Who Puts Bacteria in a Drip-Feed? and other stuff

by DavalosMcCormack on February 15, 2008

You may have seen the headlines. Screaming big ones. Scary ones. Probiotics can be deadly for people with acute pancreatitis. But this is one study that when you read more about it your reaction is not “wow” but “huh?”

Here’s the basic scoop. Researchers at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands followed almost 300 patients who had acute pancreatitis. Those patients were given either a placebo or probiotics – these are “live” micro-organisms that many think are healthy and help the body’s digestive and immune system. You can find them in cultured yogurt and many take them to help restore the balance in their digestive system after they have been on antibiotics.
It was hoped that the probiotics would boost the immune system and help the patients recover faster. But it did exactly the opposite and 15 people in the probiotics group died – almost twice as many as in the placebo group.

Makes you think these things are dangerous, right! But here’s the problem. They gave the probiotics by putting them in the patients drip-feed. No one gets anything into their system normally through a drip-feed, so all the normal filters that the body has in place for these bacteria were bypassed and they were pumped right into the body.

One doctor, an eminent gastroenterologist, I spoke to called it a “dumb study”. Hard to disagree with that.

Too Much Fast Food and Too Little Exercise Harms the Liver

This is my new favorite journal. It’s called Gut. What a cool name eh! Anyway, a new study in Gut says eating too much fast food and too little exercise can be bad for your liver.

I could give you the details but all that amounts to is telling you how many people, what they did, what they measured etc. It’s all good science (not like those wacky Dutch researchers in the first study) so all you need to know is if you value your liver don’t eat too much fast food and get some exercise.

And if you need further proof watch “Supersized”, the fascinating documentary about one man’s attempt to survive on nothing but fast food from McDonalds for three meals a day, every day, for one month. Now that’s a scary film.

I Hate My Older Brother But Don’t Know Why?

It’s because he is smarter than you, better looking than you, and richer than you.

Ok, I don’t actually know your brother but I do know that even if he isn’t smarter or better looking than you, he probably is richer. Lots of previous studies have shown that’s the case. Now a new study explains why first borns tend to do better financially.

The findings, in the Journal of Human Resources, says first borns get more parental attention than their siblings, as much as 3,000 hours more. That quality time can have a long-lasting impact on a child’s self-esteem, confidence and development.

The researcher says his findings surprised the parents he was working with. He says they thought they were dividing their time equally between all their kids. But it’s simple to explain. If the kid is first born they don’t have any competition so they get all their parents attention. With more kids there is less attention but then there is less attention for all the other kids too.

so no one is to blame. Except for that damn smartypants older brother.

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