Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


Leave a comment

Lactic Acid Bacteria Can Protect Against Influenza A Virus

Lactic acid bacteria, commonly used as probiotics to improve digestive health, can offer protection against different subtypes of influenza A virus, resulting in reduced weight loss after virus infection and lower amounts of virus replication in the lungs, according to a study led by Georgia State University.

Influenza virus can cause severe respiratory disease in humans. Although vaccines for seasonal influenza viruses are readily available, influenza virus infections cause three to five million life-threatening illnesses and 250,000 to 500,000 deaths worldwide during epidemics. Pandemic outbreaks and air transmission can rapidly cause severe disease and claim many more human lives worldwide. This occurs because current vaccines are effective only when vaccine strains and circulating influenza viruses are well matched.

Influenza A virus, which infects humans, birds and pigs, has many different subtypes based on hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) proteins on the surface of the virus. There are 18 different HA and 11 different NA subtype molecules identified, which indicates numerous HA and NA influenza virus combinations. As a result, it’s important to find ways to provide broad protection against influenza viruses, regardless of the virus strain.

Fermented vegetables and dairy products contain a variety of lactic acid bacteria, which have a number of health benefits in addition to being used as probiotics. Studies have found some lactic acid bacteria strains provide partial protection against bacterial infectious diseases, such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, as well as cold and influenza viruses.

This study investigated the antiviral protective effects of a heat-killed strain of lactic acid bacteria, Lactobacillus casei DK128 (DK128), a promising probiotic isolated from fermented vegetables, on influenza viruses.

Mice pretreated with DK128 intranasally and infected with influenza A virus showed a variety of immune responses that are correlated with protection against influenza virus, including an increase in the alveolar macrophage cells in the lungs and airways, early induction of virus specific antibodies and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and innate immune cells. The mice also developed immunity against secondary influenza virus infection by other virus subtypes. The findings are published in the journal Scientific Reports.

“We found that pretreating the mice with heat-killed Lactobacillus casei DK128 bacteria made them resistant to lethal primary and secondary influenza A virus infection and protected them against weight loss and mortality,” said Dr. Sang-Moo Kang, lead author of the study and professor in the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State. “Our results are highly significant because mice pretreated with DK128 had 100 percent survival and prevention of weight loss. This strain of lactic acid bacteria also equipped mice with cross-protective immunity against secondary lethal infection with influenza virus. Protection against influenza virus infection was not specific to a particular strain of influenza.

“Our study provides evidence that heat-killed lactic acid bacteria could potentially be administered via a nasal spray as a prophylactic drug against non-specific influenza virus infections.”

The researchers pretreated mice intranasally with heat-killed DK128 and then infected them with a lethal dose of influenza A virus, subtype H3N2 or H1N1. Mice pretreated with a low dose of DK128 showed 10 to 12 percent weight loss, but survived the lethal infection of H3N2 or H1N1 virus. In contrast, mice pretreated with a higher dose of heat-killed DK128 did not show weight loss. Control mice, which were not pretreated with DK128, showed severe weight loss by days eight and nine of the infection and all of these mice died.

Mice that received heat-killed lactic acid bacteria (DK128) prior to infection had about 18 times less influenza virus in their lungs compared to control mice.

Next, the researchers tested protection against secondary influenza virus infection by infecting pretreated mice with a different influenza A subtype from their primary virus infection. For the secondary virus infection, mice were exposed to H1N1 or rgH5N1.

The study’s results suggest that pretreatment with lactic acid bacteria, specifically DK128, equips mice with the capacity to have protective immunity against a broad range of primary and secondary influenza A virus infections.

Co-authors of the study include Drs. Yu-Jin Jung, Young-Tae Lee, Vu Le Ngo, Eun-Ju Ko and Ki-Hye Kim of the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State; Drs. Young-Hee Cho, Sung-Moon Hong, Cheol-Hyun Kim of Dankook University; Drs. Ji-Hun Jang and Joon-Suk Oh of Tobico Inc.; Dr. Min-Kyung Park of Chungwoon University and Dr. Jun Sun of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The study is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health and the United States Department of Defense.

Story Source:
Materials provided by Georgia State University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.   December 13, 2017

Journal Reference:
Yu-Jin Jung, Young-Tae Lee, Vu Le Ngo, Young-Hee Cho, Eun-Ju Ko, Sung-Moon Hong, Ki-Hye Kim, Ji-Hun Jang, Joon-Suk Oh, Min-Kyung Park, Cheol-Hyun Kim, Jun Sun, Sang-Moo Kang. Heat-killed Lactobacillus casei confers broad protection against influenza A virus primary infection and develops heterosubtypic immunity against future secondary infection. Scientific Reports, 2017; 7 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-17487-8

Advertisements


5 Comments

Hang Out With Happy People — It Might Be Contagious

You can actually catch a good mood or a bad mood from your friends, according to a recent study in the journal Royal Society Open Science. But that shouldn’t stop you from hanging out with pals who are down in the dumps, say the study authors: Thankfully, the effect isn’t large enough to push you into depression.

The new study adds to a growing body of research suggesting that happiness and sadness—as well as lifestyle and behavioral factors like smoking, drinking, obesity, fitness habits and even the ability to concentrate—can spread across social networks, both online and in real life. But while many previous studies have only looked at friendship data at one point in time, this is one of the few that measured social and mood changes over time.

