Category Archives: Uncategorized

Autism in pristine Phu Quoc island of Vietnam – is the rise in numbers simple overdiagnosis?


Phu Quoc is a pristine, mountainous, Vietnamese island, surrounded by sun-drenced beaches and clear, blue water, about 70 miles off the coast of Cambodia.  Most of the island is covered by Phu Quoc National Forest. The main industries are plantations and fish sauce. It hosts the annual Vietnam Kennel Association (VKA) Phu Quoc National Dog Show. The Phu Quoc Ridgeback is a native dog breed with web feet, an island treasure that has thrived on Phu Quoc Island since the 19th century. Yet, Aeir Talk, an App for a communication device for autistic kids, believes that this island would benefit from knowledge that a device to assist Autistic kids exists (Click here for advertisement, by scrolling below to a post by Jav123 on Mar 2012). Why should this remote island be interested in an Autism device? Read about the naval history of this island in Vietnam by clicking here.

Should men be more careful about protecting their sperm before they begin to make babies? Fathers provide the sperm and the mother, as you know, provides the egg and when the egg is fertilized by the sperm the baby results. There is increasing evidence that the father or grandfather may contribute a new genetic change that might be inherited; such a new genetic change when perhaps exposed  to an otherwise harmless environmental pollutant becomes a “toxin” to this child carrying this new genetic change. The grandfather may even pass this new genetic trait through his daughters. Fathers have been cautioned against excessive coffee drinking three months before making babies. Perhaps fathers need to avoid exposure to environmental triggers too? Maybe, strategic research would help to pinpoint such triggers and help prevent more autism related to exposures of potential fathers in the future. History cannot be changed but our society is quite capable of taking action when inspired. Read Lynne Peeple’s Huffington Post article (May 2012) on the rising rates of autism by clicking here.

Rise of Autism in some countries

Here is an article detailing and discussing the rise of autism in Vietnam. Among Asian countries, this country appears to have far higher rates. Is it simply a matter of higher diagnosis? You may click here to read this brief article (March, 2013) in a China Weekly newspaper, on the city of Hanoi, Vietnam. This may be of interest to international researchers of Autism. Why Hanoi? Hopefully, even searching for an answer in Hanoi will lead researchers closer to factors that might trigger ASD.

Is the rise of Autism simply overdiagnosis?

There is no doubt that some cases of ASD are simply over diagnosed. However, once you have been in the same room, train, class room, event with a kid (mostly boys) with even an average level of ASD or worse autism, even as a non – psychologiist you will know that the child needs help. The uneducated citizen might request that this child be punished for “misbehavior” or request this child “shut-up” or “stop shuffing people or yelling”. Those aware of ASD will realize this is a child with autism or aspergers and intervene on behalf of the child. As those educated about this growing issue of ASD know, this child’s mind is fully knowledgeable and understands but cannot control his/her actions. Give the child an ipad and this child will communicate to those in the room and may even apologize but unable to stop the movement or noise causing the discomfort to the public. As a society, together we can help prevent future suffering. We are losing our boys and some girls. Your opinion matters. If you suspect any factor that could be contributing to the growing rise of autism/asperbers/allergy/ASD do not hesitate to share. None of us want to lose the advantages of modern conveniences. We cannot imagine life without cars, trains, and automobiles, aeroplanes and modern industry, modern agriculture and green lawns without weeds. Yet, since progress must come with side effects, let’s discover how to live together safely, among these industrial advantages. We are quite capable of dealing with and preventing side effects.

Which other countries have higher rates of Autism than their neighboring countries?

Which countries have similar health and hospital facilities and yet have higher levels of Autism? There have been indications that areas with higher automobile oil manufacturing chemical waste, may have higher rates of autism or childhood leukemia. Some elementary classrooms in such locations have several children arriving to school in wheelchairs with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis or many parents waiting together outside a local pediatric hospital which had not timely diagnosed their infants with childhood leukemia; four year olds were dying. Autism aids are in many such classrooms. Is there a connection? Can some action steps put in place protective and preventive features perhaps in the local water system or the herbicide spraying system in home lawns to protect possible harm to the sperm and egg? Would there be a connection with such chemical waste and a carrier of the new genetic inherited trait? If you have answers or suggestions do share. 

Related Article:

Why is there little Autism in under-developed countries?

The G-proteins, the connector proteins that try to prevent autism spectrum disorder.

Phu Quoc – Vietnam’s largest island and home of the Phu Quoc National Forest

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The proportion of flu and pneumonia related deaths is now slightly above epidemic threshold

For the first time in USA, the Influenza (Flu) season of 2012 – 2013, has become an eipidemic. Which means, there is a good chance either you or somebody you know is sick from the flu. This flu season is unlike the previous year’s mild flu season and totally took the people by surprise.

