• Targeting inflammation to influence mood following spinal cord injury: a randomized clinical trial

      Allison, David; Ditor, David (Journal of Neuroinflammation, 2015)
      Background: The purpose of the present study was to examine the efficacy of targeting inflammation as a means of improving mood following spinal cord injury (SCI) and explore the potential mechanisms of action. Methods: The study was a randomized, parallel-group, controlled, clinical trial (NCT02099890) whereby 20 participants with varying levels and severities of SCI were randomized (3:2) to either the treatment group, consisting of a 12-week anti-inflammatory diet, or control group. Outcome measures were assessed at baseline, 1 and 3 months, and consisted of CES-D scores of depression, markers of inflammation as assessed by various pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines and several amino acids related to depression. Results: A significant group × time interaction was found for CES-D (Center for Epidemiologic studies Depression Scale) score ( p = 0.01), the TRP/LNAA (tryptophan/large neutral amino acid) ratio ( p = 0.04), the composite score of pro-inflammatory cytokines ( p = 0.04), IL-1 β (interleukin-1 beta) ( p = 0.04), and IFN- γ (interferon gamma) ( p = 0.03). Pearson ’ s r correlation showed significance between the Δ IL-1 β and both the Δ CES-D score ( r = 0.740, p < 0.01) and the Δ KYN/TRP (kynurenine/tryptophan) ratio ( r = 0.536, p = 0.02). The Δ KYN/TRP ratio was also significantly correlated with the Δ CES-D score ( r = 0.586, p = 0.01). Mediation analysis showed that the relationship between the Δ KYN/TRP ratio and the Δ CES-D score was mediated by the Δ IL-1 β . Subgroup analysis showed that participants with high CES-D scores had significantly higher concentrations of IL-1 β , and all correlations were maintained or strengthened within this subgroup. Conclusions: Overall, the results demonstrated the effectiveness of targeting inflammation as a means of improving mood in SCI, with potential mechanisms relating to the reduction in IL-1 β and improvements in levels of neuroactive compounds related to the kynurenine pathway. Due to the limited sample size, results should be interpreted with caution; however, they are worthy of further examination due to the potential impact of inflammation on depression
    • Anticancer Effects of Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) Extract and Rosemary Extract Polyphenols

      Moore, Jessy; Yousef, Michael; Tsiani, Evangelia (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2016)
      Cancer cells display enhanced growth rates and a resistance to apoptosis. The ability of cancer cells to evade homeostasis and proliferate uncontrollably while avoiding programmed cell death/apoptosis is acquired through mutations to key signaling molecules, which regulate pathways involved in cell proliferation and survival. Compounds of plant origin, including food components, have attracted scientific attention for use as agents for cancer prevention and treatment. The exploration into natural products offers great opportunity to evaluate new anticancer agents as well as understand novel and potentially relevant mechanisms of action. Rosemary extract has been reported to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic and anticancer properties. Rosemary extract contains many polyphenols with carnosic acid and rosmarinic acid found in highest concentrations. The present review summarizes the existing in vitro and in vivo studies focusing on the anticancer effects of rosemary extract and the rosemary extract polyphenols carnosic acid and rosmarinic acid, and their effects on key signaling molecules.
    • Soil-Transmitted Helminths, Poverty, and Malnutrition in Honduran Children Living in Remote Rural Communities

      Sanchez, Ana Lourdes; Gabrie, Jose Antonio; Canales, Maritza; Rueda, Maria Mercedes; Fontecha, Gustavo Adolfo; Mason, Patrick W.; Bearman, Gonzalo; Stevens, Michael P. (Libertas Academica, 2016-02)
      Soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections are endemic in Honduras, but their prevalence according to the levels of poverty in the population has not been examined. The present cross-sectional study is aimed to determine the role of different levels of poverty in STH prevalence and infection intensity as well as the potential associations of STH infections with malnutrition and anemia. Research participants were children attending a medical brigade serving remote communities in Northern Honduras in June 2014. Demographic data were obtained, and poverty levels were determined using the unsatisfied basic needs method. STH infections were investigated by the Kato-Katz method; hemoglobin concentrations were determined with the HemoCue system; and stunting, thinness, and underweight were determined by anthropometry. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and univariate and multivariable logistic regression models. Among 130 children who participated in this study, a high prevalence (69.2%) of parasitism was found and the poorest children were significantly more infected than those living in less poor communities (79.6% vs. 61.8%; P = 0.030). Prevalence rates of Trichuris trichiura, Ascaris lumbricoides, and hookworms were 69.2%, 12.3%, and 3.85%, respectively. In total, 69% of children had anemia and 30% were stunted. Households’ earthen floor and lack of latrines were associated with infection. Greater efforts should be made to reduce STH prevalence and improve overall childhood health, in particular, among the poorest children lacking the basic necessities of life.
    • Development and application of assay for determining β-glucosidase activity in human saliva

      Stradwick, Lauren; Inglis, Debbie; Kelly, Jennifer; Pickering, Gary (BioMed Central, 2017)
      β-glucosidase is an enzyme important to flavour enhancement. It hydrolyzes glucosides to release aglycones—aroma precursors that are bound to a sugar molecule—thereby making them available to contribute to the flavour of foods and beverages. While there is strong interest within the food and beverage industry to optimizing flavour through the use of exogenous and endogenous glucosidase in production, little is known regarding the possible occurrence of these enzymes within the human oral cavity. This could be an important source of flavour release and/or account for some differences between individuals in flavour perception. In the present study, we determined whether β-glucosidase is present in human saliva. First, an existing spectrophotometric assay that uses p-nitrophenyl-β-O- D -glucopyranoside as a substrate was modified and optimized for use in human saliva. The following variables were evaluated and where necessary, optimized: linearity of the assay signal, possible matrix interference, the effect of heat inactivation of the saliva, absorbance wavelength maxima, substrate saturation concentration, maximum saliva volume and the inclusion of α-cyclodextrin. The modified assay was then used to screen for β-glucosidase activity in the saliva of 20 individuals. Of the 20 samples analyzed, four were tentatively identified as containing active β-glucosidase and were further investigated.