[ASC-media] Using diet to cope with the aftermath of stroke
niall at scienceinpublic.com.au
Tue Nov 12 15:58:13 PST 2013
Connie's not making a case for 'leaky gut syndrome' which it seems to me is up there with various other alternative 'syndromes' where someone argues that x is responsible for 'everything'. I like the description from Wikipedia which I've copied below.
Connie's work is really quite neat.
Over 60 per cent of stroke survivors go on to get infections. And many of them die from them.
Connie's drawn some clever connections and done the science to prove them. When the brain is injured by stroke, white blood cells rally to the call to repair the damage. But the brain can't afford the inflammation that the white blood cells will cause. It's the body's natural response to the injury that can cause much of the stroke damage. So the brain suppresses the immune system. And that, she thinks, allows normal gut flora in and triggers often deadly infections. The clinicians know about the infection risk and give stroke patients lots of antibiotics. Connie thinks there might be better ways including high fibre diet.
I'm guessing that in the fullness of time that as with other 'grab-bag' syndromes, we'll find that there's a grain of truth to leaky gut syndrome but that much of the hype will be overstated.
And from Prof Wiki...
Leaky gut (or intestinal permeability) is the phenomenon of the gut wall<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_gastrointestinal_tract> exhibiting increased permeability<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semipermeable_membrane>.<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leaky_gut#cite_note-ttt-1>
In mainstream medicine people with certain gut-related conditions may need treatment to reduce the inflammation of their bowel lining. In alternative medicine<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternative_medicine> a proposed medical condition, called leaky gut syndrome, has been popularized in which it is thought that substances migrate outwards through the gut wall<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_gastrointestinal_tract> with adverse health consequences.<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leaky_gut#cite_note-ttt-1>
Proponents of leaky gut syndrome say that an altered or damaged bowel lining or gut wall<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_gastrointestinal_tract> results from poor diet, parasites<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parasite>, infection, or medications<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medication>, and that this allows substances such as toxins<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxin#Non-technical_usage>, microbes, undigested food or waste to leak through. They say this prompts the body to initiate an immune<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immune_system> reaction leading to potentially severe health conditions.<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leaky_gut#cite_note-2>This theory is vague and largely unproven, and there is no evidence<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence-based_medicine> that the remedies marketed for treating leaky gut bring the benefits they claim.<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leaky_gut#cite_note-nhs-3> The scientific community continues to debate whether there is a connection between a leaky gut and autism.<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leaky_gut#cite_note-debate-4>
Some scientists and skeptics have expressed concern that the promotion of leaky gut syndrome is a dishonest ploy designed to make money from the sale of supposed remedies for it.<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leaky_gut#cite_note-nhs-3>
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From: Susan Kirk [mailto:skirk at iprimus.com.au]
Sent: Wednesday, 13 November 2013 9:23 AM
To: Niall Byrne; asc-media at lists.asc.asn.au
Subject: Re: [ASC-media] Using diet to cope with the aftermath of stroke
Interesting..the leaky gut syndrome? Another area that is boohooed.
On 12/11/13 5:56 PM, "Niall Byrne" <niall at scienceinpublic.com.au> wrote:
$25,000 Centenary Institute Lawrence Creative Prize goes to young Melbourne researcher
Tonight, one of Australia's most creative young medical researchers won a $25,000 prize to help her develop her ideas on how diet could prevent stroke deaths.
[cid:image001.jpg at 01CEE05A.AE02CA60]Connie Wong thinks we may be able to prevent early deaths following stroke with a fibre-based diet. She initially used innovative microscope techniques to determine how stroke weakens the immune system. Now she is studying how it also induces leakiness in the gut wall, leading to infection and an upsurge in deaths. And the solution may well lie in diet.
For her proposed ambitious and innovative research program, Dr Wong of the Department of Immunology at Monash University received this year's $25,000 Centenary Institute Lawrence Creative Prize at a ceremony hosted by UBS in Sydney.
Stroke is the second leading cause of mortality in Australia, resulting in more than 10% of all deaths. Of the survivors, over 60% die within a year or become dependent on others. The cost to the community annually is more than $2 billion. "So any increase in understanding the mechanisms and consequences of stroke that results in more efficient treatment could have enormous social and economic benefits," says Dr Wong.
In a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Calgary in Canada, Connie showed that stroke triggers a release of compounds by the nervous system, seemingly to reduce the level of inflammation in the brain. But this is at the cost of weakening the response of the immune system to infection generally.
In particular, Connie found that these compounds change the behaviour of the white blood cells known as invariant natural killer T cells. As a result the body becomes increasingly susceptible to infection after a stroke, and that correlates with a subsequent upsurge in deaths from infectious diseases.
Now Connie wants to investigate a linked observation that the gut wall becomes more permeable immediately following a stroke, allowing normally harmless gut bacteria to move into the body where they can initiate infection. She suspects that the combination of the leakiness of the gut and the reduced ability of the immune system to guard against bacteria, and that may be the cause of increased vulnerability to infection after a stroke. She now wants to explore if this can be alleviated by an appropriate, fibre-based diet.
"Exceptional young scientists can be hard to keep in Australia and we hope this award will not only celebrate their achievements but also encourage a domestic culture of brilliance in this truly important field," says Centenary Institute Executive Director, Professor Mathew Vadas AO.
The two other finalists who each received $5,000 to go towards their research, were:
* Dr William (Will) Ritchie from the Centenary Institute, who has used statistics to unmask a molecular mechanism that cells use to regulate the levels of individual proteins. Future development of this work could lead to drug therapies for leukaemia, Alzheimer's disease, cardiac disease and liver cancer. He is now modifying his statistical tool to allow medical laboratories to detect the new mechanism- intron retention-quickly and easily.
* Dr Anne Abbott from Monash University, who is transforming the prevention of carotid artery stroke. She has shown that a healthy lifestyle and medication are now better than surgery or stenting for preventing stroke in patients with symptomless narrowing of the carotid artery. But that wasn't enough. She's has successfully campaigned to get the international medical establishment to update health policy, guidelines and practice.
The Centenary Institute Lawrence Creative Prize is awarded for creative biomedical research excellence. Since 2011, the prize has had nine finalists and more than 30 semi-finalists.
"We believe the prize has identified a core of Australia's creative talent and created an alumni of young medical researchers who are not only aware of current issues but are not afraid to attack tomorrow's problems," said Professor Vadas.
* To arrange interviews, contact Tamzin Byrne, tamzin at scienceinpublic.com.au, 0432 974 400
* High res photos and more information on the prize at www.scienceinpublic.com.au/centenary<http://www.scienceinpublic.com.au/centenary> <http://www.centenary.org.au/p/about/lawrencecreative/>
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