Delivery mode and gestational duration decides dynamics of infant gut microbiota

Gut microbiota research has opened a whole now world of our understanding of human physiology right from neuronal functioning to respiratory function to liver function to reproductive functioning.


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As a part of the Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes (GUSTO) study, researchers from Singapore, UK and Nestlé Research Center, Switzerland have found that infant gut bacterial makeup is influenced by external factors such as delivery mode and gestational duration. The study also found that infants with a mature gut bacteria profile at an early age had normal levels of body fat at the age of 18 months, while infants with less mature gut bacteria profiles tended to have lower levels of body fat at the age of 18 months, indicating that gut bacteria could be related to normal development and healthy weight gain.

The study published in mBio shows that most infants had acquired a microbiota profile high in Bifidobacterium and Collinsella by 6 months of age, but the time point of this acquisition was later in infants delivered by caesarean section and those…

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How much you love your near and dear ones

From dead to diamond: Company turns loved ones’ ashes to jewels

Ashes To Diamonds

A finished diamond is seen after the process of turning cremated ashes into a precious stone at the Swiss-based company Algordanza.

Caters News Agency

Diamonds are forever — and your cremated remains could be too!

A company in Switzerland called Algordanza, which means remembrance, is giving people the chance to memorialize themselves or others by converting their ashes into the precious stones, Caters News Agency reports.

The deadly diamonds are created in a high-tech lab using a chemical process to extract carbon from cremated human remains before converting them into graphite.

The process is a genuine replica of conditions seen at the center of the earth that are responsible for forming diamonds naturally.

The graphite is then placed inside a machine where it is exposed to extremely high pressure and temperatures of around 2,732 degrees Fahrenheit. Just weeks later, a diamond is formed.

Algordanza produces around 850 Memorial Diamonds each year, according to Caters. People have amazingly coughed up anywhere from $10,000 to $32,000 for the prized possessions.

Teaching Alternatives to Fighting and Tattling

Posted January 20, 2015 by Terry Wilhelm in Leaders’ Link

Just for APs: Tattling AlternativesI’ve discussed a variety of actions I took as a principal who worked without an assistant principal to change a culture of fighting at an elementary school. Another component of my long-term work on this problem was to implement response alternatives to provocations that could lead to fighting but also to tattling, which is a huge time-waster and distraction for staff. Tattling, which occurs from elementary to high school, can prevent staff from paying attention to more important issues and enables a potentially debilitating helplessness in students for solving problems on their own.

Reporting bullying is not tattling

I will stop here to make an important distinction: it is critical for students to feel safe reporting bullying. The tragedy of students who fear going to school, become depressed, and even commit suicide make it imperative for all school personnel to nip bullying in the bud. Many fine programs have sprung up in recent years to address bullying behavior, and every school needs to be sure that there is something in place to root it out.

That said, most tattling — and most fights — originate from small, non-bullying issues that escalate like the proverbial mountain made from a molehill. With the support of my ad-hoc School Climate Committee, I asked each teacher to hold a series of lessons on alternatives to tattling or fighting.

Teaching students to solve problems on their own: tattling alternatives

A very experienced teacher friend of mine had developed a list that gave students a list of responses they could give when someone bothered them or angered them before running to a teacher for help. Her list included:

  • Do something else
  • Say “I’m Sorry”
  • Tell them to stop
  • Walk away
  • Ignore
  • Do it over

Since so many fights originated on the basketball court, the last one became a lifesaver.

Each week, I asked the teachers to teach a new response and have students roleplay it with each other. Mid-week, I would visit classrooms and ask for a couple of volunteers in each one to roleplay a specific situation that I gave them. Students, even the worst offenders, couldn’t wait to volunteer. Whenever I was on the yard during breaks, I would quiz students about what alternatives they had learned for dealing with problems with peers outside the classroom.