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January 16, 2013 · 11:03 pm

Natural food anti-fungals

Eating your way to anti-fungal health through Thyme, seaweed, and more may help against the yeast (Candida sp.). There is no research to show that it does or does not have an effect against other fungi. However, good food is never boring!

Quote 

  • Good scientific evidence:
  • Zinc: Zinc formulations have been used since ancient Egyptian times to enhance wound healing. Evidence from human trials suggests that zinc pyrithione shampoo may be an effective treatment for tinea versicolor fungal infections of the scalp. Side effects were not noted. Additional research is needed before a strong recommendation can be made.
  • Zinc is generally considered safe when taken at the recommended dosages. Avoid zinc chloride since studies have not been done on its safety or effectiveness. While zinc appears safe during pregnancy in amounts lower than the established upper intake level, caution should be used since studies cannot rule out the possibility of harm to the fetus.
  • Unclear or conflicting scientific evidence:
  • Bishop’s weed: Limited available human study used 8-methoxypsoralen (8-MOP), a photoreactive plant compound from bishopsweed, for the treatment of tinea versicolor. Clinical studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.
  • Use cautiously in patients with photosensitivity as bishop’s weed may be photoreactive, and cause phototoxic skin damage, phototoxic dermatitis, and pigmentary retinopathy. Use cautiously in patients with bleeding disorders or taking anticoagulants, NSAIDs/anti-platelet agents, or herbs or supplements that increase risk of bleeding because bishop’s weed may have additive effects and increase the risk of bleeding. Use cautiously in patients taking drugs or herbs or supplements metabolized by cytochrome P450 as bishop’s weed may increase the effects of these agents. Use cautiously in patients with eye disorders, as bishop’s weed may cause ocular toxicity. Avoid in patients with known allergy/hypersensitivity to bishop’s weed, its constituents, or members of the Apiaceae family.
  • Bitter orange: Limited available human study found promising results using the oil of bitter orange for treatment of fungal infections. However, due to methodological weakness of this research, further evidence is needed to confirm these results.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to bitter orange or any members of the Rutaceae family. Avoid with heart disease, narrow-angel glaucoma, intestinal colic, or long QT interval syndrome. Avoid if taking anti-adrenergic agents, beta-blockers, QT-interval prolonging drugs, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), stimulants, or honey. Use cautiously with headache, hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), or if fair-skinned. Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Cinnamon: There is currently a lack of available evidence to support the use of cinnamon for AIDS patients with advanced oral candidiasis. More study is needed in this area.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to cinnamon, its constituents, members of the Lauraceae family, or Balsam of Peru. Use cautiously if prone to atopic reactions or if taking cytochrome P450 metabolized agents, anticoagulants (blood thinners), insulin or blood sugar-altering medications, antibiotics, or cardiovascular agents. Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Cranberry: Limited laboratory research has examined the antifungal activity of cranberry. Reliable human studies supporting the use of cranberry for fungal infections are currently lacking. Further research is warranted in this area.
  • Avoid if allergic to cranberries, blueberries, or other plants of the Vaccinium species. Sweetened cranberry juice may affect blood sugar levels. Use cautiously with a history of kidney stones. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid cranberry in higher amounts than what is typically found in foods.
  • Garlic: Garlic is used both medicinally and as a food spice. Several studies describe the use of garlic as a topical antifungal to treat fungal infections of the skin, including yeast infections. More research is needed in this area.
  • Use cautiously as garlic can cause severe burns and rash when applied to the skin of sensitive individuals. Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to garlic or other members of the Lilaceae(lily) family (e.g. hyacinth, tulip, onion, leek, or chive). Avoid with a history of bleeding problems, asthma, diabetes, low blood pressure, or thyroid disorders. Stop using supplemental garlic two weeks before and immediately after dental/surgical/diagnostic procedures with bleeding risks. Avoid in supplemental doses if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Pomegranate: In clinical study, an extract of pomegranate was shown to be as effective as a commonly used oral gel when used topically to treat candidiasis associated with denture stomatitis (mouth sores). Additional study is needed to confirm pomegranate’s antifungal effects.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to pomegranate. Avoid with diarrhea or high or low blood pressure. Avoid taking pomegranate fruit husk with oil or fats to treat parasites. Pomegranate root/stem bark should only be used under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional. Use cautiously with liver damage or liver disease. Pomegranate supplementation may be unsafe during pregnancy when taken by mouth. The bark, root, and fruit rind may cause menstruation or uterine contractions. Avoid if breastfeeding due to a lack of scientific data.
