26 November 2019 In Liver Disease

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the hepatic consequence of metabolic syndrome, which often also includes obesity, diabetes, and dyslipidemia. The connection between gut microbiota (GM) and NAFLD has attracted significant attention in recent years. Data has shown that GM affects hepatic lipid metabolism and influences the balance between pro/anti-inflammatory effectors in the liver. Although studies reveal the association between GM dysbiosis and NAFLD, decoding the mechanisms of gut dysbiosis resulting in NAFLD remains challenging. The potential pathophysiology that links GM dysbiosis to NAFLD can be summarized as: (1) disrupting the balance between energy harvest and expenditure, (2) promoting hepatic inflammation (impairing intestinal integrity, facilitating endotoxemia, and initiating inflammatory cascades with cytokines releasing), and (3) altered biochemistry metabolism and GM-related metabolites (i.e., bile acid, short-chain fatty acids, aromatic amino acid derivatives, branched-chain amino acids, choline, ethanol). Due to the hypothesis that probiotics/synbiotics could normalize GM and reverse dysbiosis, there have been efforts to investigate the therapeutic effect of probiotics/synbiotics in patients with NAFLD. Recent randomized clinical trials suggest that probiotics/synbiotics could improve transaminases, hepatic steatosis, and reduce hepatic inflammation. Despite these promising results, future studies are necessary to understand the full role GM plays in NAFLD development and progression. Additionally, further data is needed to unravel probiotics/synbiotics efficacy, safety, and sustainability as a novel pharmacologic approaches to NAFLD.

26 November 2019 In General Health

BACKGROUND: The Mediterranean diet (MD) has been reported to be associated with lower cancer risk. However, while previous studies explored major single components of the MD, only 1 previous study has investigated adherence to the MD in relation to melanoma risk.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to explore the relations between adherence to the MD and the risk of skin cancer, including melanomas, basal cell carcinomas (BCCs), and squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs).

DESIGN: Etude Epidemiologique aupres de femmes de la Mutuelle Generale de l'Education Nationale (E3N) is a prospective cohort of 98,995 French women aged 40-65 y in 1990. Dietary data were collected via a validated food questionnaire in 1993. Adherence to the MD was assessed using a 9-unit dietary score that incorporates intakes of fruit, vegetables, legumes, cereal products, olive oil, fish, dairy products, meat products, and alcohol. We used Cox proportional hazards regression models to compute HRs and 95% CIs adjusted for age and main known skin cancer risk factors.

RESULTS: From 1993 to 2008, a total of 2003 skin cancer cases were ascertained among 67,332 women, including 404 melanomas, 1367 BCCs, and 232 SCCs. Score of adherence to the MD was associated with lower risk of skin cancer (HR: 0.83; 95% CI: 0.73, 0.93 for high compared with low score, Ptrend = 0.001). MD score was also inversely and linearly associated with risks of melanoma (HR: 0.72; 95% CI: 0.54, 0.96; Ptrend = 0.02) and BCC (HR: 0.77; 95% CI: 0.66, 0.90; Ptrend = 0.0006) but not SCC (HR: 1.08; 95% CI: 0.75, 1.55; Ptrend = 0.68), although with no heterogeneity across skin cancer types (Pheterogeneity = 0.23).

CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that adherence to the MD is associated with a lower skin cancer risk in women, particularly melanoma and BCC. If confirmed in future research, these findings may have important implications in skin cancer prevention.

26 November 2019 In General Health

Ancient Greece was the cradle of the Mediterranean food tradition, characterized by the Mediterranean "eternal trinity" wheat - olive oil - wine, the very essence of the country's traditional agricultural and dietary regime, enriched by a culture of sharing and commensality. This food model, subsequently adopted and spread by the Romans, was rediscovered at the end of the Second World War by two American researchers, Leland Allbaugh and Ancel Keys. With the famous Seven Countries Study, Keys demonstrated for the first time that populations practicing a Mediterranean diet - such as the Greeks and southern Italians - showed low mortality rates from ischemic heart disease compared to the peoples of Northern Europe and North America. Since then, numerous subsequent epidemiological studies and randomized clinical trials have confirmed the beneficial effects of the Mediterranean diet both in primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular diseases. This review will focus on the origins of the Mediterranean diet from its roots and its relationship to cardiovascular disease, with a brief overview of the nutritional mechanisms that influence atherosclerosis.

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