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Journal: Diseases (Basel, Switzerland)


The microbiome gut brain (MGB) axis consists of bidirectional routes of communication between the gut and the brain. It has emerged as a potential therapeutic target for multiple medical specialties including psychiatry. Significant numbers of preclinical trials have taken place with some transitioning to clinical studies in more recent years. Some positive results have been reported secondary to probiotic administration in both healthy populations and specific patient groups. This review aims to summarise the current understanding of the MGB axis and the preclinical and clinical findings relevant to psychiatry. Significant differences have been identified between the microbiome of patients with a diagnosis of depressive disorder and healthy controls. Similar findings have occurred in patients diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder and irritable bowel syndrome. A probiotic containing Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, and Bifidobacterium bifidum produced a clinically measurable symptom improvement in patients with depressive disorder. To date, some promising results have suggested that probiotics could play a role in the treatment of stress-related psychiatric disease. However, more well-controlled clinical trials are required to determine which clinical conditions are likely to benefit most significantly from this novel approach.


The brain and the gut are connected from early fetal life. The mother’s exposure to microbial molecules is thought to exert in utero developmental effects on the fetus. These effects could importantly underpin the groundwork for subsequent pathophysiological mechanisms for achieving immunological tolerance and metabolic equilibrium post birth, events that continue through to 3-4 years of age. Furthermore, it is understood that the microbiome promotes cues that instruct the neonate’s mucosal tissues and skin in the language of molecular and cellular biology. Post birth mucosal lymphoid tissue formation and maturation (most probably including the vermiform appendix) is microbiota-encouraged co-establishing the intestinal microbiome with a developing immune system. Intestinal mucosal tissue maturation loops the brain-gut-brain and is postulated to influence mood dispositions via shifts in the intestinal microbiome phyla. A plausible appreciation is that dysregulated pro-inflammatory signals from intestinal resident macrophages could breach the loop by providing adverse mood signals via vagus nerve afferents to the brain. In this commentary, we further suggest that the intestinal resident macrophages act as an upstream traffic controller of translocated microbes and metabolites in order to maintain local neuro-endocrine-immunological equilibrium. When macrophages are overwhelmed through intestinal microbiome and intestinal epithelial cell dysbiosis, pro-inflammatory signals are sustained, which may then lead to mood disorders. The administration of probiotics as an adjunctive medicine co-administered with antidepressant medications in improving depressed mood may have biological and clinical standing.

Concepts: Immune system, Medicine, Bacteria, Metabolism, Immunology, Epithelium, Skin, Bipolar disorder


The diaphragm is the primary muscle of respiration, and its weakness can lead to respiratory failure. Diaphragmatic palsy can be caused by various causes. Injury to the phrenic nerve during thoracic surgeries is the most common cause for diaphragmatic palsy. Depending on the cause, the symptoms of diaphragmatic palsies vary from completely asymptomatic to disabling dyspnea requiring mechanical ventilation. On pulmonary function tests, there will be a decrease in the maximum respiratory muscle power. Spirometry shows reduced lung functions and a significant drop of lung function in supine position is typical of diaphragmatic palsy. Diaphragmatic movements with respiration can be directly visualized by fluoroscopic examination. Currently, this test is being replaced by bedside thoracic ultrasound examination, looking at the diaphragmic excursion with deep breathing or sniffing. This test is found to be equally efficient, and without risks of ionizing radiation of fluoroscope. Treatment of diaphragmatic palsy depends on the cause. Surgical approach of repair of diaphragm or nonsurgical approach of noninvasive ventilation has been tried with good success. Overall prognosis of diaphragmatic palsy is good, except when it is related to neuromuscular degeneration conditions.

Concepts: Pulmonology, Lung, Respiratory physiology, Symptoms, Respiratory system, Thoracic diaphragm, Respiration, Phrenic nerve


Chronic pain in patients with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS), NIH category III is difficult to treat without understanding its cause. The main symptom of chronic prostatitis is pain. In this study, we would like to explain the origin of pain in men with CP/CPPS and its therapy. Forty-five patients with CP/CPPS have received thermobalancing therapy (TT) enabled by Dr Allen’s therapeutic device (DATD) for six months as mono-therapy. The control group comprised 45 men with CP/CPPS did not receive TT. Before and after six months the National Institute of Health Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index (NIH-CPSI) scores, prostatic volume (PV) by ultrasound measurement and uroflowmetry (Qmax) were compared between the groups. Baseline characteristics have shown no difference. After TT, significant improvements in pain score (p < 0.001), quality of life index (QoL) (p < 0.001), decrease of PV (p < 0.001), and increase Qmax (p < 0.001) were determined. There were not noteworthy changes in the control group. Chronic pain due to CP/CPPS happens as a consequence and challenges at the capillary level, namely pathological capillary activity. In response to initial triggers-such as inflammation, cold, psychological and other factors-constriction and spontaneous expansion of capillaries follows, creating a continuous secondary trigger-i.e., the micro-focus of hypothermia-which in turn provokes expansion of capillaries. The additional tissue due to vascular changes into the prostate increases pressure on nociceptors causing pain. TT relieves chronic pelvic pain by eliminating the lasting focus of hypothermia in the affected prostate tissue.

