What's the buzz

What's the buzz

Vibrating capsule could help treat constipation

Researchers have developed an oral capsule that vibrates as it moves through the digestive tract has shown notable promise as a non-pharmacological treatment for constipation.

In the pilot study, the vibrating capsule was found to nearly double the weekly bowel movements of patients suffering from chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC) and constipation predominant irritable bowel syndrome (C-IBS).

Yishai Ron, MD, lead researcher for the study and director of Neurogastroenterology and Motility at Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center’s Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, said despite the widespread use of medication to treat constipation, nearly 50 per cent of patients are unsatisfied with the treatment.

Twenty-six patients took the vibrating capsule twice per week and responded to a daily bowel movement and laxative use questionnaire. All patients initially underwent a two-week preliminary period without the use of laxatives.

Patients reported an increase in spontaneous bowel movements from two to four times per week, as well as a decrease in constipation symptoms, including reduced difficulty in passing stools and incomplete evacuation. The capsule, which houses a small engine inside, is programmed to begin vibrating six to eight hours after swallowing, which cause contractions in the intestine and help move stool through the digestive tract.

Stressful situations make gay, lesbian teens binge drink

A new study has revealed that chronic stress caused by difficult social situations may be the reason behind higher rates of binge drinking by lesbian and gay adolescents compared to their heterosexual peers.

According to the study, lesbian and gay people experience higher rates of physical and mental health problems and chronic stress due to discrimination, rejection, harassment, concealment of sexual orientation, internalised homophobia (negative attitudes toward homosexuality) and other negative experiences leads to poor health.

Lead author Sheree M Schrager, PhD, MS, director of research in the Division of Hospital Medicine at the Saban Research Institute of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, said that although other studies of adolescents commonly report on sexuality or sexual identity, these general population studies do not typically assess nuanced experiences of stress among sexual minority adolescents.

The scientists have found that internalised homophobia was a significant predictor of binge drinking, while experiencing violence or victimisation was marginally associated with drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time, while those living with their parents were less likely to report binge drinking.

It was also found that feeling connected to the gay community was both positively and negatively associated with binge drinking, as those who felt connected were more likely to report binge drinking, but, community connectedness protected against internalised homophobia, thereby indirectly protecting against heavy episodic drinking.

Smiling can help fight memory loss

A new study has revealed that laughter can help lessen the damage that stress hormone cortisol has on memory and learning ability in the elderly.

According to the researchers at Loma Linda University, there was a significant decrease in cortisol concentrations among both groups who watched a funny video and showed greater improvement in all areas of the memory assessment when compared to controls.
Gurinder Singh Bains said that their findings offer potential clinical and rehabilitative benefits that can be applied to wellness programs for the elderlyand the cognitive components, such as learning ability and delayed recall, become more challenging as people age and are essential to older adults for an improved quality of life.

The researchers said that the less stress one has the better their memory, as humour reduces detrimental stress hormones like cortisol that decrease memory hippocampal neurons, lowers the blood pressure, and increases blood flow and mood state.
Laughter increases the release of endorphins and dopamine in the brain, which provides the positive and beneficial neurochemical changes and makes the immune system function better.