A study suggests that BTK medication could save lives and help many people with allergic reactions.
Anaphylaxis is an allergic reaction considered serious and can be fatal. It occurs within seconds to minutes after the person has contact with the allergen, that is, what causes the allergy.
Allergy can occur with food, medicines and in contact with animals, such as the sting of a bee, for example. If the blood pressure of the person having this reaction drops too low or if the airway closes without being able to breathe, it may cause anaphylactic shock.
There are drugs on the market that can inhibit this serious reaction of an enzyme called “Bruton’s tyrosine kinase” or BTK, which is found inside cells. By inhibiting this enzyme, cells cannot be activated by allergens and the allergic antibody.
It would be possible, in addition to avoiding contact with the allergen, also to predict this reaction by taking these oral medications, according to Dr. Bruce Bochner, professor of medicine at Northswestern University in the United States. He believes that a pill could be life-changing and life-saving if taken proactively to prevent serious allergic reactions. For example, in the case of someone who is allergic to antibiotics, but needs to take the medicine.
A study on this treatment, analyzed using modified cells in mice, has been published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation . For now, it is known that the drug would be effective in preventing anaphylaxis, but the researchers want to continue studying the composition to find out if it might also have an effect on reversing symptoms if the person is already suffering from the allergic reaction.
Although BTK inhibitors are already on the market, the prices are high and have not yet been tested in children, who tend to suffer more from some types of allergies, such as food allergies.
FUNIBER promotes studies in the area of Nutrition and Health for professionals interested in expanding training in this field. For example, the Doctorate in Nutrition or the Specialization in Allergies and Food Intolerances.
An international investigation on eating habits during confinement begins to analyze the data received and points out that 28% reported having gained weight.
In March, when many countries began to announce containment measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a team of researchers in nutrition and health from the International Ibero-American University of Mexico (UNINI Mexico), belonging to the network of universities with which FUNIBER collaborates, began to investigate the eating habits of the population during this period.
Five months later, and with the participation of 10,000 people who have volunteered their data in online surveys, the analysis of this information has begun.
To analyze a pandemic, international data
As stated by Irma Domínguez, Health Areas Postgraduate Coordinator – eLearning at the European University of the Atlantic and participant in the research: “the objective of granting an international character to the research has been achieved. It has been possible to reach many countries on different continents, we are talking about the participation of 58 countries with a wide distribution of participants, since of the approximately 10,000 participants only 24.7% are Mexican ”. This fact has been possible to a great extent, thanks to the sponsorship of FUNIBER.
The countries with the most participants have been Mexico (24.7%), Colombia (12%), Ecuador (10%) and Argentina (6%). Most of the participants come from South America (46%), although the countries of North America (26%), Central America (22%) and Europe (5%) also have a significant presence.
Although each country has taken different measures to manage the emergency, and each context has its own specificities, it is true that we are all experiencing a pandemic and confinement not seen before in history. Understanding how people react and act, changing or transforming habits, may be key to future international and national health measures and actions.
The weight, first variable
Between news and stories, we have heard people commenting on snacking throughout the day, badly slept nights, stress from news and confinement, food supply problems, among others. How has this health emergency situation affected health and nutrition habits?
The study has not yet delved into the analysis, but preliminary data indicate that 28% have gained weight, 14% have lost and 57% kept the numbers on the scale during confinement. All data is based on the statements of the participants themselves.
The member of the group of researchers, Nohora Martínez, professor of the Doctorate in Nutrition at UNINI Mexico, affirms that at the moment they are analyzing “the different variables to try to see if it is possible to give an explanation to certain data that we have found surprising and that differ from the initial hypotheses. ”
Marina Rojo, Coordinator of the Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition at the International Ibero-American University, who is also a member of the team, indicates that one possibility of interpretation is to analyze “the state of mind that may have influenced the reduction and / or weight gain of the participants ”. But, as she explains, it is still necessary to continue analyzing the data.
Study analyzes the association between being overweight during pregnancy and children’s cognitive development.Maternal obesity may influence fetal brain development, according to the results of a study that analyzed data from 109 women between six and nine months of pregnancy.
In the study, the researchers examined nearly 200 groups of active nerve cells in the fetal brain and found associations between the high body mass index (BMI) of mothers and the two areas of the fetal brain: the prefrontal cortex and the anterior insula. Studies have linked changes in these regions to psychological disorders such as autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
“Our findings suggest that maternal obesity may play a role in fetal brain development, which could explain some of the cognitive and metabolic health problems seen in children born to mothers with a higher BMI,” said one from study authors Moriah Thomason.
