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Wednesday 22 November 2017

Lessons on the gut flora of the Hadza

If we want to know how we used to live, we should look at the Hadza of Tanzania. They can also teach us a lot about gut flora, but we do have to be fast as the first Hadza people have been spotted using a mobile telephone.   The Hadza – a traditional tribe in Tanzania – are an important source of information about how our ancestors lived. However, nowadays only 200 Hadza people live like their (not so ancient) ancestors. The remainder of the tribe, around 800...

Saturday 11 November 2017

Relationship between depression and elevated CRP levels

When the inflammatory marker CRP is elevated, we particularly think about low-grade inflammation and diseases of affluence such as obesity. But an elevated CRP value has also been found to be related to a higher risk of psychological symptoms and depression.   Elevated levels of the inflammatory marker CRP (C-reactive protein) are a characteristic of low-grade inflammation. This process plays an important role in many diseases of affluence, including cardiovascular disease,...

Thursday 19 October 2017

The epigenetics of addiction

Why do people slip back into unhealthy habits so often? Why is there such a high risk of relapse after abstaining from an addictive substance? A study published in Neuron reveals that the nucleus accumbens, epigenetics and the environment play a crucial role.   An addiction is an irresistible desire to search for rewarding or calming stimuli, irrespective of the negative consequences that these can have. Through repeated contact with the desired stimuli, the sensitivity to...

Monday 11 September 2017

Big data: correlation between migraine and IBS

A study involving anonymous patient data from 480,000 people reveals surprising genetic correlations between various disorders. These correlations– such as between IBS and migraine – do not appear in the current illness classification systems.   What is big data? In brief, this involves the use of statistical models on very large datasets. These tend to be performed by large companies to monitor online consumer behaviour and promote purchasing behaviour. But the...