A high-sugar diet is bad for gut health and possibly increases the risk of colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), concluded the authors of a new study published in Science Translational Medicine on Wednesday.
Researchers with UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, studied the effects of dietary sugars, namely glucose, fructose and sucrose, in mice for seven days.
Prior to feeding the animals a solution of water with a 10% concentration of dietary sugars, the researchers used “gene-sequencing techniques to identify the types and prevalence of bacteria found in the large intestines.” They repeated this step seven days later after feeding the mice the sugary solution.
By the end, the researchers found that mice that were either genetically predisposed to develop the colitis, or those that were given a chemical to induce the condition, “developed more severe symptoms if they were first given sugar,” per a news release regarding the findings.
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More specifically, after seven days, the mice fed sucrose, fructose and “especially glucose,” the researchers said, “showed significant changes in the microbial population inside the gut.” The researchers also noted that the mucus layer that protects the lining of the large intestine was thinning after the mice were fed a high-sugar diet.
“Bacteria known to produce mucus-degrading enzymes, such as Akkermansia, were found in greater numbers, while some other types of bugs considered good bacteria and commonly found in the gut, such as Lactobacillus, became less abundant,” per the news release.
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Though the research only looked at the effects of sugar on gut health in mice, the study “clearly shows that you really have to mind your food,” Dr. Hasan Zaki, who led the effort, said in a statement, noting that this is especially true in Western countries, where diets are often higher in fat, sugar and animal protein. There is also a greater prevalence of colitis – which can cause “persistent diarrhea, abdominal pain and rectal bleeding” – in Western countries, the researchers noted.
Indeed: As of 2015, an estimated 1.3% of U.S. adults – about 3 million people – were diagnosed with an inflammatory bowel disease, an increase from 0.9% or 2 million adults in 1999, per federal health data.
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“Colitis is a major public health problem in the U.S. and in other Western countries,” added Zaki. “This is very important from a public health point of view.”
Bad Bunny and Daddy Yankee each claimed seven wins Wednesday night at the pandemic-delayed Billboard Latin Music Awards.
Bad Bunny won artist of the year, the night’s top honor, as well as top Latin album for “X 100PRE” and songwriter of the year. He did not attend the ceremony.
Daddy Yankee won six of his awards for his hit “Con Calma,” which featured the 1990s artist Snow. His honors included the hot Latin song aware, and song of the year honors for streaming and airplay and digital platforms.
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The reggaeton star dedicated the first of his awards to those who had lost loved ones due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. “Music remains medicine,” he said.
Actress Gaby Espino hosted the ceremony, which aired live on Telemundo from the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. The event had a red carpet, but no audience.
Mexican romance singer-songwriter Armando Manzanero received a Lifetime Achievement Award during the ceremony. Enrique Iglesias was honored as Billboard’s Top Latin Artist of All Time.
Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee were also recognized for “Despacito,” which was named song of the decade.
The ceremony, rescheduled from April to October, took place in-person at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. It featured a limited audience, but had most of the trappings of a pre-pandemic awards show including a red carpet and live performances.
Billboard and NBCUniversal, Telemundo’s parent company, said they put a number of safety measures in place to mitigate risk of performers and crew members contracting COVID-19.
Five stages were constructed: a central stage for Espino and four outlying stages for performers, which allowed sets to be sanitized between acts and helped facilitate social distancing.
“It’s certainly unprecedented for us,” Jeff Mayzurk, Telemundo’s executive vice president of operations and technology, told USA TODAY. “It’s almost like producing four separate shows.”
Contributing: Gary Dinges and Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY; the Associated Press
The stress of presidential elections may increase the incidence of heart attacks and strokes, researchers report.
Scientists tracked hospitalizations for acute cardiovascular disease in the weeks before and after the 2016 presidential election among about three million adults who were enrolled in the Kaiser Permanente Southern California health care system.
The study, in PNAS, found that hospitalizations for cardiovascular disease in the two days following the election were 61 percent higher than in the same two days of the preceding week. The rate of heart attack increased by 67 percent and of stroke by 59 percent in the two days following the election. The results were similar regardless of the age, race or sex of the patients.
The exact physiological mechanism is unknown, but previous studies have found similar increases in cardiovascular disease risk after traumatic public events, including earthquakes, industrial accidents and terrorist incidents like the World Trade Center attack of 2001 and the Charlie Hebdo shootings in 2015.
Psychological stressors such as anger, anxiety and depression have also been associated with sudden increases in the risk for cardiovascular events in the days, or even hours, following such events. The authors suggest that the stress of elections may provoke similar emotions.
