Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Heartburn Meds Alter the Gut By Melinda Wenner Moyer

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Acid blockers reduce the diversity of bacteria in the intestines—and that could lead to trouble. In 2014 Americans filled more than 170 million prescriptions for acid blockers known as proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) to treat gastric conditions, including indigestion, peptic ulcers and acid reflux. These medications are among the top 10 prescribed in the country as a class and are also available over the counter. Surveys suggest that they are widely overused, and in such cases, the drugs may do more harm than good. In fact, two new studies found that PPIs alter gut bacteria in ways that could increase the risk for dangerous intestinal infections, adding to a body of research highlighting the drugs' adverse effects. To figure out why people who take PPIs are more likely to get an intestinal infection, researchers at the University of Groningen and Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands, as well as the Broad Institute of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, sequenced the bacterial DNA found in the fecal matter of 1,815 people. Doing so gave them a snapshot of the bacteria found in the subjects' intestines. A comparison of the profiles of subjects taking PPIs with those who were not revealed that, among other things, PPI users had less gut bacterial diversity. The researchers, who published their results in the journal Gut, found that these differences existed even when PPI users did not have gastrointestinal conditions, which suggests that the differences were caused by the drugs rather than simply an artifact of disease. (PPIs are also prescribed to hospital ICU patients to prevent stress ulcers, among other uses.) Researchers at King's College London, Cornell University and Columbia University obtained similar results from a comparably designed study as well as a small interventional study in which individuals' gut bacteria were analyzed before and after patients took PPIs for four to eight weeks. PPIs may limit the gut's diversity by reducing its acidity and thus creating an environment that is more or less amenable to certain microbes. And that imbalance could then lead to infection, says Rinse Weersma, a gastroenterologist at the University of Groningen. The drugs may induce “a change in the microbiome that creates a niche where Salmonella or C. difficile can grow,” he explains. Because a person's microbiome can also influence intestinal absorption of calcium and other vitamins and minerals, these drug-induced changes could explain why people who take PPIs are more likely to fracture certain bones and have nutritional deficiencies. Although no one yet knows how concerned long-term PPI users should be, one thing is for sure: “There should be ongoing dialogue and management between physicians and patients who take these drugs,” says Joel Heidelbaugh, a family physician at the University of Michigan who studies PPI overuse. “There are thousands of patients who are on these drugs indefinitely without needing to be.” Scientific American Photo

Thursday, June 9, 2016

St. Severin-Heining Church Anniversary, Passau Germany

Katrin Eberhardt and Dr. Markus Eberhardt
Oma Anna Steiner and The Reverend Dr. Michael Bär
Susanne Therese Steiner and Wolfgang Josef Steiner
The Reverend Thomas Brandl and Katrin Eberhardt
Dr. Markus Eberhardt (piano) and Katrin Eberhardt (piano & violin) VIDEO

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Nestlé celebrates 150 years with museum openings

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Swiss food behemoth Nestlé marks its 150th birthday with the opening of two museums in its hometown of Vevey this month.
New museum Nest takes visitors on a journey through the company’s history, while the renovated Alimentarium is a hands-on exhibition and educational space dedicated to food. The Alimentarium will be free to the public during an open house weekend on June 4th-5th as it reopens after a 19.8 million franc renovation. Originally opened in 1985 on the lakefront in Vevey, the Alimentarium was the first in the world to explore food and human nutrition. A nine-month renovation project has completely redesigned the museum, which now sports a new permanent exhibition, a multilingual digital archive and a ‘Food Academy’ where members of the public can take cooking classes. Among the museum’s culinary activities, children and teenagers can learn how to cook in daytime and weekend sessions, while adults can sign up for evening classes designed by chef Philippe Ligron, a well-known TV chef and teacher at Lausanne's hospitality school EHL. Its educational outreach programme includes a website displaying 400 items related to food history in 360-degree high definition, and an online programme for teachers and pupils.
Nestlé's birthplace
Meanwhile, the new 50 million franc Nest was officially inaugurated on Thursday and will open to the public on June 15th. Based in the factory in the Bosquets district of Vevey where Henry Nestlé invented his famous Farine Lactée baby formula in 1867, Nest takes visitors on an immersive journey through the company’s history and its products, including Nesquik hot chocolate powder, Nespresso instant coffee and Maggi seasoning. Described as a discovery centre rather than a museum, its director Catherine Saurais said at the inauguration on Thursday: “The objective isn’t to tell the story for the sake of the story. "What nest offers is a special way to revisit the meanderings of our own history, to examine the questions surrounding food production in the world today, and to explore a passionate vision of nutrition in an engaging manner.” Split into four themed parts, Nest’s interactive elements include a body scanner where visitors can learn about the impact of certain foods on the body’s organs. A huge employer in the area, including many expats, Nestlé is a prominent presence in Vevey. Stefano Stroll, director of the Festival Images Vevey, said in a statement that the new museum is “an occasion to better understand” the company. “Although Nestlé stands out here, little is known about this global multinational, which is a mix of tradition and innovation. “Nest arouses curiosity, whilst explaining and illustrating Nestlé’s major impact on the region.” Over its long history it has built some of the world’s best known food brands, including Nescafe, Nesquik and Nepresso. It has also acquired brands including Carnation, Findus frozen foods, Movenpick ice cream and San Pellegrino. The Local-Switzerland Photo

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

France to deploy 60,000 police officers for Euro 2016 By News Wires

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France said Wednesday it will deploy more than 60,000 police to provide security for Euro 2016 as it vowed to do “everything possible to avoid a terrorist attack” during the tournament that starts next month.

The comments from Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve came after the Stade de France in Paris, which will host the event’s opening match and final, descended into chaos Saturday before the national cup final after smoke bombs were set off inside the stadium, sparking panic among crowds that clustered at the stadium’s exits. Cazeneuve told the sports daily l’Equipe that the match between Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille “did not serve as a test” for Euro 2016. “It was not the same public, not the same organiser, nor the same security deployment,” he said. “However, what happened will be taken into account” ahead of the month-long football tournament, which kicks off June 10. “Our objective is that the Euro is a big festive gathering, but we owe the French the truth. Zero percent precaution means 100 percent risk, but 100 percent precaution does not mean a zero percent risk,” he said. “We are doing everything to avoid a terrorist attack, and we are preparing to respond. More than 60,000 police will be on the ground.” The Stade de France was targeted by suicide bombers during the attacks by the Islamic State group on the French capital in November. The assailants tried unsuccessfully to get inside the security perimeter. Cazeneuve said security inside the stadium is the responsibility of UEFA, while safety at the “fan zones” — which will accommodate seven million people in 10 host cities across the country — is the mandate of private security agents. “Fan zones are secure spaces, I took the decision to impose security pat-downs at entrances, to use metal detectors and to ban bags inside. If there were no fan zones, fans would regroup in an ad-hoc setting and the risk (of an attack) would be greater,” he said. Despite the beefed-up measures, he said there was no particular threat against the football tournament. “At this time we do not have a specific threat to a specific team or a specific player, a specific match, or a specific fan zone,” he said. He added that protests would not be banned but did not rule out possible disorder as the country is gripped by a major labour strike. “It remains an open possibility... that security cannot be guaranteed by law and order forces.” (AFP) France 24 Photo UEFA