Thursday, August 10, 2023

The Gut-Brain Connection: A New Horizon in Neurological Health

The human body is a complex system, and one of its most fascinating connections is the gut-brain axis. This bidirectional communication between the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and the central nervous system (CNS) has recently gained traction in the scientific community, especially concerning acute neurological diseases like stroke, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and migraine.

The gut-brain axis is not just a physical connection between the gut and the brain; it's a complex network involving proinflammatory cells, gut metabolites, hormones, and neural pathways. Key metabolites include trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) and short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which are believed to play a central role in gut-brain axis dysfunction. 

Over 50% of ischemic stroke survivors experience GI complications, with dysphagia, constipation, and GI bleeding being the most common. Diarrhea, constipation, and gastroesophageal reflux are also more frequent in patients with migraine. These complications are not merely side effects but may contribute to poor functional neurologic outcomes. It is postulated that the propagation of proinflammatory cells and gut metabolites (including trimethylamine N-oxide and short-chain fatty acids) from the GI tract to the central nervous system play a central role in gut-brain axis dysfunction. In fact, plasma trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) levels might predict early neurological deterioration (END) in individuals with acute ischemic stroke. 

Stroke itself can lead to gut dysbiosis, alterations in the normal host intestinal microbiome. This dysbiosis may further perpetuate neurological impairments, creating a vicious cycle that challenges recovery.

Cognition is one of the most evaluated neurologic subjects linked to the gut microbiome. Cognitive impairment is particularly prevalent in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic neurological disorder.

Referenced reviews discuss the known GI complications in acute ischemic stroke and multiple sclerosis, emerging therapeutics and lifestyle modifications that target the gut-brain axis. 


Yong HYF, Ganesh A, Camara-Lemarroy C. Gastrointestinal Dysfunction in Stroke. Semin Neurol. 2023 Aug 10. doi: 10.1055/s-0043-1771470. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37562458.

Ghadiri F, Ebadi Z, Asadollahzadeh E, Moghadasi AN. Gut microbiome in multiple sclerosis-related cognitive impairment. Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders. 2022 Sep 7:104165.

La Rosa G, Lonardo MS, Cacciapuoti N, Muscariello E, Guida B, Faraonio R, Santillo M, Damiano S. Dietary Polyphenols, Microbiome, and Multiple Sclerosis: From Molecular Anti-Inflammatory and Neuroprotective Mechanisms to Clinical Evidence. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2023 Apr 14;24(8):7247.

He Q, Wang W, Xiong Y, Tao C, Ma L, Ma J, You C. A causal effects of gut microbiota in the development of migraine. The Journal of Headache and Pain. 2023 Dec;24(1):1-7.

Monday, February 6, 2023

Stealth Care System for IBS

The term "stealth care" was coined in a political context, referring to the idea of certain words being disguised or hidden and the fact that not all types of caring for someone's wellbeing are within (or approved by) traditional health care. 

This term has been also used in the computer security contextto describe the Honeynet Project. A honeynet is a network of Honeypots, computer systems set up to look like regular ones, but with a caveat. Honeypots allow themselves to be attacked by hackers in order to capture their every move, learn the tools, tactics and motives; being used to track down and stop attacks before they happen. 

A new paper from McMaster University describes a cellular delivery system that can safely carry potent antibiotics throughout the body to selectively attack and kill bacteria. Physicists at McMaster University are essentially using red blood cells to conceal this antibiotic within turning them into stealth vehicles. The platform could help to address the ongoing antibiotic resistance crisis while avoiding the toxicity and harmful side effects of antibiotics. The technology could be used to fight particularly dangerous and often drug-resistant bacteria such as E. coli, which is responsible for many serious conditions such as pneumonia, gastroenteritis and bloodstream infections.

It could be also used for conditions such as IBS since traditional antibiotics delivery systems can often bring more harm than good in some cases. Antibiotics can disrupt the balance of the microbiome, leading to further symptoms of IBS and potentially causing new health problems. Additionally, overuse of antibiotics can lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which can make it more difficult to treat future infections effectively.


Krivic H, Himbert S, Sun R, Feigis M, Rheinstädter MC. Erythro-PmBs: A Selective Polymyxin B Delivery System Using Antibody-Conjugated Hybrid Erythrocyte Liposomes. ACS Infectious Diseases. 2022 Sep 29;8(10):2059-72.

