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Dr. Marie Gabrielle Laguna

Medical doctor-internist

Benefits of Quitting Smoking You Need to Know

Quitting smoke may seem to be a hard challenge for most smokers. But once you do, it will benefit most of your body parts from head to toe, down to your brain and your DNA. So in this article, you will know the benefits of quitting smoking.

1. Benefits of Quitting Smoking On The Brain

Broken Addiction Cycle

After a month of quitting, a huge number of nicotine receptors inside the brain will return to its normal functioning and the brain will re-wire and break the cycle of addiction. However, quitting requires a lot of self-discipline.

2. Benefits of Quitting Smoking On The Head

Sharp Hearing

About 70% of the smokers will likely develop hearing loss. Keep in mind that mild hearing loss could cause trouble. So when you start quitting cigarettes, your hearing will turn sharp eventually.

Better Vision

Smoking causes blurry vision, because like the nose and the mouth, eyes can absorb nicotine too. But once you quit smoking, your night vision will improve and this will also help preserve your overall vision.

Clean Mouth

No one likes a bad breath and a dirty mouth which is usually caused by smoking. Quitting smoke will lead to a brighter smile and will keep your mouth healthy.

Clear Skin

Using anti-aging lotion won't do any better than quitting smoking. If you quit smoking, it will keep away your skin from premature aging and wrinkling and it will help clear up the blemishes.

3. Benefits of Quitting Smoking On The Heart

Decreased Heart Risks

One leading cause of heart diseases and heart attack is smoking. But these heart risks can be avoided by quitting smoking. The risks of having a heart attack will decrease in just a day and it will lower the blood pressure and heart rate immediately.

Thin Out Blood

Your heart will lessen its work if you quit smoking. It will be able to move the blood around your body easier, as quitting smoke causes your blood to become thinner and it will decrease the risk of forming blood clots which is dangerous.

Lower Cholesterol

Quitting smoking will decrease the levels of cholesterol and fats circulating in your blood but it will not get rid of the fatty deposits that are there already. The growth of the new fatty deposits in your arteries will also slow down as you quit smoking.

4. Benefits of Quitting Smoking On The Lungs

Stop Lung Damage

It is important to quit smoking before causing permanent injury to your lungs because damaging the lungs cannot be reversed. You could notice that it's a lot easier to run for a few meters without having the trouble of short breathing for just after two weeks of quitting.

-Prevent Emphysema

Emphysema has no cure. However, quitting when you are still young will help prevent the emphysema from occurring later.

-Return of Cilia

Among the parts of the body, the cilia are the first ones to heal after you quit smoking. People usually cough more than usual after quitting smoking and this is a sign of the cilia starting to regrow and regain normal function.

5. Benefits of Quitting Smoking on DNA

Lower Cancer Risks

Quitting smoking is one of the best ways of decreasing the risk of having cancer. New DNA damage will be prevented from occurring once you start quitting smoking. It will also help fix the damage that has already occurred.

6. Benefits of Quitting Smoking on Digestion and Hormones

Smaller Belly

When you quit smoking, your belly fat will reduce and the risk of having diabetes will also decrease. The blood sugar levels will be kept in check for those who have diabetes already.

Normal Estrogen Levels

For women who starts quitting smoking, the estrogen levels will eventually return to normal. If you're hoping for a healthy pregnancy in the future, quitting smoking will likely help.

7. Benefits of Quitting Smoking On Erectile Dysfunction

Sexual Healing

The chances of having erectile dysfunction will decrease if you quit smoking. The chances of having a healthy sexual life will also be improved.

8. Benefits of Quitting Smoking on Blood and the Immune System

Normal White Blood Cell Count

Your white blood cell counts will turn back to normal eventually after quitting smoke. The injuries that the smoking has caused will also begin to heal.

Proper Healing

When you quit smoking, the improvement of blood flow to the wounds will occur. It will also allow the important nutrients and the oxygen to nourish and heal the wound properly.