This method was able to show how friends actually influenced each other, and helped rule out the possibility that similarities between friends exist simply because people tend to gravitate toward and hang out with others like themselves.The new research involved groups of junior-high and high-school students who took part in depression screenings and answered questions about their best friends, many of whom were also enrolled in the study. In total, 2,194 students were included in the analysis, which used a mathematical model to look for connections among friend networks.

Overall, kids whose friends suffered from bad moods were more likely to report bad moods themselves—and they were less likely to have improved when they were screened again six months to a year later. When people had more happy friends, on the other hand, their moods were more likely to improve over time.

Some symptoms related to depression—like helplessness, tiredness and loss of interest—also seemed to follow this pattern, which scientists call “social contagion.” But this isn’t something sneaky and insidious that people need to worry about, says lead author Robert Eyre, a doctoral student at the University of Warwick’s Center for Complexity Science. Rather, it’s likely just a “normal empathetic response that we’re all familiar with, and something we recognize by common sense,” he says.

In other words, when a friend is going through a rough patch, it makes sense that you’ll feel some of their pain, and it’s certainly not a reason to stay away. But the fact that these negative feelings do spread across networks does have important health implications, says Eyre.

“The good news from our work is that following the evidence-based advice for improving mood—like exercise, sleeping well and managing stress—can help your friends too,” he says.

The study also found that having friends who were clinically depressed did not increase participants’ risk of becoming depressed themselves. “Your friends do not put you at risk of illness,” says Eyre, “so a good course of action is simply to support them.” To boost both of your moods, he suggests doing things together that you both enjoy—and taking other friends along to further spread those good feelings, too.’

 

Amanda MacMillan / Health.com   Sep 22, 2017   TIME Health


Leave a comment

8 Psych Tips For Changing Yourself And Other People

Psych tips for how to promote change in yourself.

Interested in a psychological tune-up — either for yourself or someone else?

Here are 8 tips from recent psych studies covered here on PsyBlog.

The first four tips below are about how to promote change in yourself.

Click through to page 2 to find out how to change other people (link at the bottom).

1. Self-affirmation opens the mind to change

When given advice about how to change, people are often automatically defensive, trying to justify their current behaviour.

A very simple exercise — self-affirmation — can open up people’s minds to behaviour change.

A self-affirmation exercise simply involves thinking about what’s important to you — it could be family, work, religion or anything that has particular meaning.

When people feel self-affirmed, they find it easier to accept the possibility of change.

2. The growth mindset

Believing it’s possible to grow and change is a vital step in promoting change.

In addition the researchers found that those who more strongly endorsed the idea that people can change also reported:

  • less stress,
  • lower anxiety,
  • feeling better about themselves,
  • and they were also in better physical health.

Psychologists call this a ‘growth mindset’.

3. Can your personality really change?

For many years personality psychologists gave the same answer as any pessimist: no, people’s personalities don’t change.

In the last 15 years, though, this view has shifted.

Instead of personality being set in stone at 30, now evidence is emerging that there is some change.

This study confirmed that people’s personalities do change, even over a two-year period.

Indeed the degree of personality change in those two years was equivalent to shifts in other demographic variables such as marital status, employment and income.

4. Just say ‘stop’

Here’s a little habit-change tip…

It may be possible to deliberately ‘forget’ long-standing habits, according to recent experiments carried out at Regensburg University in Germany.

They found that merely telling yourself to forget about a habit after performing it may prove helpful.

Habits

5. Three steps to help someone else change

Firstly, the person has to be open to the possibility of change.

People can be very defensive about their habits; behaviours or patterns of thought may have taken years to develop.

Secondly, be warm and supportive.

Remember you’re a helpful friend who is interested in their well-being but is still accepting who they are.

Thirdly, help them develop self-awareness.

A central feature of habits is that people perform them unconsciously and repeatedly in the same situations.

A vital step in changing a habit, then, is identifying the situation in which it occurs.

You can help other people identify the situations by gently pointing out what seems to prompt them to perform the habit.

[The full article is here.]

6. Let people convince themselves

Changing someone’s mind is just as hard as changing their behaviour.

But one useful tip is to use self-persuasion.

Let people talk themselves around to your point of view.

In this recent study, people were more convinced by a talk when they gave it themselves than when they merely heard it passively.

This suggests that we really are persuaded more strongly when we make the argument ourselves, even if it isn’t in line with our own viewpoint.

The same trick works with attitudes to smoking.

People are more put off smoking when they deliver an anti-smoking message than when they passively receive it.

Can you encourage someone to convince themselves to change?

7. The confirmation bias

One major psychological barrier to changing the mind is the confirmation bias.

The confirmation bias is the fact that people search for information that confirms their view of the world and ignore what doesn’t fit.

The way to fight the confirmation bias is simple to state but hard to put into practice.

You have to try and think up and test out alternative hypothesis.

Sounds easy, but it’s not in our nature.

It’s no fun thinking about why we might be misguided or have been misinformed.

Try to point out facts that don’t fit to the other person.

8. Eight steps to changing minds

Changing people’s minds isn’t just about telling them they are wrong; if only it were.

To be convinced people need to hear an alternative account.

This alternative needs to be short and sweet, it needs to be repeated, you need to attack the source of any misinformation and more…

→ Read all 8 ways to change people’s minds here.

source: PsyBlog