Săndulescu O, Viziteu I, Streinu-Cercel A, Miron VD, Preoțescu LL, Chirca N, Albu SE, Craiu M, Streinu-Cercel A. Novel Antimicrobials, Drug Delivery Systems and Antivirulence Targets in the Pipeline—From Bench to Bedside. Applied Sciences. 2022 Nov 16;12(22):11615.

Săndulescu O, Streinu-Cercel A, Moțoi MM, Streinu-Cercel A, Preoțescu LL. Syndromic Testing in Infectious Diseases: From Diagnostic Stewardship to Antimicrobial Stewardship. Antibiotics. 2023 Jan;12(1):6.

Stealth-care system: Scientists test 'smart' red blood cells to deliver antibiotics that target specific bacteria (2022, October 31) retrieved 6 February 2023 from

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Antibiotics and Bowel Disorders

Frequent use of antibiotics can increase the risk of developing microbiome-associated diseases in all age groups.

Studies have shown that antibiotic exposure in the prenatal period and during the first 2 years of life can significantly impact the risk of developing atopic and metabolic disorders later in life. The first 6 months of life appeared to be a critical period, as this is when the microbiome is most susceptible to irreversible changes. 

Studies of older children (such as 11,000 teens and pre-teens from Finland) have found that, instead of a specific age, the frequency of antibiotic use in the two years prior to the diagnosis of autoimmune disorders, was more strongly associated with risk. Exposures to cephalosporins, macrolides, and amoxicillin-clavulanic acid throughout childhood seemed to increase the likelihood of Juvenile Arthritis (JIA). Exposures to macrolides within two years before diagnosis showed minor association with other autoimmune disorders, including type 1 diabetes (DM), autoimmune thyroiditis (AIT), JIA, and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD)). 

An article recently accepted for publication found that frequent use of antibiotics later in life also increased the risk of IBD. This study of more than 6 million individuals followed for close to 20 years analyzed 87112328 person-years including 36017 new cases of ulcerative colitis (UC) and 16881 new cases of Crohn’s disease (CD) - two primary types of IBD with different characteristics. This risk was predominantly driven by those diagnosed with CD and was strongest within the first few months of antibiotic use. In a nationwide case–control study of individuals 16-years or older in Sweden, similar results were seen for three or more antibiotic dispensations.

The authors of the study hypothesized that antibiotics contribute to the development of IBD by modulating the intestinal microbiome, but more research is needed to fully understand the mechanism behind this association.


Semeh Bejaoui, Michael Poulsen, The impact of early life antibiotic use on atopic and metabolic disorders: Meta-analyses of recent insights, Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, Volume 2020, Issue 1, 2020, Pages 279–289,

Räisänen L, Kääriäinen S, Sund R, Engberg E, Viljakainen H, Kolho KL. Antibiotic Exposures and the Likelihood of Developing Pediatric Autoimmune Diseases: a Register-based Matched Case-control Study. (2021). DOI: 10.21203/

Faye AS, Allin KH, Iversen AT, et al Antibiotic use as a risk factor for inflammatory bowel disease across the ages: a population-based cohort study Gut Published Online First: 09 January 2023. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2022-327845

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Post-COVID Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common gastrointestinal disorder that affects 9-23% of the global population. While the exact cause of IBS is unknown, it is believed to be a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. One potential trigger of IBS is infectious illness. Studies have shown that between 3% and 36% of enteric infections can lead to the development of new IBS symptoms, with post-viral IBS being more transient than post-bacterial or post-protozoal IBS. Meta-analysis of published literature found that the incidence of new IBS 12 months after infection was 10.1% (95% confidence interval (CI) 7.2–14.1). The incidence appears higher after parasitic or protozoan infections at 49% compared to 13.8% after bacterial gastroenteritis.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the potential link between infections and IBS, as many patients with COVID-19 have developed gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal discomfort. In fact, infection of the GI tract is thought to trigger symptoms in approximately 15% of COVID-19 patients. Post-COVID-vaccination gastrointestinal occurrences were reported in 10–20% of cases and the risk of a disease flare in IBS and IBD patients was close to 10%. 

Persistent symptoms after SARS-COV-2 infection, known as Post-acute Sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC) or long-COVID, may occur in anywhere from 10-55% of those who have had COVID-19, New study found that the most common new diagnoses caused by Long Covid were tachycardia, followed by Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and IBS.

