Could gut microbiota help early-stage detection of colorectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer (also known as bowel cancer) is the third most common cancer in the world, according to World Cancer Research Fund International. By 2035, it is predicted there will be 2.4 million cases of this type of tumour diagnosed annually worldwide, mostly in developed countries. The risk of developing it is about 1 in 20 (5%) and it is one of the three leading causes of cancer-related deaths.

Most colon cancers are sporadic, meaning they are not inherited genetically. As such, environmental and lifestyle risk factors may play an important role in the development of colorectal cancer. It is well known that the earlier this cancer is detected, the better the outcome. Until now, a colonoscopy remains the gold standard for early screening as it provides the best view of the entire inner colon. Nevertheless, it is a very invasive test and a significant percentage of adults are reluctant to undergo this procedure. Read more

A video to introduce the bacterial communities that live inside the human body

TED Ed Lessons Worth Sharing presents “You are your microbes”, an animated movie where the researchers Jessica Green and Karen Guillemin show, in an easy way, that the human body harbors a huge quantity of bacteria organized in communities. The relevance of these microbial communities is essential, they explained, because it is thanks to their activity that our body works properly.

The hundreds of trillions of bacteria living in our digestive system take an important presence in this video. The film explains, for instance, which are the different functions of the microorganisms making up or gut microbiota and how the food we eat can affect our health.

We hope you enjoy this video as much as we did.

Is there a link between gut microbiota and Parkinson’s disease?

At first, he noticed a twitch in one of his fingers. “It’s nothing”, he thought. But as time went on, the movements did not stop. So Michael J Fox, who played Marty McFly in the popular Back to the Future film saga, decided to go to the doctor, who, unfortunately, diagnosed him with Parkinson’s disease in 1991. At that time, the American actor was only thirty years old. Like him, there are 6.3 million people suffering from this condition worldwide, according to the European Parkinson’s Disease Association. Normally, the age of onset is over sixty, but it is estimated that 10% of patients are diagnosed before the age of fifty – and that’s what happened to the actor.

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative condition that results in the gradual loss of cells responsible for the production of dopamine, a neurochemical transmitter essential for the coordination of movement. That means that this neurological disease eventually renders some patients unable to walk, to talk or even to take care of themselves.  As things are now, researchers do not know either the exact cause or a cure for the condition. However, a new study conducted at the University of Helsinki and the Helsinki University Central Hospital seems to shed some light on the subject. Read more

Coming soon: The Fourth Gut Microbiota for Health World Summit

Within a month, the Fourth Gut Microbiota for Health World Summit will take place in Barcelona. The previous editions, held in Evian, Madrid and Miami, were positive proofs of the interest the scientific community has for the hundreds of trillions of bacteria that inhabit our intestines, and their importance to our health. This year will be the Summit’s fourth edition, to be held on 14 and 15 March, after a 2014 replete of discoveries and developments in this exciting field of research.

This year’s Summit is being endorsed by several prestigious medical organizations involved and interested in the topic: the American Gastroenterological Association, the European Society for Neurogastroenterology & Motility (ESNM), the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN),  the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation (ECCO), and the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL).  Its aim is to present the latest developments related to the bacterial ecosystem that inhabits our digestive system — our gut microbiota — to the medical and scientific community. Read more