Although it found this association, the study did not seek to establish the differences found in the result, which clearly would require more studies to delve into the subject.
FUNIBER promotes the Master’s Degree in Maternal-Child Nutrition, a program with a high-level and innovative academic approach, which analyzes in depth all the stages related to motherhood, childhood and adolescence, considering both the nutritional status prior to the conception as the conditions that can determine a good development. It also addresses the different phenomena that can affect fertility, both female and male.
The study compares the number of premature deaths among those practicing physical activity and sedentary people around the world.A study recently published in The Lancet Global Health has analyzed the impact of habits on the health of the population, especially physical activity.
The survey has analyzed data from 168 countries and found considerable differences by country.
According to the results of the study, carried out by researchers from the universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh, in the United Kingdom, life factors such as sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, consumption of alcohol and cigarettes can have negative consequences and cause death .
To understand the health risk of not being physically active, the researchers compared the health information of active people with people who were not physically active. With this data, they saw that the number of premature deaths in the most active group was 15% lower than in the other group, equivalent to 3.9 million lives. This value is even more pronounced in lower-income countries.
Researchers defend the importance of motivating society to adopt healthy habits that can prevent diseases, especially with the practice of physical activity.
FUNIBER promotes the Doctorate in Physical Activity and Sports, an adaptive study program in distance education.
FAO launches technical platform with data, forums, courses and successful cases of policies and actions aimed at reducing food waste and preventing losses.Reduce food waste and decrease waste. This is the intention of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) with a platform that encourages global action.
The platform provides information on measures, reduction, policies, insurance and examples of model actions considered successful in reducing surplus food and reducing waste around the world.
The Director General of FAO, QU Dongyu has announced the creation of the platform, and has asked both private companies and public institutions to promote and develop innovation and technology actions and policies with this objective.
FAO creates the campaign at a sensitive time for food security, with supply and food systems affected by the pandemic exposed to vulnerabilities and needs to overcome similar crises.
Avoiding food scraps and leftovers is an important strategy to guarantee food for the entire population, especially the most vulnerable. In addition to reducing environmental impacts, contributing to sustainable development, avoiding spending on water and improving productivity.
On the platform there are important documents, a compilation with data on leftovers and waste, discussion forums to reduce food loss, examples of successful initiatives, online courses, among others.
Professionals interested in expanding training in the field of nutrition can opt for the programs promoted by FUNIBER in the area, such as the Doctorate in Nutrition or the Master’s Degree in Nutrition and Food Biotechnology
According to a study carried out in Spain, the weight of the first years of a child’s life could affect lung health during childhood.The study, published in the European Respiratory Journal , has analyzed data from more than 1,200 children, based on muscle mass index data from birth to four years of age.
Study results show that children with significant weight gain between birth and four years showed high lung function at seven years. However, with greater limitation to expel air from the lungs.
In the opposite case, children with low birth weight and low growth weight up to four years had lower lung function at seven years.
According to the main author of the study, Gabriela P. Peralta, the study has some limitations because it has not evaluated the complete trajectory of the child and has only compared the weights in two different phases. Based on the results, the team intends to conduct new research to better understand this gap.
Meanwhile, with these previous results, the authors of the study defend the importance of public health strategies that can take care of lung function from a first approach in childhood.
FUNIBER promotes the Master’s Degree in Maternal-Child Nutrition, a program for professionals who wish to train and specialize in the most relevant aspects related to maternal health and the first years of life.
A study with elderly women has associated the consumption of crucifers, that is, vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, turnip, cabbage, arugula , radish, among several other vegetables, with a lower incidence of problems with the heart vessels.The results have shown, in a concrete way, that among women who consumed more than 45 grams of these vegetables per day, they were 46% less likely to suffer calcium accumulation in the aorta, compared to those who ate little or none of this vegetable every day.The study, carried out by a team of researchers from Edith Cowan University in Australia, used data from 684 women in the country, with information collected in 1998.
Dr. Lauren Blekkenhorst, one of the members of the research team, said that in previous studies they had already detected this influence of the diet of these vegetables to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
“Our findings in this new study provide information on possible associated mechanisms.” The answer would probably be in vitamin K, since these vegetables contain a lot of this nutrient. Researchers are now wondering if this vitamin could play a role in preventing calcification of blood vessels.