Stronger Immune System

Quitting smoking will allow your immune system to function properly. It is no longer exposed to tar and nicotine.

9. Benefits of Quitting Smoking on Muscles and Bones

Strong Muscles

When you quit smoking, the muscles become stronger and healthier. The availability of oxygen in your blood will increase as you quit smoking.

Stronger Bones

Keep your bones strong and healthy by quitting smoking. As you quit, the risk of bone fractures, both today and later, will reduce.

Avoid Constipation: 7 Foods That Can Cause Constipation

Eating is great but having constipation is not. Constipation is a problem where you have less than three bowel movements per week. It comes with symptoms such as bloating, gas, or pain passing bowel movement. According to a study, about 27% of adults experience it. So, to avoid constipation, here are the 7 foods you need to know that can cause constipation.

 1. Unripe Bananas

Because it contains more resistant starch that is harder for the body to digest, unripe bananas cause constipation while ripe bananas relieve constipation.

We likely eat bananas before they even reach their ripeness but in order to avoid constipation, it is best to wait until the bananas are fully ripe.  Eating unripe bananas when you are already dehydrated can make constipation worse.

2.  Alcohol

Alcohol is regularly stated as a likely cause of constipation. This is because drinking large amounts of alcohol can increase the volumes of fluids lost through your urine, further causing dehydration. Dehydration or poor hydration is often associated with an increased risk of having constipation.

3. Processed Grains

Processed grains and their products, like white rice, white bread, or white pasta, can cause constipation because bran (has a fiber which adds bulk to stool and helps it move along) and germ parts of the grain are removed during the processing.

According to studies, a higher fiber intake can lead to a lower risk of constipation. That is why people who have constipation should reduce their intake of processed grains and just replace it with whole grains.

For some people, an extra fiber may worsen constipation although most people benefit from having extra fiber.

4. Fried or Fast Foods

Risk of constipation is probable if you consume large amounts of fried or fast foods because these are likely high in fat and low in fiber. They cause slow digestion and contains a large number of salt that can lower the water content of stool, making it hard to process them through the body.

5. Red Meat

Red meat may worsen constipation because it contains little fiber, and can also indirectly reduce a person's total daily fiber consumption. This is can take the place of high-fiber options in the diet.

Furthermore, red meat contains higher amounts of fat, and high-fat foods take longer for the body to digest so those with constipation may benefit from replacing the red meat in their diet with protein- and fiber-rich alternatives.

6. Gluten-Containing Foods

Some individuals experience constipation when they eat foods that contain gluten such as wheat, rye, and barley but at risk are those who have celiac disease are intolerant to gluten. When someone with this type of condition consumes gluten, their immune system attacks their gut. This may cause them chronic constipation, so avoiding gluten and following a gluten-free diet is essential.

7. Milk and Dairy Products

Dairy products for some people may be a common cause of constipation but those who are particularly at risk are infants, toddlers, and children due to the sensitivity to the proteins found in the cow's milk. Studies show that children with chronic constipation experienced improvements when they stopped taking cow's milk.

Also, take note that those who are lactose intolerant may have diarrhea rather than constipation after dairy intake

Sleeping hours: How many hours of sleep do a teen need?

How many sleeping hours do a teen need?

A teenager needs between nine and ten hours of sleep every night, as suggested by sleep researchers. Yet most adolescents only get about seven or eight hours and some get even less than that.

Chronic sleep deprivation occurs if you regularly don't get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can reduce academic performance at school.

Common causes of sleep deprivation in teenagers:

Hormonal time shift

Puberty hormones shift the teenager's body clock forward by about one or two hours. This time shift makes them sleepier one to two hours later.

Frenzied after-school schedule

Factors that cut into a teenager's sleeping time include homework, sport, part-time work and social commitments

Leisure activities

The enticement of encouraging entertainment can keep a teenager out of bed. These activities include television, the internet and computer gaming.

