Category Archives: Uncategorized

Intermittent Fasting Confers Protection in CNS Autoimmunity by Altering the Gut Microbiota

A mouse study, published on the June issue of Cell Metabolism, shows that intermittent fasting (IF) ameliorated the clinical course and pathology of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). EAE is the animal model used to study an inflammatory and demyelinating disease of the central nervous system, which is used to mimic human multiple sclerosis.  IF led to increased gut bacteria richness, enrichment of the Lactobacillaceae, Bacteroidaceae, and Prevotellaceae families and enhanced antioxidative microbial metabolic pathways. IF altered T-cells in the gut with a reduction of IL-17 producing T cells and an increase in regulatory T cells. Fecal microbiome transplantation from mice on IF ameliorated EAE in immunized recipient mice on a normal diet, suggesting that IF effects are at least partially mediated by the gut flora. In a pilot clinical trial in MS patients, intermittent energy restriction altered blood adipokines and the gut flora resembling protective changes observed in mice. In conclusion, IF has potent immunomodulatory effects that are at least partially mediated by the gut microbiome.

The study was conducted in collaboration by researchers at multiple universities in the U.S. and Italy.

Increased Aerobic Fitness Is Associated with Cortical Thickness in Older Adults with Mild Vascular Cognitive Impairment

A recent article published in the Journal of Cognitive Enhancement reviews a randomized controlled trial with 71 older adults with sub-cortical ischemic vascular cognitive impairment (SIVCI).

At trial completion, compared with the control group, participants in the aerobic training group showed significantly improved aerobic fitness, increased change in cortical thickness, and change in the right superior temporal gyrus thickness. Maintenance of cortical thickness was independently and significantly associated with improved processing speed performance on the digit symbol substitution test (DSST) over the 6-month trial.  The study concluded, a 6-month aerobic training program may promote cognitive outcomes in older adults with mild SIVCI by improving aerobic fitness capacity and maintaining cortical thickness.

Short Sleep May be a Newly Identified Modifiable Risk Factor for Obesity

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds that short sleep duration may be a newly identified modifiable risk factor for obesity.

Experimental evidence investigating the effects of sleep deprivation on insulin resistance, glucose levels, appetite hormone dysregulation, and weight gain has indicated that poor sleep is potentially detrimental to overall health.

image credit: Mariah Aro Sharp @mightymooseart

The aim of this research was to assess the feasibility of sleep extension (SE) by using a behavioral change approach through sleep hygiene under free-living conditions in healthy adults who are habitually short sleepers. If it was shown to be feasible to extend sleep duration in this population, it was hypothesized that SE would lead to changes in secondary outcome measures that are conducive to weight maintenance.  To test this hypothesis, the secondary aim of the study was to conduct a pilot investigation on the effects of SE on dietary intake and indicators of energy balance.

The study results show that short sleepers were able to extend their sleep through personalized behavior modification. Sleep extension led to reduced free sugar intakes and may be a viable strategy that helps to limit excessive sugar consumption in an obesity-promoting environment.

New Study Provides Insight into Blood Signatures of Inflammation

A new study from Boston University Schools of Medicine (BUSM) and Public Health (BUSPH) has identified patterns of inflammation in the blood and adipose tissue. Researchers found six cytokines (immune cell signaling proteins) signature patterns involving 16 cytokines.  (Inflammation is characterized by an interplay between pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines.) These findings were validated in cohort studies and are believed to be significant for clinical identification of those at risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Read more.

The National Institute of Health’s “All of Us” Research Program

The NIH (National Institute of Health) is recruiting 1 million people to share their DNA and 10 years of health history.  The massive biobank effort, known as the Precision Medicine Initiative, was first announced by President Obama in his 2015 State of the Union address.  Congress authorized $1.45 billion over 10 years for the project. The initiative is a move toward expanding our understanding of the intimate link between genetics, lifestyle, and the environment.  The program’s long-term goal is to expand access to precision medical care. Most biomedical research to date has been done on non-rural, educated, white males. One of the fundamental goals of the NIH’s research program is to get participants that are underrepresented in biomedical research. To participate in the program, any U.S. resident over 18 can signup at the All of Us Research Program. Official enrollment began May 6, 2018.