  • Probiotics: Early research suggests that cheese containing probiotics may help reduce the risk of a fungal mouth infection, called thrush, in the elderly. More research is needed in this area.
  • Probiotics are generally considered to be safe and well-tolerated. Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to probiotics. Use cautiously if lactose intolerant. Caution is advised when using probiotics in neonates born prematurely or with immune deficiency.
  • Propolis: Propolis is a natural resin created by bees to make their hives. Propolis is made from the buds of conifer and poplar trees and combined with beeswax and other bee secretions. In human study, a commercial propolis ethanol extract from Brazil, formulated to ensure physical and chemical stability, was found to inhibit fungal infections of the mouth, such as oral candidiasis. Additional research is needed to confirm these findings.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to propolis, black poplar (Populas nigra), poplar bud, bee stings, bee products, honey, or Balsam of Peru. Severe allergic reactions have been reported. There has been one report of kidney failure with the ingestion of propolis that improved upon discontinuing therapy and deteriorated with re-exposure. Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding because of the high alcohol content in some products.
  • Seaweed, kelp, bladderwrack: Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus) is a brown seaweed found along the northern coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and North and Baltic seas. Another seaweed that grows alongside bladderwrack is Ascophyllum nodosum, andit is often combined with bladderwrack in kelp preparations. Laboratory research suggests that bladderwrack may have antifungal activity. However, reliable human studies to support this use are currently lacking in the available literature.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to Fucus vesiculosus or iodine. Avoid with a history of thyroid disease, bleeding, acne, kidney disease, blood clots, nerve disorders, high blood pressure, stroke, or diabetes. Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Selenium: Selenium is a mineral found in soil, water, and some foods. Commercially available 1% selenium sulfide shampoo has been reported as equivalent to sporicidal therapy in the adjunctive treatment of the yeast infection tinea capitis. However, further high-quality evidence is warranted.
  • Selenium sulfide shampoo has also been studied as a possible treatment for tinea versicolor. However, research results are inconclusive.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to products containing selenium. Avoid with a history of non-melanoma skin cancer. Selenium is generally regarded as safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women. However, animal research reports that large doses of selenium may lead to birth defects.
  • Tea tree oil: Although tea tree oil has been found to have activity against several fungus species in laboratory study, there is currently insufficient human evidence to determine if it is an effective topical treatment for onychomycosis, tinea pedis (athlete’s foot), or thrush (oral Candida albicans).
  • Tea tree oil may be toxic when taken by mouth and therefore, should not be swallowed. Avoid if allergic to tea tree oil or plants of the Myrtle (Myrtaceae) family, Balsam of Peru, or benzoin. Use cautiously with a history of eczema. Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Thyme: Thyme has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Beyond its common culinary application, it has been recommended for many indications based on proposed antimicrobial, antitussive, spasmolytic, and antioxidant activity. Thyme essential oil and thymol have been shown to have antifungal effects. Topical thymol has been used traditionally to treat paronychia (skin infection around a finger or toenail) and onycholysis (fungal nail infection)Currently, there is insufficient reliable human evidence to recommend for or against the use of thyme or thymol as a treatment for fungal infections.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to thyme, members of the Lamiaceae (mint) family, any component of thyme, or rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Avoid oral ingestion or non-diluted topical application of thyme oil due to potential toxicity. Avoid topical preparations in areas of skin breakdown or injury or in atopic patients due to multiple reports of contact dermatitis. Use cautiously with gastrointestinal irritation or peptic ulcer disease due to anecdotal reports of gastrointestinal irritation. Use cautiously with thyroid disorders due to observed anti-thyrotropic effects in animal research of the related speciesThymus serpyllum. Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.

