Gut microbiome during infancy may predict future type 1 diabetes by Michael Monostra for, 27 March 2023.

Children who develop type 1 diabetes may have biomarkers present in the gut microbiome as early as age 1 year, according to a study published in Diabetologia.

In a comparison of stool samples collected at age 1 year among a small group of children who developed type 1 diabetes in the future and children who would not develop diabetes, researchers observed differences in microbiome composition. The findings suggest analyzing the gut microbiome may help identify infants who have an elevated risk for developing type 1 diabetes.

“Screening children at birth for genetic risk and monitoring gut health over time would be helpful and allow for dietary or probiotic interventions to improve gut health,” said Eric W. Triplett, PhD, professor and chair of the department of microbiology and cell science at the University of Florida.

Read more: Gut microbiome during infancy may predict future type 1 diabetes

Walnuts for heart health: Effect on the gut may be key by Erika Watts for, 26 March 2023.

Researchers from Texas Tech University in Lubbock and Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA, wanted to learn more about how walnuts may benefit the heart, and whether that starts in the gut. They conducted their study by analyzing the genetic expression of microbes in participants who either did or did not consume a diet with walnuts. The study results were presented at Discover DMB, which is the annual meeting of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Walnuts have a higher alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) content, which is significant because ALA may impact neurological and cardiovascular health.  The researchers found higher levels of Gordonibacter bacteria in the walnut diet group. This bacterium is responsible for metabolizing plant compounds. The researchers also saw higher levels of gene expression in pathways involved with the amino acid L-homoarginine in the walnut diet group. This is significant because people with low homoarginine levels are at a higher risk for heart disease.

“This research suggests that by adjusting diet and modulating intestinal microbiota composition and metabolism — e.g. starting to eat a cup of walnuts each day — we may be able to better help cardiovascular disease prevention,” said Dr. John Higgins, professor of cardiovascular medicine with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, who was not involved in the study.  H did caution that “[m]ore research is needed.”

Read more: Walnuts for heart health: Effect on the gut may be key

Cognitive behavioral therapy-based intervention reduces diabetes distress for adults by Michael Monostra for, 30 March 2023.  

 A cognitive behavioral therapy multidisciplinary intervention was associated with a reduction in HbA1c and improvements in diabetes distress for adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, according to study findings, published in The Science of Diabetes Self-Management and Care.

“This study demonstrated the feasibility and positive outcomes of a diabetes distress and adherence support intervention delivered by diabetes care and education specialists and behavioral health professionals that is designed for scalability in diabetes centers to support the delivery of integrated patient care,” Mary de Groot, PhD, associate professor of medicine and acting director of the Diabetes Translational Research Center at Indiana University, and colleagues wrote. “Future studies will focus on adapting and providing the intervention to larger groups of patients with diabetes using flexible virtual formats to demonstrate efficacy and generalizability on a larger scale.”

I frequently comment: Type 1 diabetes is an unrelenting, impossible disease to manage and live with.  There are way too many variables for a human brain to balance and juggle.  When BGs are less than optimal, all those decision points become even harder tasks to achieve.  There are few pleasurable rewards and there is a multiple of possible complications in the road ahead.  Truly impossible and exhausting.  

When it comes to psychosocial intervention, adult T1Ds lose again!  Depression was the most common domain assessed, with 96% of pediatric clinics and 38% of adult clinics assessing depression. ONLY 38% of adult clinics even assess for depression!!!

“Diabetes is a lifelong condition, yet the resources in pediatric and adult health care settings to address psychosocial concerns are vastly different,” Sarah D. Corathers, MD, associate professor and clinical director of the division of pediatric endocrinology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine said. “Adult centers report limited access to social work and mental health referral resources services with a lower likelihood of embedded interdisciplinary team members as compared to pediatric health delivery settings. These health system gaps translate into lower rates of psychosocial screening in adult health care contexts despite recognition of the ongoing relevance across the life span.”

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And now, just for a fun detour:

Plants let out secret high-pitch screams when stressed by Jason Goodyer for, 30 March 2023.

While the above scenario is a gross exaggeration, biologists from Tel Aviv University have found that plants emit sounds comparable in volume to normal human conversation when they are stressed.  Thankfully, they’re too high pitched for humans to hear but it is likely they can be heard by insects and other mammals, the researchers say.

“Even in a quiet field, there are actually sounds that we don’t hear, and those sounds carry information,” said senior author Prof Lilach Hadany, an evolutionary biologist based at Tel Aviv University.  “There are animals that can hear these sounds, so there is the possibility that a lot of acoustic interaction is occurring.”

They found that stressed plants produced around 30 to 50 high-pitched clicks or pops per hour at random intervals, while unstressed produced far fewer. What’s more, the machine-learning algorithm was able to identify the different types of sounds produced depending on the cause of stress and also which plant they came from.

The precise cause of these noises is unknown. Still, the researchers hypothesize that cavitation—the production and bursting of air bubbles in the plant’s vascular system—might be to blame.

Although it is uncertain if the plants are making these noises to communicate with other living things, the researchers argue that their existence has significant ecological and evolutionary ramifications. “It’s possible that other organisms could have evolved to hear and respond to these sounds,” explained Hadany.

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