortified, but my therapist virtually cheered. She said we had finally cleared out all the waste that had been sitting around for months and that my bowel was now finally free of accumulated toxins. Afterwards, she tried to sell me some vitamins and minerals, which she felt I was lacking, but didn’t try to push any more treatments on me. She said I was now in good place to kick-start a new healthy lifestyle.’
Sadly, this was far from the case. Rather than feeling energised by her expensive experience, Tamily — who had turned to colonic irrigation for what she admits was a ‘quick fix’ to lose weight after the birth of her son Sid, now two — ended up with six months of bowel disorders.
For a couple of weeks after the treatment, I had alternate diarrhoea and constipation, as well as nausea, which occurred almost every time I ate or drank something. I felt as if nothing ever settled properly in my stomach. That had calmed down by Christmas, although I still get it from time to time. But worst of all, I am now plagued by sickness bugs, which leave me incapacitated for a few days at a time.

But is Tamily right to blame colonic irrigation for her woes? It is a technique that has been around in one form or another since Egyptian times and involves inserting a tube into the rectum and flushing the colon and intestines with water. The theory behind it is simple. Proponents believe that food enters the intestines, where it is not broken down properly due to poor diet and lack of exercise.

‘I used to get them every couple of years, like most people. I have had five such episodes since my colonic irrigation and have to wonder if the two are linked.’
Instead, the waste stays in the intestine, rotting and causing toxins to accumulate, which then leak though the bowel wall and into the rest of the body causing ‘auto-intoxication’. One Nottinghamshire clinic (not the one Tamily attended) states on its website: ‘Some of this waste may have taken years to accumulate and now you could be re-absorbing concentrated amounts of it back into your body. ‘Free the blockage and your body will heal itself — your disease will simply go away.’

Indeed, Google the subject and you will find any number of clinics extolling the virtues of the procedure as a cure for medical problems ranging from the skin condition psoriasis to headaches and, of course, excess weight and bloating.

Controversially, former Bucks Fizz singer Cheryl Baker underwent colonic irrigation live on Channel 4 in 2003.

Virtually all of these clinics produce reams of patient testimony to back up their claims and there are countless forums where devotees share positive experiences. Inevitably, a whole host of celebrities have jumped on the colonic bandwagon, extolling the virtues of the treatment.

Princess Diana was one of the first public figures to openly have colonics in the Nineties, claiming they took ‘all the aggro’ out of her. Since then, stars including actresses Kate Beckinsale and Jennifer Aniston have admitted using the treatment.

Popstars Madonna, Courtney Love and Britney Spears are also fans, along with singer Usher. The R&B artist explained: ‘As someone who travels a lot, you don’t always eat the way you should so a lot of waste builds up in your body.’

I am not anti complementary medicine,’ she says. ‘I recommend acupuncture and meditation to many of my patients, but I have seen solid scientific evidence that they can have some benefit. I wanted the same confidence if I was going to recommend colonic irrigation. But what I found was that there was no scientific evidence that colonic irrigation did any good. There were a couple of studies that had reported short-term benefits, but the patient numbers had been so small as to be negligible.

But now a report, released by an American GP last week, is threatening to blow open the whole debate around the science — or lack of it — behind this area of complementary medicine. After continually being asked her opinion on the benefits of colonic irrigation by her patients, Dr Ranit Mishori, who lectures at Georgetown University, decided to launch an investigation.

‘Instead, I found that in some cases it could do harm. I found reports of a lady who had suffered a bowel perforation and other side effects can include nausea, cramps, long term bowel upsets and infection.

‘Coincidentally, as I was carrying out the research, I had two patients who had bowel disorders. One lady was suffering badly from diarrhoea and we couldn’t find a cure. In the end, she confessed that she had had colonic irrigation. It was the same story for the other patient. It made me wonder if this problem is more widespread than doctors have realised.’

Dr Mishori also found that many of the so-called ‘colon cleansing products’ that can be bought over the internet and are often recommended by therapists before irrigation, carry health risks, too.

‘Colon cleansing products in the form of laxatives, teas, powders and capsules with names such as Nature’s Bounty Colon Cleaner tout benefits that don’t exist,’ she says. ‘They are usually not monitored by government agencies and many contain strong laxative properties, which can lead to dehydration which in turn can cause renal failure. No one should take laxatives unless they are under medical supervision.

‘More should be done to inform people that this procedure can carry significant health risks. I believe colonic irrigation is not something that should be done by anyone who is not a doctor or a nurse.’

It is a sentiment that consultant gastroenterologist Dr David Forecast, of The London Clinic and St Marks Hospital, agrees with. ‘We may use colonic irrigation before colonoscopies and for extremely severe constipation, but that’s about it.

