Here are some cool things I’ve run across lately:
While I went for a run on the beach in Florida, I listened to a podcast from my favorite site- Radiolab. This one was talking about an experiment done with bacteria in the gut. We all know there are tons of bacteria living in our bellies helping to digest food right? Well these scientists showed something very new about these bacteria. When mice were given probiotics (like the kind you get in yogurt) in high levels and then subjected to stress, they exhibited less of a stress response than mice who were not given probiotics.
This experiment was done in humans as well and the initial data is leading to the conclusion that probiotics can help fight off anxiety. So eat your yogurt and you might not have to take a Xanax!! To listen to the full podcast visit Gut Feelings.
Another cool article was one I saw in the New England Journal of Medicine just today. The article was about a study done on fasting and the response of cancer cells to chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is a collective term for many different kinds of drugs that target cells with increased activity. Some chemo agents target DNA formation. Some chemo agents target cellular division. But they all have a greater effect on cells that are metabolically active. If you think about cells in your body that are working all the time- it’s cells in your gut, hair cells, and immune cells. This is why chemo can cause nausea and vomiting, hair loss, and immunosuppression. The chemo can’t tell the difference between a cancer cell and your cells- it just goes to cells that are working overtime.
New data from this study connects fasting (restricting food intake) and the success of chemo. When you fast, your bodies cells go into maintenance or preservation mode. They slow down their activity to conserve energy. Cancer cells are unable to do this. So if your cells slow down, it makes the cancer cells stand out even more to the chemo. It also makes your cells less susceptible to chemo effects. In the study, participants had less adverse effects of chemo and greater success against the cancer.
But of course this study has it’s drawbacks. For one, after the patient (or mouse in the experiment) stopped fasting, the cancer came back. Also, cancer patients are very weak and fasting may lead to a nutritional deficiency that could be even more harmful than the chemo. This is still a very early study, but I think it’s super cool!
To read it for yourself visit the New England Journal of Medicine.
Lastly, this isn’t really science related but I wanted to mention it. Today I had an overweight patient in clinic who had many many complications and chronic diseases- most of which could be reduced by losing weight. I tried to talk to this patient about weight loss (and I think I have a pretty good motivational technique) and he was NOT interested AT ALL. He really had no desire to lose weight and seemed to not care at all. Some patients don’t want to lose weight because they feel hopeless and lost. That can be fixed. But this patient just didn’t have an interest in weight loss. He simply didn’t care!!
I was at a loss. You can’t make someone change if they don’t want to, but I couldn’t believe he really didn’t want to!
What do you think?
Have you ever experienced a situation where someone’s decisions baffled you?
What do you think someone should do for this patient? Is there any way to help this kind of person? Or do they have to help themselves?
Just some food for thought!