Crucifers, when present daily in diets, have also been associated with lower risks of developing some types of cancer, such as prostate cancer and colon cancer. According to a study carried out in 1996, and published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association , the association between the consumption of cruciferous vegetables and protection against cancer was found in 70% of the studies analyzed.
FUNIBER promotes training in the area of Nutrition and Health, with university programs such as the Master in Vegetarian Nutrition and Dietetics and the International Master in Nutrition and Dietetics
A survey of 40 studies shows the varied benefits of consuming extra virgin olive oil for disease prevention.
Extra virgin olive oil has beneficial properties that are important for health. A study analyzed recent scientific production on these benefits and brought together 40 research studies that were able to identify the healthful effects of this type of olive oil.
Analysis of these studies shows that extra virgin olive oil is associated with 18 benefits, including pain reduction, protective effect on memory, obesity control, inflammatory potential, prevention of type 2 diabetes, improved liver function, among other healthy effects.
An example is the recent study, published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, which shows that maternal diets enriched with extra virgin olive oil showed significant effects on the hepatic metabolism of the fetus.
Also the study published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, in which the researchers suggest that this oil could be used as a functional food to predict the development of type 2 diabetes.
A study published last year in the journal Trends in Food Science & Technology, showed that the consumption of this oil can also have preventive effects for cancer, due to the bioactive compounds that it has that positively influence the human microbiota .
This scientific evidence contributes to the defense of this food for a healthier diet, which protects against non-communicable diseases.
FUNIBER promotes studies and research in the area of Nutrition. An example is the Doctorate in Nutrition, a program aimed at professionals interested in expanding knowledge through research and broader studies who can choose from six lines of research.
Organizations distribute study on the promotion of breast milk and the marketing of substitute products.
The World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) have published a study that highlights the need to improve information about breast milk and its substitutes.
The institutions noted that breast milk is capable of saving children’s lives by providing antibodies that protect against childhood diseases.
The study also highlights the legal apparatus that countries have to regulate the commercialization of these products. According to them, of the 194 countries analyzed, 136 have legal measures related to the International Code for the Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.
«Aggressive marketing of breastmilk substitutes, especially through health professionals trusted by parents for health and nutrition advice, is a major barrier to improving the health of newborns and infants. children around the world, ”said Francesco Branca, director of the WHO Department of Nutrition and Food Safety.
Branca affirms that “health systems must act to increase parental confidence in breastfeeding”.
The recommendation is that babies should be fed only breast milk for the first 6 months of life. Then they should continue to breastfeed with other nutritious foods, up to 2 years or older.
Currently, it is estimated that only 41% of children 0 to 6 months are exclusively breastfed. WHO’s goal is to increase this rate to 50% by 2025.
FUNIBER recently began to promote the Master in Maternal and Child Nutrition, whose objective is to train professionals trained in child health care based on healthy nutrition.
These changes may affect the way we communicate, work and interact. Some already say that it will be a revolution. What kinds of social emotions are generated at this time?
We interviewed Alejandro Sanz Láriz, professor of the Communication area of the European University of the Atlantic, to comment on this “new normal”.
Could you define what you refer to as the “new normal”?
The “new normal” is the term that the Spanish government has chosen to define what the situation will be that citizens will find once the four phases of de-escalation planned during confinement are completed, due to the global pandemic.
Curiously, this terminology was used for the first time in 2009, in an article by the American activist Paul Glover to refer to the development of communities, but it was popularized some time later by the Egyptian economist Mohamed El Erian, in a conference entitled “Navigating the new normal for industrialized countries. ”
The feeling of control by the State over social life seems to offer an alternative to the feeling of lack of control generated by the pandemic. How do the control and insecurity of this new normal affect our emotional states?
Surely a good part of the “old normal” was related to a false sense of control over our lives. Perhaps many of us could come to think that we had a tight control of our way of life, but the arrival of a microscopic organism has been enough to make us see that our control is very relative, that we are hardly anecdotal accidents on the planet’s soil.
But if we talk about the contrast between social control and the lack of control of the pandemic, it is true that people have been able to perceive an uncomfortable feeling of insecurity. I think that, to a large extent, it has been due to the numerous communication errors that some spokespersons have made, but also to the fear of the unknown that the pandemic has generated.
