Around the Web

WWW on sandA lot of the writing I do on this site is about the mismatch between our modern environment and our evolutionary past.
Time outdoors, sun exposure, exercise, diet, and exposure to microbes from soil, humans, and animals are some of the most important factors that affect human health, and all of the research highlighted in this 3rd edition of around the web revolves around these common themes.

T cells could be central players linking dietary influences to autoimmune pathology

The food we eat seems to be especially important in terms of human health, and I’ve previously written extensively about the various mechanisms linking the western dietary pattern to chronic inflammation and disease. A recent review looked into the role of “Western Diet” in Inflammatory Autoimmune Diseases, and suggests that T cells could be central players linking dietary influences to autoimmune pathology.

Omega-3 can pass the blood-brain barrier

One of the characteristics of the western diet is the high dietary ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. Both omega-6 and omega-3 are essential fatty acids, but most people get too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3. Recent research from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden shows that omega-3 “can cross the blood brain barrier in people with Alzheimer’s disease, affecting known markers for both the disease itself and inflammation”. Are you getting enough omega-3?

OCD and autism linked to changes in the gut microbiome

The gut-brain connection has received a lot of attention recently, and by now it’s well established that the gut microbiome doesn’t only have a significant impact on our physiological health, but also affects our psychological health. Recent research links gut microbiota dysregulation to obsessive–compulsive disorders (OCD), and suggests that a possible treatment for OCD could be to modify the gut microbiome. Other mental disorders have also been linked to alterations in the human microbiome, and a recent study shows that probiotic therapy alleviates autism-like behaviors in mice.

More and more people suffer from mental disorders such as OCD and autism. I strongly believe that changes to the microbiome are to blame for this rapid increase in incidence, and that the link between microbes (90% of our cells, and 99% of our DNA) and psychological disorders will slowly change our understanding of mental health.

Bacteria from pets take root in the human gut

I’ve previously written about how our immune system expects a certain exposure to both “good” and “bad” germs, and how contact with other humans and animals shapes our microbiome. It’s been known for a long time that children who grow up with pets, are less likely to develop allergies and asthma than other kids, and recent findings suggest it’s because bacteria from pets are transferred onto people living in the same household through dust and direct contact.

Other stuff

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