This chart shows the 0roportion of individuals diagnosed with various conditions by severity of mobility disability. Red are cardiopulmonary diagnoses (AF - atrial fibrillation, Blood Clot, Cardiomyopathy, Pericarditis, PE – pulmonary embolism, POTS – postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, Myocarditis, Tachycardia), light green are gastrointestinal (Irritable Bowel Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome), blue-green are neurologic diagnoses (MS – multiple sclerosis, ME – myaligic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, PN – peripheral neuropathy, Stroke), and dark green are metabolic/renal diagnoses (AKD - acute kidney disease, Hyperthyroid, Hypothyroid, Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes). A little over 3% of IBS sufferers do not feel disabled, while over 10% are severely disabled.  

There are several risk factors for the development of PI-IBS, including female gender, previous antibiotic treatment, anxiety, depression, somatization, neuroticism, and clinical indicators of intestinal inflammation. A history of Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) may also increase the risk of PI-IBS by up to 25%. Underlying possible mechanisms include ongoing increased permeability, abnormal serotonin metabolism, and ongoing chronic immune activation together with altered microbiota. 


Chan WW, Grover M. The COVID-19 Pandemic and Postinfection Irritable Bowel Syndrome: What Lies Ahead for Gastroenterologists. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2022 Aug 6. 

Gabashvili IS. The Incidence and Effect of Adverse Events Due to COVID-19 Vaccines on Breakthrough Infections: Decentralized Observational Study with Underrepresented Groups. JMIR Formative Research. 2022 Nov 4;6(11):e41914. doi: 10.2196/41914. PMID: 36309347; PMCID: PMC9640199.

Ghoshal UC. Postinfection irritable bowel syndrome. Gut and Liver. 2022 May 5;16(3):331.

Lau B, Wentz E, Ni Z, Yenokyan K, Coggiano C, Mehta SH, Duggal P. Physical and mental health disability associated with long-COVID: Baseline results from a US nationwide cohort. medRxiv. 2022 Dec. 7

Lau B, Wentz E, Ni Z, Yenokyan K, Coggiano C, Mehta SH, Duggal P. Physical and mental health disability associated with long-COVID: Baseline results from a US nationwide cohort. medRxiv. 2022 Jan 1.

Nazarewska A, Lewandowski K, Kaniewska M, Rosołowski M, Marlicz W, Rydzewska G. Irritable bowel syndrome following COVID-19: underestimated consequence of infection with SARS-CoV-2. Polish archives of internal medicine.:16323.

Spiller R, Garsed K. Postinfectious irritable bowel syndrome. Gastroenterology. 2009 May 1;136(6):1979-88.

Thabane M, Marshall JK. Post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome. World journal of gastroenterology: WJG. 2009 Aug 8;15(29):3591.


Wednesday, November 30, 2022

The Health Benefits of Mung Beans: Antidiabetic, Anti-inflammatory, and More

Mung beans, also known as green gram or moong, are a type of small, green legume that are native to India and have been cultivated for thousands of years. They are a staple food in many Asian cuisines and are commonly used in traditional medicine, particularly in Ayurveda. 

Mung beans are a good source of nutrients, including protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are low in calories and fat, making them a healthy choice for people who are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Mung beans are also much easier to digest than other legumes such as lentils and hard beans, which include pintos, black beans, and chickpeas. It is worth noting that mung beans are considered to be low FODMAP, meaning that they are generally well tolerated by people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other digestive disorders. 

One of the key health benefits of mung beans is their ability to cleanse and detoxify the body. Mung beans contain both soluble and insoluble fibers, which help to cleanse the colon and remove toxins from the body. The pasty texture of mung beans is often cited as an indicator of their cleansing properties. 

Mung beans have also been shown to have cholesterol-lowering and liver-protective effects, due to the presence of antioxidant compounds such as phenolic compounds. These legumes have been documented to ameliorate hyperglycemia, hyperlipemia, and hypertension, and prevent cancer and melanogenesis, as well as possess hepatoprotective and immunomodulatory activities.

According to the findings of one recent study, the methanolic extract of the seeds from the V. radiata (Mung Bean) plant possesses significant antidiabetic characteristics that are on par with those of the commonly used drug glibenclamide. Hence, V. radiata seems to be effective as a natural antidiabetic.