In communities that are already in the most advanced stages of lack of refinement, this feeling is already experienced in a fairly attenuated way. It is not the same to be locked up at home and go out to buy basic food in almost dramatic conditions, than to walk now through those same streets or even along the beaches and parks with hardly any restrictions.
For this reason, our emotional states have been, at times, a true roller coaster that, throughout the same day, went from terror to euphoria. So it is necessary to control ourselves and act with all our reserves of serenity because after the health wave, the economic wave is already arriving and it will have to be faced with large doses of sacrifice.
World leaders affirm that the moment is opportune to rethink the way we live, changing personal interests for social and ecological ones. Do you think that the situation could lead to the intensification of social networks (support, scientific, professional)?
It sounds great as a statement of intent, but we humans live in the moment and have a hard time looking to the long-term future. That famous saying that states that “we remember Santa Barbara when it thunders” is the plain truth, these days almost all of us have agreed on the importance of investing in research and health. And it’s the truth, but research is a long-distance race, not a sprint. It generates long-term results and does not understand emergencies. We cannot corner research in budgets and now all of a sudden dedicate a mountain of money to produce a vaccine tomorrow. Things don’t work that way.
And in terms of ecology, it has been wonderful to see the canals of Venice clean or the dolphins swimming along the docks of Cagliari. But the impact has been generated on people individually and I am not sure, however, that we are willing to react as a society. In reality, much of the deal is based on gaining or losing comfort in exchange for these kinds of things. The pandemic has taught us the pernicious effect that the human species has on nature, but are we willing not to use transportation? The car? Not even to go to work? Do we stop using the plane? We have seen videos of deer in the streets of Valladolid or even of a puma in a neighborhood of Santiago in Chile and it has been very instructive, but taking care of them requires a collective action that I do not think we will take as a society.
With regard to professional networks, the idea is tempting and there we could see more encouraging results. Collaboration between experts and above all, collaboration between people can help us face collective problems of the magnitude we are experiencing and could inspire us to start thinking and acting more as a group, rather than as scattered individuals that move according to of personal interests.
Time management is also a constant during confinement. Will we change the way we manage tasks in an environment as unpredictable as the current one?
We are sure to draw very interesting conclusions from this pandemic. Teleworking, coexistence, collaboration, organization of tasks … all of this has been imposed on us by the situation but they were aspects on which perhaps we did not stop to reflect with sufficient rigor. The lessons that these two months locked up have taught us can be very useful if we know how to discern with criteria the negative and the positive because, in reality, there has been everything.
Lawyers say that during this period, divorce claims have increased to unknown numbers. Well, maybe we were not used to living together as a couple for so many hours and for so many days in a row. And it is undeniable that now we have to look at human relationships from another perspective.
I also find the notion of unpredictability introduced by the pandemic suggestive. At least he has put it before our eyes; If there is one thing that is certain in life, it is continuous change, and yet many times we refuse to accept it. Sometimes we are even willing to continue surviving in intolerable conditions just because we are unable to take the impulse to change. Well, the pandemic has made it very clear to us that the world is unpredictable, whether we like it or not. What is black today is white tomorrow and what we believed was guaranteed and immovable … no longer exists. The beauty of life is that the sooner we learn to become familiar with change, the sooner we develop our true potential.
In short, normality is something we are used to. However, the “new normal” is not normal, since it will demand new rules and actions of which we were not used. Will we adapt?
Charles Darwin used to say that the species that survive are not the strongest or the most intelligent, but those that best adapt to change. I have no doubt that our lives are going to change, in fact they have already changed. The use of masks seemed almost an oriental eccentricity to us and now, however, it is already part of our daily etiquette. Something as simple as shaking hands with a friend has changed or even having a coffee in a bar now has different rules. It does not matter, we will change our way of life and adapt without too many problems and those who do not will suffer the consequences. It is true that humans are beings of habit, but we have an enormous capacity to blend in with the environment. There will be new rules, yes, many will be uncomfortable, but we will move forward and perhaps, after a while, we will rejoice in many of those changes.
The funny thing is to observe the way in which the children have adapted to the situation, even if it has been very complex for them. But the truth is that they have had an extraordinary behavior and when they are the ones who take the reins of this society, they will have, at least, the valuable experience of having lived through a global pandemic.