Gut microbiota responses to inulin

This 2021 rodent study investigated: “We studied long-term dynamics of gut microbiome and short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in isogenic mice with distinct microbiota baselines fed with fermentable fiber inulin compared to non-fermentable fiber cellulose. We found that inulin produced generally rapid response followed by gradual stabilization to new equilibria, and those dynamics were baseline-dependent. Levels … Continue reading Gut microbiota responses to inulin

Choosing your gut immune response

This 2021 paper reviewed evidence for immune system effects associated with specific gut areas: “The intestinal immune system must not only contend with continuous exposure to food, commensal microbiota, and pathogens, but respond appropriately according to intestinal tissue differences. The entire intestine, inclusive of its lymph nodes, is considered a immunosuppressive organ overall compared to … Continue reading Choosing your gut immune response

Trained immunity responses to bacterial infections

This 2019 Swiss rodent study investigated immune responses to five types of bacterial infections: “The innate immune system recalls a challenge to adapt to a secondary challenge, a phenomenon called trained immunity. Trained immunity protected mice from a large panel of clinically relevant bacterial pathogens inoculated systematically and locally to induce peritonitis, enteritis and pneumonia. … Continue reading Trained immunity responses to bacterial infections

Emotional responses and BDNF methylation

This 2019 German human study found: “A critical role of BDNF [brain-derived neurotrophic factor] methylation in human amygdala response to negative emotional stimuli, whereby: High BDNF methylation rates were for the first time shown to be associated with a high reactivity in the amygdala; and High BDNF methylation and high amygdala reactivity were associated with … Continue reading Emotional responses and BDNF methylation

Resiliency in stress responses

This 2018 US Veterans Administration review subject was resiliency and stress responses: “Neurobiological and behavioral responses to stress are highly variable. Exposure to a similar stressor can lead to heterogeneous outcomes — manifesting psychopathology in one individual, but having minimal effect, or even enhancing resilience, in another. We highlight aspects of stress response modulation related … Continue reading Resiliency in stress responses

Mitochondria interface genetic/epigenetic responses to psychological stress

This 2015 Pennsylvania rodent study found: “Mitochondria can regulate complex whole-body physiological responses, impacting stress perception at the cellular and organismal levels. Mitochondrial dysfunctions altered the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal [HPA] axis, sympathetic adrenal–medullary activation and catecholamine levels, the inflammatory cytokine IL-6, circulating metabolites, and hippocampal gene expression responses to stress. Stress-induced neuroendocrine, inflammatory, metabolic, and transcriptional responses … Continue reading Mitochondria interface genetic/epigenetic responses to psychological stress

An interview with Dr. Rachel Yehuda on biological and conscious responses to stress

How Trauma and Resilience Cross Generations “The purpose of epigenetic changes, I think, is simply to increase the repertoire of possible responses. So let’s say, for some reason, your parents transmitted to you biologic changes that are very appropriate to starvation, but you don’t live in a culture where food is not plentiful. You’re just … Continue reading An interview with Dr. Rachel Yehuda on biological and conscious responses to stress

A possible link between stress responses and human cancers?

This 2015 UK rodent study found: “An unexpected role for the GR [glucocorticoid receptor] in promoting accurate chromosome segregation during mitosis. We also identify reduced GR expression in several common human cancers, thereby implicating GR as a novel tumor suppressor gene.” One of the researchers said: “Cancer is caused by cell division going wrong, but … Continue reading A possible link between stress responses and human cancers?

Can you give emotionally informed yet reasoned responses to moral questions within 3 seconds?

Could you give a 3-second informed decision that reflected your true feelings about this statement? “Inflicting emotional harm is just as bad as inflicting physical harm.” Could you then express your confidence about your answer on a 1-7 scale within 1 second? How about your 3-second response to this statement: “Developing a child’s character is … Continue reading Can you give emotionally informed yet reasoned responses to moral questions within 3 seconds?

Fear extinction is the learned inhibition of retrieval of previously acquired responses

This 2014 rodent study showed that fear extinction doesn’t depend on memory retrieval: “These results show that extinction and retrieval are separate processes and strongly suggest that extinction is triggered or gated by the conditioned stimulus even in the absence of retrieval.” The key to my understanding this finding came from a definition in another … Continue reading Fear extinction is the learned inhibition of retrieval of previously acquired responses

Task performance and beliefs about task responses are solely cerebral exercises

This 2013 human study provided details of which areas of the cerebrum participated in objective performance of a task vs. the subjects’ subjective confidence in their task responses: “These results suggest the existence of functional brain networks indexing objective performance and accuracy of subjective beliefs distinctively expressed in a set of stable mental states.” The … Continue reading Task performance and beliefs about task responses are solely cerebral exercises

Face-selective neurons maintain consistent visual responses across months

This 2014 primate study provided additional details on the specialized brain circuits for recognizing faces: “The current finding that neurons commonly give similar responses upon seeing the same faces months apart raises the possibility that some neurons might respond the same way to the same individual faces over most of the animal’s lifespan.” But the … Continue reading Face-selective neurons maintain consistent visual responses across months

Uses of the neutrophils-to-lymphocytes ratio

This 2021 review subject was recent history and uses of the neutrophils-to-lymphocytes ratio parameter to indicate systemic inflammation and stress: “NLR is widely used across almost all medical disciplines as a reliable and easily available marker of immune response to various infectious and non-infectious stimuli. NLR reflects dynamic relationships between innate (neutrophils) and adaptive (lymphocytes) … Continue reading Uses of the neutrophils-to-lymphocytes ratio

Eat broccoli sprouts to prevent radiation damage

This 2021 rodent study investigated effects of sulforaphane on skin damage from irradiation: “Radiotherapy is currently the main treatment for various cancers. We observed the protective effect of sulforaphane (SFN) on radiation-induced skin injury (RISI), including oxidative stress and inflammatory response indexes, and Nrf2 expression with its downstream antioxidant genes: SFN prevented DNA damage caused … Continue reading Eat broccoli sprouts to prevent radiation damage

Is liver damage reversible?

This 2021 rodent study measured sequential liver changes caused by a high-fat diet: “Using a longitudinal mouse study of diet-induced obesity in male mice, we investigated kinetics of hepatic DNA methylation and gene expression compared to those of obesity-induction to assess if they could be causal for development of insulin resistance. We aimed to find … Continue reading Is liver damage reversible?