 

Unquote

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January 15, 2013 · 3:51 am

All drugs from the compounding pharmacy of Massachussetts should be monitored


In additiion, to monitoring patients who received a corticosteroid injection for pain, the FDA (USA) has advised to monitor any drug from the compounding pharmacy facility at Farmington, MA. Patients following eye surgery and heart operations have complained of meningitis symptoms and they received drugs from this pharmacy. There is the chance that their symptoms or complaints are from other causes.

The meningitis is caused by a rare fungus, Exserohilum, which normally causes infection in plants and if it infects humans it is usually in the harmless form of sinusitis. Thus, a question that is going to be a follow – up study is how did this fungus turn deadly to humans? Currently, the 15 scientists at CDC (USA) are working around the clock to figure out how to definitively diagnose this fungus in a human. Considering this is the first time observed to be causing meningitis in humans, there is no FDA approved diagnostic test.

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What are the fungi that are causing the meningitis outbreak in USA?


Aspergillus fumigatus

75 clinics in 23 states in USA are monitoring their patients who received a spinal steroid injection for pain. They may be infected with a rare meningitis caused by a fungus. The name of the steroid is methylprednisolone acetate. The Calgary Herald’s Malcolm Ritter  discusses the fact that there were (on October 8, 2012), at least two fungi linked to this unusual meningitis outbreak and they are Aspergillus and Exserohilum. Therapy is limited by the fact that very few anti-fungals penetrate the blood-brain barrier and researchers are working on more effective antifungals (see scientists below).

The causal fungi were contaminating the vials of the steroid produced and packed only by the New England Compounding Center in Massachussetts. Dr.John Jernigan, an epideomologist at the CDC, is leading the charge against these fungi. He has been quoted by various news sources stressing the fact that unlike bacterial meningitis, this is a very rare type of meningitis with little clinical research (PBS – a video recording, NY Times, Wall Street Journal). According to Huffington Post’s Amanda Chen, patients in Tennessee, Indiana, Florida, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia have developed Meningitis. Dr. William Schaffner, President of the National Foundation of Infectious Disease said that the causal fungus is commonly found all around us, normally does not make people sick, but does cause an illness in some immunocompromised people like those with AIDS, and is not contagious.

Meningitis may be caused by fungi, bacteria or virus. To get this disease from a tainted vial is highly unusual. Needless to say, this steroid has been recalled immediately. By October 7, 2012 there were 18 confirmed deaths from fungal meningitis linked to tainted steroid back pain spinal injections says the local Detroit CBS news. Only those patients who sought relief for back pain with a steroid spinal injection July to September 2012 should be concerned.  Senator Richard Blumenthal has called for extending the FDA’s monitoring authority, if necessary (Wall Street Journal)

FUNGAL MENINGITIS
The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) USA, assures that fungal meningitis is not contagious. You may click here to reach the CDC site to learn about typical Fungal Meningitis. It talks about:
CAUSES
TRANSMISSION
RISK FACTORS –
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
RISK FACTORS
DIAGNOSIS
TREATMENT – usually IV medication and usually patients are immunocompromised already.

WHAT IS MENINGITIS?
The Tennessean has done such a wonderful job explaining this disease that you should probably click here to learn more about their explanations on:
What is meningitis and how many types are there?
What is Aspergillus Meningitis?
How is it diagnosed?
Should I go to the doctor for Aspergillus Meningitis?
Should I pursue other pain management options until this has been cleared?

THE DEDICATED SCIENTISTS WHO RESEARCH FUNGI THAT CAUSE MENINGITIS 
Do email these scientists and encourage them to continue their research. Send them dolloar bills if you must, but mostly tell them you appreciate their contribution.
ASPERGILLUS FUMIGATUS – involved in the tainted steroid outbreak

CRYPTOCOCCUS NEOFORMANS – not involved in this 2012 outbreak

EXSEROHILUM – involved in the tainted steroid outbreak (Old research click on 1 & 2; and 3 for Six newer citations)

Associate Professor William Steinbach
The source of the featured photo in this article

The Duke University’s mycology group studies several fungi that cause diseases of humans including Aspergillus. One of their researchers in the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases is Associate Professor William Steinbach. He is interested specifically in Aspergillus fumigatus because it is the leading killer of immunocompromised patients with cancer or following transplantation. You may write to him at: 427 Jones Bldg
Research Drive, Durham, N.C. 27710 or email him at bill.steinbach@duke.edu.

Texas A&M University has biologists who have recently discovered that ZOLOFT, a medication already FDA approved for and most commonly prescribed for depression, and can cross the blood-brain barrier, can pack quite the punch against Cryptococcus neoformans, a fungus that may cause meningitis. The two chief scientists who are working to discover anti-fungals against C. neoformans are Professor Mathew Sachs and Assistant Professor Xiaorong Lin and published in the July 2012 issue of the Journal of Antimicrobial agents and Chemotherapy, where they discuss how there are a limited number of anti-fungals today. Also, the fact that antifungals available today do not penetrate the blood-brain barrier thus complicating anti-fungal therapy. Their research so far is only in the lab but is promising. Sertraline or ZOLOFT acs by not allowing the fungi to synthesize proteins for their own use, thus destroying them. Address correspondence to Xiaorong Lin, xlin@bio.tamu.edu, or Matthew S. Sachs, msachs@bio.tamu.edu or you may write at Department of Biology, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA.

