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Today in Medicine: Pig poop may hold clues for autoimmune disorders

Plus: New hope for diabetics and a warning for anyone considering a tattoo.

Topic of Study: Pig parasite for autoimmune disorders


Study subjects: Various data

Location of study: U.S.

Results:
Coronado Biosciences Inc. has developed a potential treatment for
autoimmune disorders that is made from parasite eggs procured from pig
feces. The eggs from a common, harmless parasite are unable to survive
in the human gut more than two weeks. When inside the body, the
parasites appear to prevent a patient's immune system from attacking the
body's own tissues and organs.

Significance: For sufferers of
autoimmune illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease,
this treatment might prove an effective, naturally-derived cure. The
idea is based on the "hygiene hypothesis," which theorizes that
less-developed countries develop fewer autoimmune diseases because their
populations are exposed to bacteria that fight off infections in the
body. The elimination of such bacteria in environments striving to be
sanitary may be leading to issues across more developed populations.

Topic of Study: Resveratrol for diabetes


Study subjects: 62 patients with type 2 diabetes

Location of study: U.S.

Results: A new study at the University of Florida found that resveratrol supplementation helps manage blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. The three-month study compared a control group taking standard oral anti-diabetes medications with a group that also received 250 mg resveratrol per day in addition to their diabetic medication. The group adding resveratrol had improved blood sugar control and hemoglobin A1c Levels. The researchers also noted better total cholesterol levels and systolic blood pressure compared to the control group.

Significance: This is promising news for the 28.5 million Americans with diabetes.

Topic of Study: Contaminated tattoo ink


Study subjects: Various data

Location of study: U.S.

Results: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a cautionary notice regarding tattoos. Of concern are infections caused by bacteria called nontuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM), which has been found in contaminated tattoo inks. The bacteria can cause lung disease, eye problems and infections in the joints and organs. Over the past year, one tattoo artist was found to have infected over a dozen people in New York state. It was traced to the ink manufacturer.

Significance: As the infections can look like allergic reactions, consumers should have any tattoo-related infection looked at by a doctor.



Topic of Study: Obese kids and gallstones
Study subjects: 510,000 children ages 10-19


Location of study: U.S.


Results: A recent study published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition states that overweight children and adolescents are twice as likely to have gallstone disease as children and adolescents with a normal body mass index. Overweight girls were more prone to gallstones than boys. Gallstone symptoms sometimes don't show, but when they do, they manifest through abdominal pain and general nausea.

Significance: The findings are especially troubling because according to the study's lead author, Corinna Koebnick, Ph.D., gallstones are normally associated with adults, not children. Gallstones can lead to infections and, if left untreated, can be fatal.

 
 
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