Exposure to light

Light prompts the brain to stay awake

Spiteful circle

Insufficient sleep causes a teenager's brain to become more active

Sleeping disorders

Sleep disorders or sleep apnoea can affect how many sleeping hours a teenager gets

Effects of sleep deprivation to your body

The effects of chronic (ongoing) sleep deprivation may include concentration difficulties, mentally ˜drifting off' in class, and shortened attention span. The effects of sleep deprivation to your body also include effects such as memory impairment, poor decision making, and lack of enthusiasm, and depression.

Avoiding sleep deprivation tips for teenagers

  1. Choose a relaxing bedtime routine, for example, have a bath and read a book before going to bed.
  2. Avoid activity that gets your mind racing such as loud music, homework, computer games or any other for about an hour before bedtime.
  3. Avoid watching television right before bed, and in the morning, expose your eyes to lots of light to help waken up your brain.
  4. To associate a routine with going to sleep, repeat the same bedtime routine every night for at least four weeks.
  5. After four weeks of repeating your set routine, start your bedtime routine a little earlier than usual.
  6. Late nights will undo your hard work so avoid staying up late on the weekends.

Sleeping hours: Issues to consider

If you're still having problems with lack of sleep despite all the best efforts and methods you have used, these suggestions may help:

  1. Evaluate your sleep hygiene and the factors that have caused your sleep interruption
  2. To help you wind down in readiness for sleep, consider learning a relaxation technique
  3. Avoid consuming any food or drink that contains caffeine after dinnertime; caffeine keeps your brain awake.
  4. Seek help from a doctor if self-help techniques still do not increase your nightly sleep quota.

Things to remember about sleeping hours

  • A teenager needs between nine and ten hours of sleep every night as suggested by sleep research
  • Chronic sleep deprivation can cause dramatic effects on a teenager's life, including reduced academic performance at school.
  • All recreational drugs including alcohol, caffeinated drinks and cannabis and chocolate can cause broken sleep.

Reasons of light sensitivity to your eyes

What causes light sensitivity?

A condition linked with extreme sensitivity to lights is called photophobia, or also known as light sensitivity. When photophobia starts to become severe it can cause bad eye pain, even in low light.

Photophobia causes inflammation inside the eye which is called acute iritis or uveitis. It can burn your eyes and cause corneal abrasion and corneal ulcer.

When you take drugs such as amphetamines, atropine, cocaine, phenylephrine, scopolamine, they cause you to become extremely sensitive to light.

Excessive wearing of contact lenses or wearing poorly-fitting contact lenses may cause the eyes to become more sensitive  to light.

During eye testing, your eyes are dilated.

Meningitis, migraine headache, and recovery from eye surgery can cause your eyes to become sensitive to light.

Tips to ease light sensitivity at home

Make sure that you avoid exposure to sunlight.  Regularly close your eyes, wear dark glasses and keep your room dark.

See your health care provider about the cause of light sensitivity if eye pain starts to become severe. Proper treatment may treat your eye pain problem. If your pain starts becomes moderate to severe, get medical help immediately.

When the following occurs, contact a medical professional immediately:

  1. Light sensitivity starts to become severe eyes become painful (For example, you need to wear sunglasses indoors).
  2. Headaches, red eye or blurred vision may occur.
  3. If pain doesn't go away in a day or two.

If you have any of these symptoms make sure to tell your health care provider:

  1. If you feel headache or neck stiffness, nausea or dizziness, and pain in the eye
  2. You're starting to have blurred vision, sore eyes or a wound in the eye.
  3. You begin to have redness, itching, swelling, numbness or tingling.

Usual exams performed for patients with light sensitivity problems are corneal scraping, lumbar puncture, pupil dilation, and slit-lamp exam.

How does light sensitivity cause you pain?

Remember what science has taught us that images are formed when light enters through the pupil. Light and signals pass along the optical nerve to the brain (where an image is processed) and  retina. Light sensitivity happens when images refract through the lens.