‘I am regularly asked by patients if they should pay for colonic irrigation and I always say no. Some of the physiological claims made by these clinics are totally inaccurate. For example, the idea that faecal matter sticks to the bowel walls and can sit there decaying for several months, or even years, is nonsense.

‘Waste matters keep on moving through the bowel no matter what. Some people may have sluggish bowels and constipation, of course, but — barring an extreme medical condition — this will move in time. As a gastroenterologist of 20 years experience, I have looked up approximately 20,000 bottoms and can promise that I have never seen waste older than a few hours.
‘Likewise, the claim that faecal matter accumulates in crevices in the bowel doesn’t make sense. The bowel wall is smooth — if there are any hidden crevices, I have never seen one with my camera so I would be very interested to hear where the evidence for this statement has come from. Many therapists also talk about relieving blockages in the bowel. A bowel blockage is rare and a serious medical emergency.’

Experts are also concerned that repeated use of colonic irrigation may be disturbing what is a very delicate mini-eco system balance of good and bad bacteria.

‘We are only just beginning to discover what a unique and carefully balanced organ the bowel is,’ explains Dr Forecast. ‘Recent research has discovered, for example, that the average adult bowel contains about four kilos of bacteria which work in perfect balance to digest and remove your waste matter efficiently from your body. If you strip this mechanism away, which you will do with internal douching, then you may be doing real harm to your body.’

Dr Forecast is also wary of misdiagnosis. ‘Bowel symptoms such as feeling sluggish and constipated are vague and could point to medical conditions including Irritable Bowel Syndrome, bowel cancer or diverticulitis.

‘Pebbly faecal matter is a recognised symptom of IBS. This is why any unusual bowel symptoms should always be investigated by a doctor, not a therapist. Pumping warm water into the bowel of someone with IBS, for example, is adding insult to an already inflamed bowel wall. I am not surprised people have reported cramps and nausea after treatment.’
‘Admittedly, there is a lack of scientific evidence, but — like most complementary medicine — we have little funding and research is expensive. If people didn’t find that colonic irrigation helped them, they wouldn’t keep coming back. People with IBS, for example, find the warm water is incredibly soothing for their spasms and I have seen amazing improvements in skin conditions such as eczema.

Notsurprisingly, perhaps, ARCH, the 250-strong Association of Registered Colon Hydrotherapists, disputes these warnings. Roger Groos, a former biologist and founding member of ARCH, is adamant that, despite the lack of scientific evidence, the anecdotal testimony of thousands of clients should win over the sceptics.

‘Our members — which account for about half of the colonic hydrotherapists in the UK — undergo a rigorous two-year full-time or three-year part-time course, overseen by the highly respected Complementary and Natural Health Care Council, during which they learn about anatomy, biology as well as the link between body and mind. They also learn who to turn away. Our members would never carry out colonic irrigation on someone with inflammatory bowel conditions, such as Crohn’s Disease.’

Dr Mishori has a different idea. ‘Eat good food, plenty of fibre, exercise and your bowels will work fine. I won’t be recommending colonic irrigation to my patients.’

‘Don’t bother,’ adds Tamily wryly. ‘Quite apart from six months of stomach upset, £180 of my very hard earned money went, almost literally, down the drain.Now that does make me feel like a fool.’

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Employers Should Show More Understanding To Employees With IBD

Judith Cave, 53, of Stanwick, was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in April 1999, about six months after she first started to feel unwell with an upset stomach.
Her illness was originally put down to delayed shock following a car accident and it was not until she had lost a lot of weight that her condition was finally diagnosed.
Mrs Cave is now backing national calls from medical charity Crohns and Colitis UK for employers to learn more about the condition and make sure they have facilities available for staff with the illnesses.

She said: “Employers need to be understanding. They need to know if one of their staff has these problems they might go to toilet and be there for 20 minutes at a time. People accept that smokers go for cigarette breaks, but they’re not always so understanding in our case.”
Mrs Cave is also appealing to retailers to assist sufferers who want to use their facilities.

She said the charity was developing a card to identify sufferers. The idea behind it is that sufferers needing to go to the toilet urgently can show it in shops and ask to use their facilities.
Mrs Cave said: “Often you will go into a shop and the assistant will say they need to check with their manager before they can let you use the toilet. The problem is with these conditions you cannot wait for that to happen. We hope that if people become aware of these cards it will make things a lot easier.”
Research by the charity found of the 250,000 people with Crohn’s and Colitis 78 per cent worry about managing their symptoms, which can include urgent diarrhoea, extreme pain and fatigue, or flare-ups, while at work. It also found patchy provision of reasonable adjustments in the workplace, such as access to toilets and time off for hospital visits.