Integrative Care Centre in Glasgow under threat of closure

Despite several years of campaigning by a variety of Scottish citizen groups, the Glasgow Centre for Integrative Care is under very serious threat of closure. NHS resources, including patient beds, appear to have been systematically removed and referrals reduced giving the appearance of a reduced demand/need for their service, regardless of hugely positive feedback from patients using the facility

The Centre cares for patients with chronic and long standing disease using a model of integrative care, which has and still is, turning around the health and lives of those living with multiple long-term conditions. Patients are offered a coordinated mix of health and wellness coaching, advice and information, the teaching of health-making practices and techniques and the delivery of specific non-drug, non-surgical therapeutic interventions which are intended to facilitate greater vitality, resilience and growth in the person who presents with the illness.

A public outcry over the potential closure is the only chance to save this fantastic healthcare facility, which should become the norm rather than being one that is consigned to the scrapheap. Please share this information and sign the petition IMMEDIATELY as decision is imminent (the decision is due on the 20th Dec) to keep this very important community healthcare hub open.

Eating vegetables and fruit can improve the way our genes work

Findings published in Molecular Cell journal have shown that the microbes in our bodies use metabolites to influence how our genes work. In mice fed a typical western diet there was less food available for their gut microbes. This resulted in a significant reduction in the production of short chain fatty acids, which are produced by fermentation in the gut of plant fibres found in a healthy diet. Short chain fatty acids produced in the gut have a direct effect on the way that our genes work. Researchers already know that low levels of the short chain fatty acid butyrate, are found in people suffering from diabetes and cardiovascular disease and it is also thought to have an anti-inflammatory effect in the gut. More work needs to be done to translate these findings to a human model, but research indications are that a diet rich in vegetables and fruit can protect us against chronic disease. Although, this is not something new to those of us interested in natural health!

US organic standards updated to ban new GMO ingredients

Friends of the Earth reports that the National Organic Standards Board in the US has voted unanimously to update US organic standards to exclude ingredients from next generation genetic engineering and editing. The recommendation to the US Department of Agriculture's National Organic Program means that genetically derived ingredients from new technology (including synthetic biology) will not be allowed to be used in the production of or final food and beverage products that are certified organic in the US.

Emulsifiers in food contribute to colon cancer

Two very common food additives that are used in a large number of processed foods, have been found to be associated with a higher risk of colon cancer in an animal model. The study tested two common emulsifiers (sodium carboxymethylcellulose and polysorbate 80). Each group fed the emulsifiers experienced changes in their gut microbiota that led to inflammation and colon cancer, whereas the group not fed the emulsifiers did not experience these changes. Becoming familiar with food labels and prioritising unprocessed foods in your diet is a recommended preventative health strategy. For more information on healthy eating guidelines review the ANH-Intl Food4Health Guidelines.

Good Nutrition in early life helps protect against stress in later life

The effects of stress during the early years on the development of the brain and memory could be reduced by the use of micronutrient supplement according to a Dutch study. Researchers reduced the amount of available nesting material in female mice who were feeding offspring, which in turn reduced the amount of time available for them to spend with their babies, to induce a stress response. During the stress event half of the stressed mothers were given nutrient supplements - vitamin B6, B9, B12 and methionine, which the body cannot make itself. The offspring of the stressed mothers who were not supplemented, had an increased hormonal response to stress together with reduced methionine levels in their brains. Offspring of the stressed mothers who were supplemented had higher brain methionine levels and a reduced hormonal stress response. Whilst this is in a mouse model, this research has implications for human mothers who breastfeed, particularly if they undergo stressful events and how to protect their children from the lasting effects of early life stress.

Vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy may increase autism risk

Researchers have linked vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy with an increased risk of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children. A number of environmental risk factors have previously been identified such as infection, complications in pregnancy and toxin related exposure in regards to the development of ASD. Researchers are now looking at vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy as vitamin D is required for good brain function and development. The study showed that 25OHD deficiency mid-pregnancy was associated with an increase in autism related traits in 6-year old children. Researchers concluded that this association is important as it is possible that prenatal vitamin D supplementation may reduce the incidence of ASD.

Is Parkinson's a disease of the gut?

Parkinson's disease is a growing health concern for people as they age. Whilst some genetic risks have been identified (less than 10% of cases are hereditary) environmental factors are thought to be responsible for the majority of cases. More and more research is being done in regard to the role of the gut microbiome and how it affects our health. A recent study published in Cell looked at how the microbiota influences neurodevelopment, modulates behaviour and contributes to neurological disorders. The study used mice genetically programmed to develop Parkinson's through production of high levels of the protein alpha-synuclein, which is associated with damage to the brains of Parkinson's patients. The mice either had no gut bacteria, gut bacteria from someone with Parkinson's disease or gut bacteria from a healthy person. The mice with gut bacteria experienced a decline in motor function, however those with Parkinson's patient bacteria had the highest decline. This opens the door for more research into studies in humans and the links between disease and the health of the gut microbiome.