Treatment of light sensitivity or photophobia

Taking a comprehensive eye exam is the first step in treating light sensitivity or photophobia. The eye exam helps identify out other possible causes of light sensitivity.

An essential part of diagnosis and treatment is to understand all the contributing factors that caused pain because those factors can have a significant bearing on the type of therapy selected.

For instance, special lubricating eye drops, topical or oral medications may be used in the treatment for dry eyes. Treatment also includes minor procedures that help in tear production and flow.

Treatments such as oral medications, BOTOX injections and other therapies may be helpful in treating patients with symptoms such as migraines or blepahrospasm.

Know the reason why your chest hurt

Did you ever wonder what the reasons that cause your chest hurt are? Most of the people with chest pain fear a heart attack; however there are several possible causes of chest pain. Some of the causes of chest pain are not dangerous to your health. There are causes of chest pain that are serious and, in some cases, life-threatening.

Your heart, lungs, esophagus, muscles, ribs, tendons, nerves or any organ or tissue in your chest can be the source of pain. Chest pain can spread not only to the chest but can be felt from the neck, abdomen, and back pain.

Causes of chest pain

Heart or blood vessel problems that can cause chest pain:

  • The feeling of tightness, heavy pressure, squeezing, or crushing pain are the most common symptoms of chest pain
  • A tear in the wall of the aorta can cause pain that is sudden and severe in the chest and upper back
  • Pain in the center part of the chest is caused by swelling in the sac that surrounds the heart

Lung problems associated with chest pain:

  • Blood clot in the lung is also known as pulmonary embolism.
  • Collapse of the lung  is also known as pneumothorax.
  • When you take a deep breath or when you cough, sharp chest pain starts to gets worse which is due to pneumonia
  • Lung problems may be associated with chest pain which repeatedly gets worse when you take a deep breath or when you cough. This discomfort or pain is caused by swelling of the lining around the lungs.

Other causes of chest pain:

  • With fast breathing, panic attacks usually happens
  • Ribs joining the breast bone or sternum (costochondritis) is the cause of inflammation
  • The straining of the muscles and tendons that occurs between the ribs

Heart Attack Symptoms Caused By Chest Pain

When do you need to contact a medical professional?

  1. If you suddenly start to feel crushing, squeezing, or tightening pain or pressure in your chest
  2. Nausea, dizziness, sweating, a racing heart, or shortness of breath symptoms
  3. When your chest hurts suddenly, and the pain becomes more intense in spite of light activity or if the pain lasts longer than usual
  4. While you are at rest, your angina symptoms occur
  5. When you feel shortness of breath even when sleeping
  6. If you are diagnosed with a serious condition, such as heart attack or pulmonary embolism

The risk of having a heart attack is greater if the following applies:

  • Heart disease is in your family history.
  • You cholesterol or blood pressure is high, or if you have diabetes.
  • You are diagnosed with heart disease.

Call your provider immediately if:

  1. You begin to have fever or your cough starts to produce yellow-green phlegm
  2. Your chest pain starts to become severe and doesn't go away.
  3. Problems with swallowing start to occur
  4. Your chest pain began to lasts longer than 3 to 5 days

Know the reasons why your stomach growl

What Causes The Stomach To Growl When Hungry?

Did you ever wonder why whenever you feel hungry your stomach growls? Hunger and an absence of food in the stomach leads to stomach upset. Stomach upset can occur at any time, on an empty or full stomach. Growling can be heard coming from the small intestines and doesn’t only come from the stomach.

When the stomach and intestines are empty, the growls are typically louder and so the organs’ contents don’t dampen the noise.

The physiological source of this rumbling comprises of muscular activity in the small intestines and stomach. In general, the gastrointestinal tract wall is primarily composed of layers of smooth muscle and is a hollow tube that runs from the mouth to the anus.