After the teachers gave each lesson to the students, I informed the campus yard supervisors. They were to ask tattlers what they had tried already and remind them of their alternatives. As they supervised the basketball court, “Do It Over” was a key behavior I expected them to insist on.

Tattle-thwarting behavior skills for high schools

At the secondary level, it may seem too elementary to approach teachers to teach behavior skills like these as directly instructed lessons. If that is the case, I suggest targeting problematic groups where lots of referrals are generated or many fights occur. Ninth-grade homeroom teachers, special education teachers, and alternative education teachers could teach and have students practice these kinds of behavior lessons, modifying the language appropriately for older students.

The involvement and follow-up of an administrative leader is key to reinforcing these efforts, initially at the classroom level, and then campus-wide. All key supervisors should know the new expectations for student responses so that everyone is on board to remind students of their alternatives.

At my school, these simple alternative responses for students to use began to have a quickly noticeable effect on both tattling and fight instigation. Students simply had not known what to do in problem situations, but they were ready to learn.

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Smoking and the disappearing Y, are men losing what makes them men?

Science Translation

Smoking has killed countless people over the years and it has been projected that between the years 2000 and 2050 about 450 million more people will die from smoking related diseases. In many smokers, lung cancer is the primary cause of death followed by heart disease, however people who smoke can get cancers anywhere in the body including the lips, stomach, pancreas, liver, colon and rectum. Interestingly, there is data to show the men are around two times more likely to suffer from these other forms of cancer then women (excluding sex specific cancers). Up until recently, no one had an explanation as to why this may be. However, a report published in Science suggests that damage to, and loss of the males Y chromosome could account for this difference.

Every person has 46 chromosomes (23 pairs) in the cells of their body that contain and organize all the…

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BioBit – The bacteria and antibiotics arms race

Science Translation

It’s been shown that there are 10 times as many bacteria on you as there are human cells in your body, this is called your microbiome. Your microbiome plays an important role in aiding digestion, training your immune system and preventing the growth of harmful bacteria. For the most part this bacteria does no harm to you, however every so often you get infected with pathogens that require the use of antibiotics. This video helps explain good vs. bad bacteria.

Antibiotics, like penicillin, kill bacteria by targeting the unique traits that make them bacteria, like their cell wall or specific enzymes. This means the drugs don’t affect human cells and can often be used with minimal side effects.

Antibiotics, in general, are very good at killing off bacteria and this is why they have been successful in limiting the impact of infectious diseases since their introduction around the 1940’s. The trouble…

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Resetting the immune system: a treatment for multiple sclerosis.

Science Translation

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a debilitating illness in which the immune system begins to attack the insulation (myelin) that surrounds the neurons in our brains. The damage of this attack effectively short circuits the messages our brain send to the body resulting in troubles with balance, coordination, muscle strength, sensations and tremors. There is no known cause for MS but research has suggested that there is a genetic component, related to your body’s inflammatory response, as well as a potential link between viral infection (Epstein Barr and Herpes viruses) and MS development. These viruses infect the majority of the population, 90% in the case of Epstein Barr, and so there must be some other factor that contributes to MS development or the rate of MS in the population would be higher. As it is, MS occurs in approximately 240 people out of every 100,000 Canadians. It was suggested by…

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The pill and gliomas, is there cause for worry or is it too soon?

Science Translation

Hormonal contraceptives, also known as the pill, are among the most common type of birth control. They are highly effective with less than 1% of users experiencing a pregnancy per year. Beyond the ability to help with the prevention of pregnancy and family planning, the pill has been shown to be effective in helping control particularly painful cramping during monthly periods as well as aiding in more complex disorders like polycystic ovary disease. While the pill has become a staple for women looking to prevent unwanted pregnancies, there has been concerns raised in the past about cancer risks, and a new study has raised concerns about a specific form of cancer, gliomas or brain tumour.

The study, published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, looked into whether the use of hormonal contraceptives increased the risk of developing gliomas, the most common type of brain tumour. The researchers used…

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