Professor Mathew Sachs

Assistant Professor Xiarong Lin

A meningitis causing fungus, Cryptococcus

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20,000 Tea secrets: Ways to natural health benefits

Found the detailed descriptions of herbal benefits of various teas quite interesting. It would be fun to know which tea our readers enjoy the most in this book. The author is Victoria Zak. The ebook price is $7.99.

Here are a few excerpts:

Dandelion Root Tea 

…..It removes toxins that collect in your joints.  It removes free radicals…..

Dandelion Leave Tea 

…..Anemia..It has iron and vitamin C which helps iron absorption….

Damania 

…..A shrub indigenous to Texas….A nerve tonic….

And many more combination and single tea recipes, benefits, and where they grow. 

A nice social way to drink our way to health.

 

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September 27, 2012 · 5:21 pm

Natural products: Anti-fungal agents derived from plants

Tasleem Arif, T. K. Mandal and Rajesh Dabur, scientists at 

National Research Institue of Basic Ayurvedic Sciences Nehru Garden, Kothrud, Pune-411038, India published in 

Opportunity, Challenge and Scope of Natural Products in Medicinal Chemistry, 2011: 283-311 ISBN: 978-81-308-0448-4 

Abstract. As new spectrums of human fungal infections are increasing due to increased cancer and AIDS patients. The increased use of antifungal agents also resulted in the development of resistance to these drugs. It makes necessary to discover new classes of antifungal compounds to treat fungal infections. The research on natural products and natural products derived compounds has accelerated in recent years due to their importance in drug discovery. Plants are rich source of bioactive secondary metabolites of wide variety such as tannins, terpenoids, alkaloids, and flavonoids, reported to have in vitro antifungal properties. A series of molecules with antifungal activity against different strains of fungus have been found in plants, which are of great importance to humans and plants. These molecules may be used directly or considered as a model for developing better molecules. This review attempts to summarize the current status of reported antifungal compounds from plants. 

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September 27, 2012 · 4:03 pm

The Gut Microbiota: your good germ friends to nurture to strengthen your immune system against “Allergy”


Your gut has both good microbes and sometimes, dangerous microbes. The trick is to know how to encourage the good microbes to grow inside your gut while creating a very difficult environment for the bad microbes inside your body. The good microbes codevelop inside your body since birth say a wonderful international group of physician and microbial scientists from five countries including Singapore, Sweden, USA, England and France. What germs your body can harbor depends firstly on your genes, and that means not everybody can tolerate all good microbes. Following your personal genes through your personal nutrition choices tailored to your specific lifestyle decides your microbiota. Believe it or not, your gut microbes control your brain, muscles, and your liver through your gut cells. Gives a whole new meaning to the term, “You are what you eat”. I would not add, “Your brain is what you eat”. These scientists strongly suggest that it is imperative to understand the individual gut microbiota, which means your good microbes, to get a better understanding of how to keep your brain and your muscles in peak performance by assisting your immune regulatory system. Apparently, your immune system is assisted by your good microbes. David Artis and his team at University of Pennsylvannia have become the leading scientists calling for an overhaul of the study of what is allergy and the immune system, based on gut microbiota research.

Have you ever wondered how that poor kid playing in the filth is healthier than your kid brought up in a sterilized home and school environment and playground? Well, the answer may lie in the good microbes that co-develop in the gut since birth. The articles below may be of interest to you. Your gut is “infested” fortunately by trillions of beneficial microbes that occupy their own favorite niches inside the intestine, as it folds its way inside your body. You might want to reconsider next time you have that antibiotic – it may indiscriminate and kill the bacteria that help you along with that single one that is harming you, currently. Have you ever wondered how some people are better able to “fight” off infection? They may actually have a stronger gut.  The term “my gut reaction” may not be that funny after all!

1)  Host-Gut Microbiota Metabolic Interactions
2) Crossover Immune Cells Blur the Boundaries
3) Innate Lymphoid Cells Promote Anatomical Containment of Lymphoid-Resident Commensal Bacteria
4) Immunology: Allergy challenged

1)  Host-Gut Microbiota Metabolic Interactions

Published Online June 6 2012
Science 8 June 2012:
Vol. 336 no. 6086 pp. 1262-1267
DOI: 10.1126/science.1223813
  • REVIEW

Host-Gut Microbiota Metabolic Interactions

  1. Jeremy K. Nicholson1,*,
  2. Elaine Holmes1,
  3. James Kinross1,
  4. Remy Burcelin2,
  5. Glenn Gibson3,
  6. Wei Jia4,
  7. Sven Pettersson5,*

+Author Affiliations


  1. 1Biomolecular Medicine, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2AZ, UK.