When the walls are activated and get squeezed, they generate a rumbling noise. The rumbling noise is due to the tract’s contents to mix and boost food, gas and fluids through the stomach and small intestines.

Peristalsis is the term for squeezing of the muscular walls. It comprises a loop of contraction moving aborally (away from the oral cavity) towards the anus a few inches at a time.

The rhythmic fluctuation is the results of the generation waves of peristalsis. A result of inherent activity of the enteric nervous system, which is found in the walls of the gut is the fluctuation called the basic electrical rhythm (BER). At a regular rhythm (three and 12 times per minute, respectively), in a manner similar to, but slower than, the rhythmicity of cardiac muscle in the heart the BER causes the muscle cells of the stomach and small intestines to activate. The hormonal factors and autonomic nervous system can modulate this BER.

Though the stomach and small intestines have been empty for approximately two hours, their activity increases and the rate and force of peristalsis also typically increases in the presence of food. The cause for a reflex generation of waves of electrical activity (migrating myoelectric complexes, or MMCs) in the enteric nervous system is that the receptors in the walls of the stomach sense the absence of food. These MMCs lead to hunger contractions and travel along the stomach and small intestines. Such hunger contractions disseminate along the entire length of the gut, sweeping to the terminal ileum and start in the antrum, or lower region, of the stomach. MMCs clear out any and all stomach contents these and keep them from gathering at any one site. These include clearing mucus, remaining food stuff and bacteria.

The contractions also produce the rumbling noise and vibrations associated with hunger. Once commenced, hunger contractions may continue for 10 to 20 minutes and repeat every one to two hours until the next meal is consumed. After the last meal, it may continue for a few days before gradually subsiding. These are not the same as hunger pangs, which start at 12 to 24 hours. Low blood sugar boosts this activity. Using an intravenous infusion of the hormone motilin the activity can also be prompted. The MMCs subside after feeding.

Things you need to know about the benefits of strawberries

Health Benefits of Strawberries

Fresh summer strawberries are one of the healthiest, popular, and refreshing treats on the planet. There are numerous benefits of strawberries that are good for the health. Today, there are over 600 varieties of strawberries.

Benefits of Strawberries That Are Good For The Health

Strawberries have been found to contain a mass of health benefits. A strawberry helps protect against a range of diseases and contains numerous potential benefits of strawberries to the health.

  1. Heart Disease

A Harvard study found that the risk of a heart attack by 32 percent in young and middle-aged women can reduce by regular consumption of anthocyanins, a class of flavonoids found in berries.

According to a study published in Circulation journal, women who consumed at least three servings of strawberries or blueberries per week fared best.

The flavonoid quercetin is a natural anti-inflammatory contained in strawberries. Flavonoid quercetin appears to protect against the damage caused by low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in animal studies. Also, the risk of atherosclerosis is reduced Due to consumption of strawberries.

The high polyphenol content contained in strawberries reduced the risks of cardiovascular disease. It reduces by preventing platelet build-up and reducing blood pressure via anti-inflammatory mechanisms.

  1. Stroke

It has been revealed that the formation of harmful blood clots associated with strokes reduces through antioxidants such as anthocyanins, kaempferol, and quercetin contained in strawberries. High potassium consumption has been linked to reduced risk of stroke.

  1. Cancer

Decreasing inflammation in the body, work against free radicals, and inhibiting tumor growth are the powerful antioxidants contained in strawberries.

  1. Blood Pressure

To those with high blood pressure, strawberries are recommended. Strawberries help negate the effects of sodium in the body due to their high potassium content.

  1. Constipation

Fiber is important for lessening constipation and adding bulk to the stool. Help keep the body hydrated and bowel movements regular by eating foods that are high in water content and fiber, like strawberries, grapes, watermelon, and cantaloupe.

  1. Diabetes

Strawberries helps regulate blood sugar and keep it stable due to its low glycemic index food and high in fiber avoids extreme highs and lows. Strawberries have a lower glycemic index (40) than many other fruits, for people with diabetes strawberries might be an excellent choice.

