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What links constipation to depression?

Depression is a mental health disorder that makes an individual feel constantly unhappy or loss of interest in activities. In due course of time, depression starts to take its toll on the daily activities of a person. Stomach is considered as the “second brain” of our body as it operates using similar suite of neurotransmitters as the brain. Often, depression is linked to constipation. Researchers from Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York looked into the matter in detail and had a special interest in knowing more about the activities of neurotransmitter “Serotonin”. Study lead Dr. Kara Gross Margolis explains her reason for the research is the limited treatment options available to patients suffering from depression and that she wishes to widen the spectrum of treatments. They have also come up with an experimental drug which showed positive results. The researchers behind the latest study were particularly interested in serotonin because people with depression are thought to have lower levels of this neurotransmitter in their brain. Also, neurons in the gastrointestinal (GI) system use serotonin. They conducted the study on mice to know whether reducing the level of serotonin in the gut would reflect in their constipation issues and the researchers say that reduction in serotonin caused many changes among which were reduced rate of bowel movements, lowering the overall number of neurons and causing the gut lining to deteriorate. Basically, the mice were constipated, and they showed the same kind of GI changes we see in people with constipation.", says Dr. Margolis. In the second phase of the research, scientists tested an experimental drug 5-HTP SR, which is known for producing a slow-release of 5-HTP, which is an amino acid and a precursor of serotonin. Results showed that this drug was able to initiate more serotonin production in the mice’s gut and removed issues of constipation by getting the gut motility back to normal. (Credits: www.medicalnewstoday.com)

Coffee and its impact on cardiovascular conditions

Coffee is one beverage considered as a life saver by many around the world. It is well known for brightening up a day, increasing productivity and as a mood booster. Coffee is often consumed at the start of a day, midday, in the evening and after dinner for better digestion. Its aroma, taste, role as a stimulant etc. have brought it up as one of the world’s most popular beverages. Statistics report that in the year 2018-19 alone, 26.5 million 60-kilogram bags of coffee have been consumed by U.S population and it is rising per year. Along with coffee’s positive properties of increasing focus, brain health and life span, it also aids slowing down prostate cancer. But, like any other food item, no matter however nutritious it is, coffee also has its adverse impacts when a certain limit is crossed. Previous studies have helped scientists draw the conclusion that people containing the genetic variant CYP1A2 in their body are less likely to develop easy metabolism of caffeine. Hence, caffeine causes an increased risk of high blood pressure which will lead to higher chances of getting cardiovascular diseases. In the new study, the investigators wanted to determine how much coffee would increase the cardiovascular risk of people with and without this genetic variant. Results of the study showed that, even though individuals without CYP1A2 genetic variant were able to break down caffeine 4 times faster than individuals without it, that had nothing to do with cardiovascular diseases. But, the amount of coffee consumption did have an impact on the same. "In order to maintain a healthy heart and a healthy blood pressure, people must limit their coffees to fewer than six cups a day — based on our data six was the tipping point where caffeine started to negatively affect cardiovascular risk.", says Prof. Elina Hyppönen.

(Credits: www.medicalnewstoday.com