New Scientific Research Studies

New scientific research studies of interest

Today I am going to share with you new scientific research studies that I think you may find of interest as published by The Federation of Holistic Therapists.

 

Psychedelics:  Placebo effects may be stronger than previously thought

Scientists from Canada’s McGill University have found that up to 61% of participants in an experiment reported some psychedelic effects after consuming a placebo administered in a psychedelic party setting with lights, a DJ, psychiatrists and technical assistants in lab coats, a security guard, and several actors trained in mimicking the expected effects that a dose of the real psychedelic drug would have.  This is amongst the highest levels of response found so far in research into psychedelic drugs.

Recent research has shown that psychedelic drugs may have much to offer in the treatment of depression and anxiety.  This study suggests that the context in which a drug or placebo is administered can be leveraged to give a comparable response, but using a lower dose of a psychoactive compound, or, indeed, a placebo treatment.  The results may help explain the idea of a “contact high” where people experience the same reactions as someone who has taken a drug.  They may also suggest that the current trend of micro-dosing, where very small amounts of psychedelic drugs are taken to enhance creativity may have a strong placebo effect.

Nutrition:  Enzymes to reduce FODMAPs

Consuming foods that are high in FODMAP compounds often results in digestive distress, but a new study from the VTT Technical Research Centre in Finland may offer a solution.

FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrate molecules that are poorly absorbed in the human small intestine.  These non-absorbed compounds move along to the large intestine, where intestinal microbes feed on them.  This results in the production of gases that causes symptoms especially for those suffering from intestinal disorders, but also for many others.

VTT used enzymes to break down galactan, commonly found in legumes and fructan, which is present in many cereals.  Further studies showed that the enzymes also worked in the commercial preparation of food products.  This would allow the food industry to reduce or eliminate problematic FODMAPs during processing.  It’s thought that the research could lead to the introduction of new low FODMAP.

Pain – Spider venom may offer opioid alternative

The venom of tarantula spiders may offer pain relief without the addictive side-effects associated with opioid painkillers, according to new research published by the University of Queensland.  The university’s research team used the molecules in the spider venom to create a mini-protein that binds to pain receptor sites in the body, blocking the transmission of pain signals.  They hope new drugs developed from the venom will provide relief for severe chronic pain without causing addiction or serious withdrawal problems.  So far, studies on mice have proved effective.

Nutrition:  Statins appear to improve gut microbiome diversity in the obese

Obese people are frequently prescribed statins to lower their cholesterol levels, but the drugs may also offer the additional benefit of fostering a more diverse range of healthy gut microbiota.  Previous studies have shown that obese individuals have a gut microbiome that differs from those in a healthy weight range, having a poorer bacterial diversity, with fewer good bacteria and more of the species that promote inflammation.

The results suggest that statins could potentially modulate the disrupted gut microbiota and linked inflammation in obesity.

Bone Health:  Trials bring benefits of organic nitrates into doubt

Trials conducted by a research team at the University of Auckland have shown that organic nitrates do not have clinically relevant effects on bone mineral density or bone turnover in postmenopausal women, and the medications caused significant side effects.

Previously, several clinical trials suggested that organic nitrates could reduce the risk of fractures in postmenopausal women, who often experience a loss of bone density as they age.  Some of these studies have subsequently been withdrawn as a result of scientific misconduct.

The new double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trials of three different preparations and two dosage levels showed that such treatment resulted in no differences in bone mineral density or bone turnover markers between organic nitrate treatment and placebo.

Diet: Potatoes can be a source of high-quality protein for women

Potatoes have traditionally been considered as a source of starchy carbohydrates, but researchers at McMaster University have discovered that potatoes can offer potential benefits as a source of protein, particularly as dietary trends change and worldwide demand has increased for plant-based alternatives to animal-derived sources.

Young women fed additional potato protein isolate increased the rate at which their muscles made new protein, while the placebo group did not.

Energy:  Electrical activity in living organisms mirrors that of atmospheric electrical fields

We’ve known for over a century that living organisms demonstrate electrical activity at very low frequencies and that some diseases, such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s occur in conjunction with electric abnormalities in the body.  Now a group of researchers at Tel Aviv University has shown a direct link between electrical fields in the atmosphere and those found in living organisms, including humans.

The paper published in the International Journal of Biometeorology, suggest that over evolutionary timescales, living organisms adapted and evolved to actually use the electricity in the environment in the form of global lightning.  The process was likened to the evolution of our eyes being driven by sunlight.

Furthermore, in some animals, the electrical spectrum is difficult to differentiate from the background atmospheric electric field produced by lightning.

It is thought that the connection between the ever-present electromagnetic fields, between lightning in the atmosphere and human health, may have huge implications in the future for various treatments related to electrical abnormalities in our bodies.

Medical Herbalism:  Magnolia bark compound may help with drug-resistant epilepsy

A paper presented in Chemical Neuroscience suggests that a compound derived from magnolia bark could quell drug-resistant seizures.  Globally, around 50 million people have the disorder and around 30% of them find that the currently available drubs do little to control the disease.  Some who can control the seizures with drugs find that they experience side effects ranging from dizziness to mood disruptions.

The research team looked at 14 plants used as anti-seizure remedies in Traditional Chinese Medicine and found that the bark of Magnolia Officinalis, a tree native to China, reduced seizure-like behaviour when tested on zebrafish and mice.  In tests with mice, the researchers found that the magnolia bark’s most potent anti-seizure compound, magnolol, reduced the rodents’ otherwise drug-resistant seizures.  It and similar compounds in magnolia bark could provide a starting point for the development of treatments for resistant epilepsy, according to the researchers.

I hope you found this post “New Scientific Research Studies” of interest I know I did.  

Tracey

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