  2. 2Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, U1048, and Institut des Maladies Métaboliques et Cardiovasculaire I2MC, Rangueil Hospital, BP84225, 31432 Toulouse, France.

  3. 3Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, The University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading, UK.

  4. 4Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, North Carolina Research Campus, Kannapolis, NC 28081, USA.

  5. 5Department of Microbiology, Tumor, and Cell Biology (MTC), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm 117 77, Sweden, and School of Biological Sciences and National Cancer Centre, 11 Hospital Drive, Singapore 169610.
  1. *To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: j.nicholson@imperial.ac.uk (J.K.N.);sven.pettersson@ki.se (S.P.)

ABSTRACT

The composition and activity of the gut microbiota codevelop with the host from birth and is subject to a complex interplay that depends on the host genome, nutrition, and life-style. The gut microbiota is involved in the regulation of multiple host metabolic pathways, giving rise to interactive host-microbiota metabolic, signaling, and immune-inflammatory axes that physiologically connect the gut, liver, muscle, and brain. A deeper understanding of these axes is a prerequisite for optimizing therapeutic strategies to manipulate the gut microbiota to combat disease and improve health.

 2) Crossover Immune Cells Blur the Boundaries

NEWS FOCUSIMMUNOLOGYCrossover Immune Cells Blur the Boundaries

  • Mitch Leslie

Science 8 June 2012: 1228-1229.

3)

Published Online June 6 2012
Science 8 June 2012:
Vol. 336 no. 6086 pp. 1321-1325
DOI: 10.1126/science.1222551
  • REPORT

Innate Lymphoid Cells Promote Anatomical Containment of Lymphoid-Resident Commensal Bacteria

  1. Gregory F. Sonnenberg1,
  2. Laurel A. Monticelli1,
  3. Theresa Alenghat1,
  4. Thomas C. Fung1,
  5. Natalie A. Hutnick2,
  6. Jun Kunisawa3,4,
  7. Naoko Shibata3,4,
  8. Stephanie Grunberg1,
  9. Rohini Sinha1,
  10. Adam M. Zahm5,
  11. Mélanie R. Tardif6,
  12. Taheri Sathaliyawala7,
  13. Masaru Kubota7,
  14. Donna L. Farber7,
  15. Ronald G. Collman8,
  16. Abraham Shaked9,
  17. Lynette A. Fouser10,
  18. David B. Weiner2,
  19. Philippe A. Tessier6,
  20. Joshua R. Friedman5,
  21. Hiroshi Kiyono3,4,11,
  22. Frederic D. Bushman1,
  23. Kyong-Mi Chang8,12,
  24. David Artis1,13,*

+Author Affiliations


  1. 1Department of Microbiology and Institute for Immunology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

  2. 2Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

  3. 3Division of Mucosal Immunology, Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 108-8639, Japan.

  4. 4Department of Medical Genome Science, Graduate School of Frontier Science, The University of Tokyo, Chiba 277-8562, Japan.

  5. 5Department of Pediatrics, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

  6. 6Centre de Recherche en Infectiologie, Centre Hospitalier de l’Université Laval, Faculty of Medicine, Laval University, Quebec, Canada.

  7. 7Department of Surgery and the Columbia Center for Translational Immunology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY 10032, USA.

  8. 8Department of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

  9. 9Department of Surgery, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

  10. 10Inflammation and Immunology Research Unit, Biotherapeutics Research and Development, Pfizer Worldwide R&D, Cambridge, MA 02140, USA.

  11. 11Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology, Japan Science and Technology Agency, Tokyo 102-0075, Japan.

  12. 12Philadelphia VA Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

  13. 13Department of Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
  1. *To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: dartis@mail.med.upenn.edu

ABSTRACT

The mammalian intestinal tract is colonized by trillions of beneficial commensal bacteria that are anatomically restricted to specific niches. However, the mechanisms that regulate anatomical containment remain unclear. Here, we show that interleukin-22 (IL-22)–producing innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are present in intestinal tissues of healthy mammals. Depletion of ILCs resulted in peripheral dissemination of commensal bacteria and systemic inflammation, which was prevented by administration of IL-22. Disseminating bacteria were identified as Alcaligenes species originating from host lymphoid tissues. Alcaligenes was sufficient to promote systemic inflammation after ILC depletion in mice, and Alcaligenes-specific systemic immune responses were associated with Crohn’s disease and progressive hepatitis C virus infection in patients. Collectively, these data indicate that ILCs regulate selective containment of lymphoid-resident bacteria to prevent systemic inflammation associated with chronic diseases.

