Good news: If you’re a fan of probiotics, another health benefit has been added to the ranks, this time concerning lowered colorectal cancer (CRC) risk. A known immune booster, probiotics also hinder harmful pathogens in the gut that can lead to cellular mutations. Not only that, certain species of beneficial bacteria form conjugated linoleic acid in the colon, which may inhibit the development of cancer through anti-inflammatory action.
Keeping the colon healthy and disease-free
According to Cancer Active, Professor Ian Rowland at the University of Ulster, a leading expert on diet and cancer prevention, notes:
“Studies using cultures of human colon cells grown in flasks show that probiotics can interfere with the action of cancer forming substances. When probiotics have been given to laboratory rats, they have decreased the level of gene damage (an important event in cancer) and reduced the numbers of tumours induced in the colon. There are only a few studies in humans because of the difficulties in studying the effects of diet on human cancer. However, in the few studies that have been done, probiotics – sometimes in combination with prebiotics – have shown effects suggesting that they may reduce the risk of colon cancer.”
At a molecular level, researchers believe probiotics help discourage colon cancer by:
Stimulating the immune systemProducing beneficial short-chain fatty acidsHindering enzymic activities linked with carcinogensActivating beneficial anti-carcinogenic enzymesEncouraging higher levels of butyric acid in the colon (an important growth regulator for colon cells)
Probiotics also bind to bile salts. Epidemiological studies have found a strong connection between CRC risk and diets that are high in certain types of fat, such as corn oil, safflower oil, lard or beef tallow. Researchers believe this is due to increased level of bile acids, which are necessary to digest fat. When the bile is broken down in the colon, the byproducts have a cytotoxic effect on colon cells, triggering proliferation and the possibility of cancer. Probiotics help protect against this hazard in the following manner: modulation of enzymes that create harmful wastes and also by reducing the toxicity of bile salts through a binding effect.
Moreover, two types of probiotics, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bififobacterium lactis, demonstrate antibacterial characteristics by producing lactic acid and corresponding short-chain fatty acids. When lactic acid is present, the gut environment becomes more acidic, which inhibits potentially carcinogenic bacteria. To encourage the growth of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria in the gut, make sure you are getting enough soluble fiber (examples include oats, apples, barley, flaxseed and Brussels sprouts), and consider supplementing with a prebiotic like inulin, oligofructose, fructooligosaccharides (FOS) or galactooligosaccharides (GOS).
Professor Rowland concludes:
“There is a lot of evidence from studies on cell cultures and in animals that probiotics, prebiotics and combinations of the two can exert anticancer effects. Until recently, there has been little work conducted in humans. However a paper soon to be published reports a study conducted as part of the European Union funded SYNCAN Project. In this experiment volunteers were fed a mixture of pro and prebiotics, or placebo, for eight weeks and a wide range of indicators of colon cancer risk were measured. Those subjects on the pro/prebiotics had less DNA damage and a lower rate of cell proliferation in biopsies taken from their colons. Additionally pro/prebiotic feeding resulted in improvements in certain characteristics of stool samples that may be indicative of reduced cancer risk.”
daily alternative | alternative news – Research suggests a diet rich in probiotics discourages colon cancer
Google Now Has Access To Millions of Patients’ Medical Records
A controversial deal between tech giant Google and the National Health Service (NHS) will allow artificial intelligence units access to 1.6 million confidential medical records. Since 2014, Google has partnered with several scientists in an attempt to understand human health, but a new report reveals the data gathering goes far beyond what was originally anticipated.
According to documents obtained by the New Scientist, the data sharing agreement between Google-owned artificial intelligence company DeepMind and the Royal Free NHS Trust gives access to the sensitive healthcare data of millions of NHS patients. The chilling and wide-reaching deal allows DeepMind access to the medical records of the 1.6 million people passing annually through the three London hospitals owned by the Trust — Barnet, Chase Farm, and the Royal Free.
The Google-owned A.I. firm announced in February it was working with the NHS to build an app called Streams — intended to help hospitals monitor patients with kidney disease. However, the new information has revealed that the extent of the data being shared goes much further and includes logs of day-to-day hospital activity, records of the location and status of patients, and even logs of who visits them and when.
Results of pathology and radiology tests are also shared, as is information from critical care and accident and emergency departments. In addition, DeepMind’s access to the centralised records of all NHS hospital treatments in the U.K. means the tech company can access historical data from the last five years, all while receiving a continuous stream of new data.
At the same time, DeepMind is developing a platform called Patient Rescue, which uses hospital data streams to build tools to carry out analysis and support diagnostic decisions. The New Scientist explained how it works:
Comparing a new patient’s information with millions of other cases, Patient Rescue might be able to predict that they are in the early stages of a disease that has not yet become symptomatic, for example. Doctors could then run tests to see if the prediction is correct.
While the Royal Free has not yet responded to the question of what — if any — opt-out mechanisms are available to patients, the New Scientist suggests this is unlikely to be a straightforward process. Despite the agreement stating Google cannot use the data in any other part of the company’s business, many will be seriously wary of the access the online tech giant now has to the confidential data of millions of people.
As the New Scientist wrote:
Data mining is the name of the game in the burgeoning field of machine learning and artificial intelligence, and there’s no company in the world better at that than Google.
daily alternative | alternative news – Google Now Has Access To Millions of Patients’ Medical Records
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