Researchers discovered in 2011 that complications of diabetes, such as kidney disease and neuropathy significantly reduce by eating about 37 strawberries a day.

It is shown in a one study that Fisetin, a flavonoid contained in strawberries, enhance the memory and stimulated survival of neurons grown in culture in healthy mice. Fisetin also helps prevent of both brain complications in diabetic mice and kidney.

  1. Pregnancy

For pregnant women, sufficient folic acid intake is vital to protect against neural tube defects in infants and strawberries are a great source of folic acid.


Strawberries are rich in the vital nutrients such as fiber, folic acid, potassium, and vitamin C.

For only 50 calories, a one cup of fresh strawberries comprises 160 percent of the daily recommended quantity of vitamin C.

Health Benefits of Quinoa You Need To Know Health Benefits of Quinoa You Need To Know

There are rich benefits of Quinoa that are great for your health.

What is a Quinoa? Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a type of edible seed that comes in many colors including, white black, red, and yellow. The plant has been nurtured for about 5000 years and is indigenous to the Andean region of South America, specifically Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru. After the seeds are harvested they go through the process of removing the natural saponins, a bitter-tasting chemical compound covering the exterior that performs as a natural pesticide.

Quinoa is customarily harvested by hand due to the differing levels of maturity of the seeds even within one plant. Therefore if mechanically harvested seed losses may occur.

Recommended reading: Losing Weight the Natural Way

Quinoa and its Health Benefits

Though technically a seed, Quinoa is categorized as a whole grain and is a good source of plant protein and fiber. One cup cooked offers about 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. Quinoa is a complete protein that contains all nine essential amino acids that our bodies cannot make on their own.

There are lots of benefits of Quinoa that are good for the health. Quinoa is also naturally gluten-free and if one has gluten intolerance such as celiac disease, it can be eaten safely

Quinoa is rich in:

  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus
  • Magnesium
  • Folate
  • Thiamine (B1)

A packaged quinoa is typically pre-rinsed but some brands may advise rinsing before cooking to remove any remaining saponins. Run the quinoa under cool water for a few passes and use a fine mesh strainer to catch the small seeds.

Quinoa is prepared alike to rice using two parts liquid to one part dry quinoa. One cup of dry quinoa will yield 3 cups cooked, and can be prepared in water, stock, or other liquids. You may also add herbs or spices during cooking such as bay leaves, marjoram, thyme, black pepper, or garlic or onion powder.

Add the seeds, liquid, and desired herbs to a pot and bring to a boil on high heat. When a rolling boil is reached, reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until tender. You may notice a little white tail develop when it is fully cooked; this is the nutritious germ. Fluff with a fork. If the quinoa is too wet or you prefer a drier quinoa, drain the cooked quinoa in a strainer and return to the pot. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes to dry out further.

For easier cooking, quinoa can be prepared in a rice cooker with the same ratio of 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water.


Prepare as a breakfast cereal by cooking the quinoa in milk or water. Stir in diced fresh fruit, cinnamon, and a tablespoon of nuts.

Substitute quinoa in place of rice in stir-fries and sushi.

Add a half to one cup of cooked quinoa to salads or soups for more heartiness.

Replace pasta with quinoa in pasta salad recipes.

Let quinoa pop similarly to popcorn. Place a 6-inch deep pot over medium-high heat. When the pan is very hot, add enough quinoa to cover the bottom of the pan in a single layer. Turn the heat to medium, then cover and shake the pot to ensure a more even temperature and less burnt seeds. Open the lid slightly a few times to allow steam to escape. Continue shaking the pan until popping slows or you smell burning. Pour the grains onto a baking sheet to cool.