Concepts: Syndromes, Pain, Nociception, Prostate, Myofascial pain syndrome, Interstitial cystitis, Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome, Chronic pain syndromes


Aim: To investigate the efficacy of lifestyle adjustment strategies as a preventive measure and/or treatment of obesity-related non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in adults. Method: A systematic review of literature through 1 July 2017 on the PubMed Database was performed. A comprehensive search was conducted using key terms, such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), combined with lifestyle intervention, diet, and exercise. All of the articles and studies obtained from the search were reviewed. Redundant literature was excluded. Results: Several types of dietary compositions and exercise techniques were identified. Most studies concluded and recommended reduction in the intake of saturated and trans fatty acids, carbohydrates, and animal-based protein, and increased intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), plant-based proteins, antioxidants, and other nutrients was recommended. The Mediterranean and Paleo diet both seem to be promising schemes for NAFLD patients to follow. Exercise was also encouraged, but the type of exercise did not affect its efficacy as a NAFLD treatment when the duration is consistent. Conclusions: Although these different dietary strategies and exercise regimens can be adopted to treat NAFLD, current literature on the topic is limited in scope. Further research should be conducted to truly elucidate which lifestyle adjustments individually, and in combination, may facilitate patients with obesity-related NAFLD.

Concepts: Protein, Nutrition, Fatty acids, Obesity, Saturated fat, Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, Fatty liver, Unsaturated fat


Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative sickness, where the speed of personal disease progression differs prominently due to genetic and environmental factors such as life style. Alzheimer’s disease is described by the construction of neuronal plaques and neurofibrillary tangles composed of phosphorylated tau protein. Mitochondrial dysfunction may be a noticeable feature of Alzheimer’s disease and increased production of reactive oxygen species has long been described. Superoxide dismutases (SODs) protect from excess reactive oxygen species to form less reactive hydrogen peroxide. It is suggested that SODs can play a protective role in neurodegeneration. In addition, PI3K/AKT pathway has been shown to play a critical role on the neuroprotection and inhibiting apoptosis via the enhancing expression of the SODs. This pathway appears to be crucial in Alzheimer’s disease because it is related to the tau protein hyper-phosphorylation. Dietary supplementation of several ordinary compounds may provide a novel therapeutic approach to brain disorders by modulating the function of the PI3K/AKT pathway. Understanding these systems may offer a better efficacy of new therapeutic approaches. In this review, we summarize recent progresses on the involvement of the SODs and PI3K/AKT pathway in neuroprotective signaling against Alzheimer’s disease.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Oxygen, Mitochondrion, Oxidative phosphorylation, Reactive oxygen species, Neurology, Hydrogen peroxide, Peroxide


Moderate wine consumption is a characteristic of the Mediterranean diet. Studies around the world have shown a beneficial effect of moderate alcohol intake, especially wine, on health. This review aims to critically summarise the most recent studies that investigate the beneficial effects of moderate wine intake on human health.


Previous studies suggest that pulses may have the potential to protect against cancer development by inhibiting pathways that result in the development of cancer. These pathways include those that result in inflammation, DNA damage, cell proliferation, and metastasis. Other studies have demonstrated extracts from pulses have the capacity to induce apoptosis specifically in cancer cells. Compounds reported to be responsible for these activities have included phenolic compounds, proteins and short chain fatty acids. The majority of the studies have been undertaken using in vitro cell culture models, however, there are a small number of in vivo studies that support the hypothesis that pulse consumption may inhibit cancer development. This review highlights the potential benefit of a diet rich in pulse bioactive compounds by exploring the anti-cancer properties of its polyphenols, proteins and short chain fatty acids.


Zika virus (ZIKV) infection usually presents as a mild and self-limited illness, but it may be associated with severe outcomes. We describe a case of a 30-year-old man with systemic erythematous lupus and common variable immunodeficiency who became infected with both Zika (ZIKV) and Chikungunya (CHIKV) virus during the 2016 outbreak in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The patient presented with intense wrist and right ankle arthritis, and ZIKV RNA and virus particles were detected in synovial tissue, blood and urine, and CHIKV RNA in serum sample, at the time of the diagnosis. During the follow up, ZIKV RNA persisted for 275 days post symptoms onset. The patient evolved with severe arthralgia/arthritis and progressive deterioration of renal function. Fatal outcome occurred after 310 days post ZIKV and CHIKV co-infection onset. The results show the development of severe disease and fatal outcome of ZIKV infection in an immunosuppressed adult. The data suggests a correlation between immunodeficiency and prolonged ZIKV RNA shedding in both blood and urine with progressive disease. The results also indicate a possible role for arbovirus co-infections as risk factors for severe and fatal outcomes from ZIKV infection.


Antibiotic self-medication in patients with respiratory tract infections (RTI) is increasing globally and has been reported to be one of the prime contributors to antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Our study aims to provide data on the prevalence of antibiotic self-medication and identify the factors contributing to self-medication in adult patients with respiratory tract infection in an urban setting in Cameroon. This was cross-sectional study carried out at Mboppi Baptist Hospital, Douala, Cameroon. A validated structured questionnaire was administered to 308 consenting participants with diagnosed RTIs, to collect data on socio-demographic characteristics and history of antibiotic self-medication. Significance was set at a p-value < 0.05. The prevalence of antibiotic self-medication amongst individuals with RTIs was 41.9% (95% CI 36.5% to 47.5%). Patients with a history of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) were significantly less likely to self-medicate with antibiotics (p-value = 0.043). The most common source of antibiotic self-medication was pharmacies (62%) and Cotrimoxazole and Amoxicillin were the most commonly used antibiotics (38.8% (50), 26.4% (34), respectively). Self-medication with antibiotics in adult patients with RTIs is common in Cameroon. Control of the use of antibiotics, organisation of medication stewardship programs, and education of the general population on the adverse consequences of antibiotic self-medication are required.