  • Received for publication 28 March 2012.
  • Accepted for publication 24 April 2012.

Immunology: Allergy challenged

Nature

 484,

458–459

(26 April 2012)

doi:10.1038/484458a

Published online

 25 April 2012

An article suggesting that allergic responses may not be an accident of an off-target immune system, but rather a deliberate defence against potential harm, provokes the question of whether our understanding of allergy needs an overhaul. Immunologists provide their opinions. See Perspective p.465

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. David Artis is in the Department of Microbiology and the Institute for Immunology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.

  2. Rick M. Maizels is at the Institute of Immunology and Infection Research, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JT, UK.

  3. Fred D. Finkelman is in the Department of Medicine, Cincinnati Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio 45220, USA, and in the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and the Division of Cellular and Molecular Immunology, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to:

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Expression of novel genes in response to various stimuli in the human dermatophyte Trichophyton rubrum

Abstract

Background

Cutaneous mycoses are common human infections among healthy and immunocompromised hosts, and the anthropophilic fungus Trichophyton rubrum is the most prevalent microorganism isolated from such clinical cases worldwide. The aim of this study was to determine the transcriptional profile of T. rubrum exposed to various stimuli in order to obtain insights into the responses of this pathogen to different environmental challenges. Therefore, we generated an expressed sequence tag (EST) collection by constructing one cDNA library and nine suppression subtractive hybridization libraries.

Results

The 1388 unigenes identified in this study were functionally classified based on the Munich Information Center for Protein Sequences (MIPS) categories. The identified proteins were involved in transcriptional regulation, cellular defense and stress, protein degradation, signaling, transport, and secretion, among other functions. Analysis of these unigenes revealed 575 T. rubrum sequences that had not been previously deposited in public databases.

Conclusion

In this study, we identified novel T. rubrum genes that will be useful for ORF prediction in genome sequencing and facilitating functional genome analysis. Annotation of these expressed genes revealed metabolic adaptations of T. rubrum to carbon sources, ambient pH shifts, and various antifungal drugs used in medical practice. Furthermore, challenging T. rubrum with cytotoxic drugs and ambient pH shifts extended our understanding of the molecular events possibly involved in the infectious process and resistance to antifungal drugs.

Background

Trichophyton rubrum is a cosmopolitan dermatophyte that colonizes human skin and nails and is the most prevalent cause of human dermatophytoses [1,2]. During the initial stages of the infection, dermatophytes induce the expression of adhesins and unspecific proteases and keratinases that have optimum activity at acidic pH values [3], which is probably because the human skin has an acidic pH value [4]. The secretion of these proteases, which have been identified as an important step in fungal pathogenicity and virulence [5,6], act on keratinous and nonkeratinous substrates to release peptides that are further hydrolyzed to amino acids by putative peptidases. The metabolism of some amino acids shifts the extracellular pH from acidic to alkaline values at which most known keratinolytic proteases have optimal enzymatic activity[79]. T. rubrum also responds to the environmental pH by altering its gene expression profile[9,10].

Molecular studies have been performed with human pathogens such as Candida albicans,Histoplasma capsulatum, and Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, and the results thus obtained have helped to determine the fungal transcriptional profile and characterize the genes involved in host-pathogen interactions and environmental stress responses [1113]. Previously, a collection of T. rubrum expressed sequence tags (ESTs) was obtained from distinct developmental phases[14,15]. However, determining the transcriptional profiles in response to different cell stimuli is necessary for extending our understanding of diverse cellular events, and the results from such studies may reveal new signal transduction networks and the activation of specific metabolic pathways. Functional analysis of the genes involved in these molecular events will help in evaluating their roles as putative cellular targets in the development of new antifungal agents.

Our study aimed to extend the T. rubrum genomic database by adding expressed gene resources that cover different aspects of cellular metabolism. Moreover, the data can help to generate useful information to screen valuable genes for functional and postgenomic analyses. The EST collection described here revealed the metabolic adaptations of the human pathogen T. rubrum to changes in the ambient pH and carbon sources and also provided information on the adaptive responses to several cytotoxic drugs. 

__________________________________________________________________________________

Transcriptional profiling reveals the expression of novel genes in response to various stimuli in the human dermatophyte Trichophyton rubrum

Nalu TA Peres1Pablo R Sanches1Juliana P Falcão1,3Henrique CS Silveira1Fernanda G Paião1Fernanda CA Maranhão1Diana E Gras1Fernando Segato1Rodrigo A Cazzaniga1,Mendelson Mazucato1Jeny R Cursino-Santos1Roseli Aquino-Ferreira1Antonio Rossi2and Nilce M Martinez-Rossi1*

Author Affiliations

1Departamento de Genética, Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto 14049-900, SP, Brazil

2Departamento de Bioquímica e Imunologia, Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto 14049-900, SP, Brazil

3Current address: Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, 14040-903, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil

For all author emails, please log on.