“These are important findings,” said the lead author, Matthew T. Mefford, a postdoctoral research fellow at Kaiser Permanente Southern California. “This should really encourage health care providers to pay more attention to the ways that stress is linked to political campaigns and how election outcomes may directly impact health.”
Fauci: COVID-19 outbreaks would have to ‘get really, really bad’ before advocating for national lockdown
New COVID-19 cases are accelerating across the U.S., rising swiftly above previous record case counts set during the tumultuous spring and summer months.
There has been a documented 30 percent increase in testing positivity rates over the past two weeks and more than 8 million COVID-19 cases reported in the country. But, even as the U.S. enters a potentially troubling winter season, Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious diseases expert, says that a nationwide lockdown may not be the best solution at this time.
Speaking to “60 Minutes,” Fauci says outbreaks would have to “get really, really bad” before he would advocate for a national lockdown.
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“First of all, the country is fatigued with restrictions. So we wanna use public health measures not to get in the way of opening the economy, but to being a safe gateway to opening the economy,” Fauci said. “So instead of having an opposition, open up the economy, get jobs back, or shut down. No. Put ‘shut down’ away and say, ‘We’re gonna use public health measures to help us safely get to where we want to go.’”
Instead, Fauci says, the emphasis remains on practicing now-familiar public health measures like wearing masks, physically distancing and washing hands frequently — key steps in controlling virus transmission.
He elaborated that these practices are not intended to halt the reopening of public spaces, but to facilitate a gradual reopening while still mitigating transmission levels or how quickly the virus spreads.
Responding to President Trump’s criticism that he suddenly reversed course on his stance regarding the public wearing facial coverings, Fauci explained that his initial decision to discourage public mask-wearing came during the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE).
When masks, especially homemade ones, became widely available and were shown to prevent virus transmission, Fauci advocated for their universal use.
“It became clear that cloth coverings…not necessarily a surgical mask or an N95, cloth coverings, work,” Fauci said. “Now there’s no longer a shortage of masks. Number two, meta-analysis studies show that, contrary to what we thought, masks really do work in preventing infection.”
Still, he admits he was wrong in his initial decision to discourage widespread mask-wearing.
“When you find out you’re wrong, it’s a manifestation of your honesty to say, ‘Hey, I was wrong. I did subsequent experiments and now it’s this way,’” he said.
Many are looking toward an upcoming COVID-19 vaccine as a final piece to the puzzle of ending the COVID-19 pandemic. A treatment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is on the distant horizon, with multiple pharmaceutical companies in late stage clinical trials with their vaccine candidates.
Public confidence in a forthcoming vaccine, however, is relatively low, with only just more than half of the population
Holidays are usually for gatherings but many get-togethers are complicated or canceled because of COVID-19.
The U.S. is now the only country to reach 8 million cases of the coronavirus — less than a month after reaching 7 million — amid a surge that has resulted in higher case counts in 41 states over the last week, according to a USA TODAY analysis.
Due to COVID-19 cases surging nationwide, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, cautioned against throwing large celebrations for Thanksgiving, calling it “a risk” to gather in indoor settings with people from out-of-town. His own family, he shared, is canceling plans.
And on Thursday, President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden talked coronavirus during dueling town halls.
On ABC, Biden said he would support making a COVID-19 vaccine mandatory. But, he acknowledged, that he can’t force people to get the vaccine when it’s available. Meanwhile, on NBC, Trump said he didn’t remember whether he tested negative the day of his debate against Biden on Sept. 29.
Some significant developments:
- A CDC report finds that indoor sports may be “super-spreader” events after one player infected 14 others at a Florida recreational indoor hockey game.
- The effectiveness of remdesivir has been put into question after a massive World Health Organization study of more than 10,000 patients in 30 countries found ”little or no effect.”
- Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told the public to remain vigilant in an appearance Friday on ABC, his first since being released from the hospital for COVID-19.
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the Canada-US border will stay closed until America gets control of the coronavirus outbreak.
- Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris canceled campaign trips through Sunday after two people associated with the campaign tested positive for COVID-19.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 8 million cases and 217,700 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins data. There have been more than 38.9 million confirmed cases around the world and nearly 1.1 million deaths. A USA TODAY analysis found 14 states set records for new cases in a week while two states had a record number of deaths in a week.
📰 What we’re reading: The pandemic and the ensuing recession have taken a toll for students, but they hit particularly hard for community college students who already face many obstacles on their path to getting a degree.
🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak in your state
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Report: New England Patriots cancel practice after positive test
Only a day after Cam Newton and Stephon Gilmore returned from the COVID-19 list to practice, the New England Patriots had to pause activities due to coronavirus concerns once again.
The team canceled its Friday practice and media session after a positive test, ESPN reported, as the team awaits a positive test