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Vitamin C kills drug-resistant TB bacteria

In a surprising discovery, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have determined that vitamin C kills drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) bacteria in laboratory culture.

The finding suggests that vitamin C added to existing TB drugs could shorten TB therapy, and it highlights a new area for drug design.

TB is caused by infection with the bacterium M. tuberculosis. Infections that fail to respond to TB drugs are a growing problem: About 650,000 people worldwide now have multi-drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), 9 percent of whom have extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB).

TB is especially acute in low and middle income countries, which account for more than 95 percent of TB-related deaths, according to the World Health Organization.
The Einstein discovery arose during research into how TB bacteria become resistant to isoniazid, a potent first-line TB drug.

The lead investigator and senior author of the study was William Jacobs, Jr. Ph.D., professor of microbiology and immunology and of genetics at Einstein. Dr. Jacobs is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and a recently elected member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Jacobs and his colleagues observed that isoniazid-resistant TB bacteria were deficient in a molecule called mycothiol.

“We hypothesized that TB bacteria that can`t make mycothiol might contain more cysteine, an amino acid. So, we predicted that if we added isoniazid and cysteine to isoniazid-sensitive M. tuberculosis in culture, the bacteria would develop resistance. Instead, we ended up killing off the culture— something totally unexpected,” said Dr. Jacobs.

The Einstein team suspected that cysteine was helping to kill TB bacteria by acting as a “reducing agent” that triggers the production of reactive oxygen species (sometimes called free radicals), which can damage DNA.

Sensory exercises at home effective among autistic kids

 In a study by UC Irvine neurobiologists, children with autism showed significant improvement after six months of simple sensory exercises at home using everyday items such as scents, spoons and sponges.

They found that a treatment known as environmental enrichment led to notable gains in male subjects between the ages of 3 and 12.

Study co-authors Cynthia Woo and Michael Leon randomly assigned 28 boys to one of two groups, balanced for age and autism severity. For half a year, all subjects participated in standard autism therapies, but those in one group also had daily sensory enrichment exercises.

Parents of these children were given a kit containing household products to increase environmental stimulation, including essential-oil fragrances such as apple, lavender, lemon and vanilla. The boys smelled four of these scents a day and listened to classical music each evening.

In addition, the parents conducted twice-daily sessions of four to seven exercises with their children involving different combinations of sensory stimuli – touch, temperature, sight and movement among them. Each session took 15 to 30 minutes to complete.

Dietary advice on added sugar damaging our health

 An Indian origin cardiologist has argued that the current dietary advice on added sugar “is in desperate need of emergency surgery.”

In 2003 the World Health Organization stated that “added sugars” should contribute no more than 10percent of total energy intake. This was in line with the UK government`s Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy (COMA) recommendations.
This nutritional advice has formed the basis of UK food labelling since 2003 and subsequently influenced European legislation, but Dr Aseem Malhotra argues that it needs to be reconsidered.

Dr Malhotra believes that “not only has this advice been manipulated by the food industry for profit but it is actually a risk factor for obesity and diet related disease.”
He calls on the UK`s Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition and the Department of Health “to act swiftly” to tackle the rising obesity crisis and increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes.

In 2009 the American Heart Associationpublished a paper suggesting that excessive consumption of sugar had been linked to several metabolic abnormalities and adverse health conditions. It stressed an upper limit of 100 calories a day from added sugar for a woman (six teaspoons) and 150 calories a day for a man (nine teaspoons).
The United States Department of Agriculture Food Guide stipulates a maximum of three teaspoons a day for a 4-8 year old child.

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