 
 
 
 

BMC Microbiology 2010, 10:39 doi:10.1186/1471-2180-10-39

 

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2180/10/39

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June 20, 2012 · 11:48 pm

New York scientists Invent a novel way to remotely switch on an engineered gene to produce insulin.


Jeffrey Friedman, a molecular geneticist at the Rockefeller University in New York and colleagues came up with a novel way to switch on an engineered calcium-sensitive gene that produces insulin. Their method would allow scientists to manipulate cells remotely. Although they demonstrated it in mice, in the future this will have applications to develop medicines that can be controlled from far away. Some scientists predict this process may be a major breakthrough in health management. Click here to read original article in the journal science published on May 2012.

Importance of this discovery
Scientists now have the ability to remotely activate and deactivate genes. What does that mean? An example: Obesity and diabetes are the twin problems facing modern society, as a rising epidemic in 2012. Scientists all over the world are working on curing and preventing this double scourge. Diabetes patients require a regulated method of producing insulin. One team has invented a way to remotely order cells to produce insulin. You can imagine the implications of this remote-cell-control method with multiple uses. While the scientists used the process to demonstrate controlling insulin levels inside cells, they say that it could be used for other health issues. The importance of this discovery lies in the fact that radio waves could be used to remotely control a cell activity through a gene producing a desired product. Click here to read original article and find scientist affiliations.

How does this discovery work?
The process which Friedman and his colleagues used involved coated iron oxide nanoparticles with antibodies which then would bind to a modified version of an ion channel on the surface of cells. Let’s break this down step by step.

The target was a modified version of the temperature-sensitive ion channel known as TRPV1 and the researchers injected the particles into tumors growing under the skin of the mice being studied.

The researchers then utilized a magnetic field to heat the nanoparticles.

Low-frequency radio waves targeted the nanoparticles and heated them to 42 degrees Celsius;

the ion channel was activated;

allowing calcium to flow into the cells and trigger secondary signals;(Calcium is a super important element in the body. Read articles on “how and why to regulate calcium in Autism” below in related articles and also “how too much calcium can break bones and nails”)

a signal cascade pathway activated an engineered calcium-sensitive gene which produced insulin.

How long did the total process take? 30 seconds. That’s it! In a total of 30 seconds after exposure to radio waves, insulin levels in the mice increased and blood sugar levels dropped. A clever invention.

Goal of the inventors
The scientists did not aim to cure insulin levels remotely. Current methods may be far more convenient to the patient. However, this discovery has a potential to activate genes to produce other proteins to control various diseases.

The important milestones reached here:
Low frequency radio waves penetrating a body to reach nanoparticles to activate an engineered gene.
TRPV1 can focus those radio waves locally.
The research is still in very early stages and has many more milestones to reach.

Great steps achieved here:
coated iron oxide nanoparticles with antibodies;
that bind to a modified version of the temperature-sensitive ion channel TRPV1, which sits on the surface of cells;
injection of these particles into tumours grown under the skins of mice; (imagine the team work here)
using the magnetic field generated by a device similar to a miniature magnetic-resonance-imaging machine to heat the nanoparticles with low-frequency radio waves;
the nanoparticles heating the ion channel to its activation temperature of 42 °C;(knowledge of ion channel);
Opening the channel allowed calcium to flow into cells, (knowledge of calcium flow levels in cells);
triggering secondary signals that switched on an engineered calcium-sensitive gene that produces insulin (knowledge of a signal cascade or a pathway, distant from the original gene or protein targetted).

This research is just in its fledgling stages at the moment and this study is more of a proof of concept than anything else.

How to contact and encourage the scientists
Here we always urge our readers to contact the scientists to let them know how much you appreciate their efforts to improve society and health. Do invite them for talks. Do shower them with appreciation. Please, contact the scientists directly via email or snail mail at:

Jeffrey M. Friedman, Sarah A. Stanley1, Shadi Damanpour
Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10065, USA.
E-mail: friedj@mail.rockefeller.edu

Jennifer E. Gagner
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Rensselaer Nanotechnology Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180, USA.

Mitsukuni Yoshida
Elizabeth and Vincent Meyer Laboratory of Systems Cancer Biology, Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10065, USA.

Jonathan S. Dordick
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Department of Biology, Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180, USA.

Click here to read original article.

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