Brain and Diabetes
What has diabetes got to do with your brain? Well, it may shrink your brain by two years every decade, an alarming research has indicated. The study involved the MRI study of 614 Type-II diabetic patients. “Our research found that patients having more severe diabetes had less brain tissue, suggesting brain atrophy,” said R Nick Bryan, a professor of radiology at University of Pennsylvania’s Perleman School of Medicine.
For every 10 years of diabetic duration, the brain looked two years older compared to the brain of non-diabetics. Longer the duration of diabetes, the higher was the brain loss, especially of the grey matter. Interestingly, this was not due to micro-vascular disease either. They did not have increased vascular disease as is expected.
Though the authors of the study wrote that this is another reason to treat diabetes, there is no evidence to make that statement as yet. Maybe the study got money from the drug industry.
Faecal Microbiota Transplant
Otherwise called faecal transplant, FMT has come to stay in the treatment of antibiotic resistant Clostridium difficile infections which have become very common in the West. This germ is otherwise a common one and should not produce any illness. In the United States alone, it kills about 15,000 people every year!
Faecal transplant is a procedure in which stool is collected from a donor free of C. diff and those friendly gut bacteria are isolated from the faecal matter. These are then transferred to the recipient’s gut, through a Ryle’s tube, with the aim of replacing the good gut bacteria that may have been suppressed by overpopulation of C. diff.
Any new life-saving procedure looks good, to begin with. Now, there is a new case report which has shown a very interesting side-effect of FMT. A middle-aged lady, who received repeated faecal transplant for recurrent C. diff infection from an obese lady, has now developed obesity. She put on 35 pounds in six months. One lesson we learnt is that FMT should not be done from any obese donor. The other, more poignant, lesson is that the gut bacteria might hold the key for obesity treatment in the future. May be, this is a long shot; if this succeeds, we may be able to obviate the dangerous Bariatric surgery.
Eating Your Own Placenta
Some celebrities have been eating their own placenta to avoid postpartum depression and have been advertising in its favour. Many women in the West started doing that. In animal studies in rats, this has helped the rodent. Studies did not support this claim in humans.
Researchers found that “the primary motivation for most women for consuming placenta is to prevent postpartum depression,” said study’s co-author Cynthia Coyle, a clinical psychologist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. “But are women making the choice to do this, and forgoing other scientifically proven treatments? We don’t know the answer to that.”
During her studies, Dr Coyle was surprised to find how prevalent this placenta eating habit was. However, no study ever showed that placenta eating has any benefit. Unfortunately, there were no studies done to show what harm placenta eating does to the person. Dr Coyle also found that “chemical elements such as selenium, cadmium, mercury and lead, as well as bacteria, have been found in placental tissues. And women who buy placenta pills online should know that there are no regulations about what is in the pills,” Dr Coyle said: “The bottom line is that there are no human studies that show a benefit to eating the placenta.”