Health Facts

There are more than 120 known varieties of quinoa. The good varieties to try first are white and yellow quinoas, because they have the mildest flavor. Those that have slightly stronger, earthier flavors and tend to hold their shape better are the red and black quinoas.

body's waste systemBy scanning the brains of healthy volunteers, researchers at the National Institutes of Health saw the first, long-sought evidence that our brains may drain some waste out through lymphatic vessels, the body’s waste system. The results further suggest the vessels could act as a pipeline between the brain and the immune system.
Daniel S. Reich, M.D., Ph.D., senior investigator at the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the senior author of the study published online in eLife. “We hope that our results provide new insights to a variety of neurological disorders.”
Researchers use primarily magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to investigate multiple sclerosis and other neurological disorders which are thought to involve the immune system. Led by post-doctoral fellows, Martina Absinta, Ph.D. and Seung-Kwon Ha, Ph.D., along with researchers from the National Cancer Institute, the team discovered lymphatic vessels in the dura, the leathery outer coating of the brain.
In 2015, two studies of mice found evidence of the brain’s lymphatic system in the dura. Coincidentally, that year, Dr. Reich saw a presentation by Jonathan Kipnis, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Virginia and an author of one of the mouse studies.
“I was completely surprised. In medical school, we were taught that the brain has no lymphatic system,” said Dr. Reich. “After Dr. Kipnis’ talk, I thought, maybe we could find it in human brains?”
To look for the vessels, Dr. Reich’s team used MRI to scan the brains of five healthy volunteers who had been injected with gadobutrol, a magnetic dye typically used to visualize brain blood vessels damaged by diseases, such as multiple sclerosis or cancer. The dye molecules are small enough to leak out of blood vessels in the dura but too big to pass through the blood-brain barrier and enter other parts of the brain.
“These results could fundamentally change the way we think about how the brain and immune system inter-relate,” said Walter J. Koroshetz, M.D., NINDS director.
Dr. Reich’s team plans to investigate whether the lymphatic system works differently in patients who have multiple sclerosis or other neuroinflammatory disorders.
“For years we knew how fluid entered the brain. Now we may finally see that, like other organs in the body, brain fluid can drain out through the lymphatic system,” said Dr. Reich.

yogurtResearchers at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech have released findings that explain how a type of healthy bacteria in yogurt and other dairy products might reduce disease symptoms in certain patients with lupus.
Xin Luo, assistant professor of immunology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, and her colleagues expanded upon earlier research linking a lack of Lactobacillus, which produces lactic acid and is an important part of gut microbiota in both humans and mice, and autoimmune diseases such as lupus. The new research describes the mechanism behind this association.
“In our 2014 paper, we found that mice with lupus had decreased amounts of Lactobacillus, which led to our hypothesis that adding this bacteria could ameliorate disease symptoms,” said Luo, who added that she and her colleagues also found that the mice had a “leaky gut,” a condition that affects the intestinal lining. “Probiotics, such as Lactobacillus, work by patching up and reversing the leaky gut.”
“In addition, we found that the addition of Lactobacillus to the diet only affected female mice and not males,” said Luo, who explained that lupus is 10 times more prevalent in females than in males. “We think that testosterone is suppressing the effect of the healthy bacteria. Before our study, researchers had never looked at male hormones suppressing the probiotic effect before.”
The research team included Qinghui Mu, a Ph.D. student in the biomedical and veterinary sciences program and recent recipient of an American Association of Immunologists Careers in Immunology Fellowship, and S. Ansar Ahmed, professor of immunology and associate dean of research and graduate studies at the veterinary college. Ahmed is also one of the leading authorities on the effect of hormones on lupus and other autoimmune disorders.
Although the research was limited to mice with lupus and kidney inflammation, and more work would need to be done to determine whether Lactobacillus has the same effect in humans, Luo emphasized that yogurt and probiotic supplements are considered safe.
“If a lupus patient is female and also has kidney inflammation, there would be no harm in adding yogurt or a probiotic supplement to the diet,” she said.
Now that researchers have identified the “good” bacteria that affect the severity of lupus, they hope to turn their attention to other areas of research.