Mung beans may be helpful for people with digestive disorders. In one study, mung beans were found to improve symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea in people with IBS.  Mung bean supplementation was shown to prevent the High-Fat-Diet-induced gut microbiota dysbiosis. Mung Bean Seed Extracts (MSE) regulated the composition of gut microbiota by stimulating the growth of the beneficial bacteria Enterococcus, Ruminococcus, Blautia, and Bacteroides and decreasing the growth of the potential pathogenic bacteria Escherichia-Shigella. Similarly, qPCR showed increased numbers of Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, and Prevotella, compared with people on a regular diet (control group). The anti-inflammatory activity of MSE was observed in LPS-stimulated THP-1 monocytes with the reduction of TNFα, IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-8 genes. mung bean seed coat extract

Finally, mung beans have been traditionally used to improve the overall health of the skin. Some people believe that consuming mung beans can help to purify the blood and reduce unpleasant body odor. It is also believed to help with chloasma - irregular brownish or blackish spots especially on the face.


Lopes LA, Martins MD, Farias LM, Brito AK, Lima GD, Carvalho VB, Pereira CF, Conde Júnior AM, Saldanha T, Arêas JA, Silva KJ. Cholesterol-lowering and liver-protective effects of cooked and germinated mung beans (Vigna radiata L.). Nutrients. 2018 Jun 26;10(7):821.

Amare YE, Dires K, Asfaw T. Antidiabetic Activity of Mung Bean or Vigna radiata (L.) Wilczek Seeds in Alloxan-Induced Diabetic Mice. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2022 Oct 26;2022.

Charoensiddhi S, Chanput WP, Sae-Tan S. Gut Microbiota Modulation, Anti-Diabetic and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Polyphenol Extract from Mung Bean Seed Coat (Vigna radiata L.). Nutrients. 2022 Jan;14(11):2275.

Hou D, Tang J, Huan M, Liu F, Zhou S, Shen Q. Alteration of fecal microbiome and metabolome by mung bean coat improves diet-induced non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in mice. Food Science and Human Wellness. 2022 Sep 1;11(5):1259-72.

Hou D, Yousaf L, Xue Y, Hu J, Wu J, Hu X, Feng N, Shen Q. Mung bean (Vigna radiata L.): bioactive polyphenols, polysaccharides, peptides, and health benefits. Nutrients. 2019 May 31;11(6):1238.

Kabré WJ, Dah-Nouvlessounon D, Hama F, Kohonou NA, Sina H, Senou M, Baba-Moussa L, Savadogo A. Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Colon Cancer Activities of Mung Bean Grown in Burkina Faso. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2022 Aug 9;2022.

d’Arc KW, Durand DN, Hama-Ba F, Abiola A, Felix G, Haziz S, Arnaud KN, Pascal T, Maximin S, Aly S, Lamine BM. Mung Bean (Vigna radiata (L.) R. Wilczek) from Burkina Faso Used as Antidiabetic, Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Agent. Plants. 2022 Jan;11(24):3556.

** Bharadwaj, P., & Kaur, H. (2013). Mung bean (Vigna radiata L. Wilczek): A review on its nutritional and functional aspects. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 50(6), 985-995. 

** Park, H. K., Kim, J. H., Lee, J. H., & Lee, Y. J. (2016). Cholesterol-lowering and liver-protective effects of mung bean sprouts and their related compounds. Food Science and Biotechnology, 25(1), 125-132. 

Lopes LA, Martins MD, Farias LM, Brito AK, Lima GD, Carvalho VB, Pereira CF, Conde Júnior AM, Saldanha T, Arêas JA, Silva KJ. Cholesterol-lowering and liver-protective effects of cooked and germinated mung beans (Vigna radiata L.). Nutrients. 2018 Jun 26;10(7):821.

** de Souza, D. S., & Nascimento, M. G. (2016). Mung beans (Vigna radiata L.) as a functional food: A review. Journal of Functional Foods, 22, 294-303.

Zhang N, Xu P, Wei X, Fan X, Li H. Traditional Chinese Medicine Diet Health and Dermatology. MEDS Public Health and Preventive Medicine. 2022 Feb 16;2(1):11-7.

IG: Special thanks to OpenAI's Assistant for their help with writing this article and suggesting the title. Note that the three double-starred references do not exist. They were generated by AI to look credible. All other references were selected from selected biomedical literature by the human author.