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Dr. Lamm's weekly review of relevant articles and research

There is an increasing amount of information available about the gut.  Here are a few informative articles you may find valuable.


Probiotics: More Evidence of Efficacy

Probiotics: More Evidence of Efficacy
Published: May 31, 2013 | Updated: May 31, 2013, By Charlene Laino , Senior Writer, Gupta Guide.  Reviewed by Zalman S. Agus, MD; Emeritus Professor, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Dorothy Caputo, MA, BSN, RN, Nurse Planner

Probiotic supplements are a cheap, safe, and effective way to prevent Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea, according to a systematic review by the Cochrane Collaboration.

In a case-analysis of 23 trials involving 4,213 people, prophylactic probiotics reduced the risk of C. difficile diarrhea by 64%, compared with people given no treatment or placebo, reported Bradley Johnston, MD, of The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute in Toronto, and colleagues.

Specifically, the incidence of C. difficile diarrhea was 2.0% in the probiotic group compared with 5.5% in the placebo or no treatment control group (RR 0.36; 95% CI 0.26-0.51).

The findings add to a growing body of evidence that prophylaxis with probiotics confers protection against diarrhea in people taking antibiotics. That protection comes via a variety of mechanisms -- improving the microbial balance of the host, counteracting disturbances in intestinal ?ora, and reducing the risk of colonization by pathogenic bacteria, the researchers wrote.

Johnston noted that probiotics are becoming increasingly available as capsules and dairy-based food supplements in health food stores and supermarkets.


Can Gut Bugs Make You Fat? Or Skinny?

Can Gut Bugs Make You Fat? Or Skinny?
Published: Sep 7, 2013, By Kristina Fiore, Staff Writer, MedPage Today, Reviewed by Robert Jasmer, MD; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

Transplanting intestinal bacteria from lean or obese humans can turn mice fat or thin, and diet may transform that phenotype, researchers found.

In a series of studies using fecal material from pairs of obese and lean twins, mice given bacteria from the heavier twin gained more weight and packed on more adipose tissue than mice given bacteria from the thin twin (P?0.01), Jeffrey Gordon, MD, of Washington University in St. Louis, and colleagues reported in Science.

There was also evidence of bacterial sharing when these mice were housed together, and the lean mice appeared to confer protective benefits to their obese counterparts. That effect was facilitated by a healthy, low-saturated-fat, high-fiber diet, but was stymied by an unhealthy one full of saturated fats and short on fiber, Gordon and colleagues reported.

"We now have a way of identifying such interactions, dependent on diet, and thinking about what features of our unhealthy diets we could transform in ways that would encourage bacteria to establish themselves in our guts, and do the jobs needed to improve our well-being," Gordon said in a statement.

Much research has focused on the effects of the intestinal microbiome and its effects on human obesity. Recent findings from the MetaHIT project in Europe have shown that these 'gut bugs' have a great impact on metabolic health.


Abdominal Pain? Constipation? Talk it Out

Diagnosing and treating chronic GI conditions

Steven Lamm, MD, CNN.com

http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/28/health/gi-disorders-ibs-cic/, 8/28/2013


Editor's note: Dr. Steven Lamm is a practicing internist, faculty member at New York University School of Medicine, and the Director of Men's Health for NYU Medical Center. Dr. Lamm is the author of "No Guts, No Glory."

(CNN) -- For millions in the United States, daily activities like going to work or school are accompanied by bothersome gastrointestinal problems, such as abdominal pain or constipation.

You may think these symptoms are too embarrassing to discuss with anyone. But trust me, these are common problems, and you your doctor wants to hear about them!

It's important to be candid with your physician about all your GI symptoms and how frequently they are occurring. You may have a chronic GI disorder such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease or celiac disease. Or you may have a functional bowel disorder; two of the most common are irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) and chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC).

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