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3 September 2010

Broccoli 'boosts' healthy gut

Extracts of broccoli and banana may help in fighting stomach problems, research suggests.

Laboratory studies show fibres from the vegetables may boost the body's natural defences against stomach infections.

Trials are under way to see if they could be used as a medical food for patients with Crohn's disease.

Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes symptoms such as diarrhoea and abdominal pain.

Scientists at the University of Liverpool looked at how roughage from vegetables influenced the passage of harmful bacteria through cells inside the gut.

They found that fibres from the plantain, a type of large banana, and broccoli, were particularly beneficial. But a common stabiliser added to processed foods during the manufacturing process had the opposite effect.

Dr Barry Campbell, from the University of Liverpool, said: "This research shows that different dietary components can have powerful effects on the movement of bacteria through the bowel.

"We have known for some time the general health benefits of eating plantain and broccoli, which are both high in vitamins and minerals, but until now we have not understood how they can boost the body's natural defences against infection common in Crohn's patients.

"Our work suggests that it might be important for patients with this condition to eat healthily and limit their intake of processed foods."


The research, published in the journal Gut, and carried out in collaboration with experts in Sweden and Scotland, investigated special cells, called M-cells, which line the gut and ward off invading bacteria.

Work was carried out in laboratory-grown cells and tissue samples from patients undergoing surgery for stomach problems.

Clinical trials are now underway in 76 Crohn's patients to find out whether a medical food containing plantain fibres could help keep the disease at bay.

"It may be that it makes sense for sufferers of Crohn's to take supplements of these fibres to help prevent relapse," said Professor Jon Rhodes of the University of Liverpool.

Commenting on the study, a spokesperson for Crohn's and Colitis, which represents patients with inflammatory bowel disorders, welcomed further insight into how the gut combats bacteria like E.Coli.

"Knowledge of the M-cell role offers a more detailed explanation as to why a healthy diet can improve the health and well being for people with Crohn's disease and healthy individuals alike," she said.

31 August 2010

Andy Roddick Rolls, Holds Court on Heat, Blake, Scoliosis

Andy RoddickNEW YORK -- Andy Roddick enjoyed a relatively easy first-round match on Monday at the U.S. Open, defeating Stephane Robert of France 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. Roddick, the No. 9 seed, lost his serve only once and broke Robert in half of his 12 service games. Completing the match in one hour and 42 minutes was important for Roddick, who recently suffered through a battle of mononucleosis.

On his health, Roddick said, "It's going the right way. To be honest, once you decide to play, I think you throw all the excuses and everything else out the window. If I decide to play, then it's up to me to give 100 percent of what I have. So it's not something I really want to discuss too much from this point forward. I'm not going to analyze it every day."

Like most Roddick press conferences, his meeting with the media after his victory over Robert covered subjects beyond his own tennis game.

Roddick, a longtime Miami Heat fan, was asked about his team's acquisition of free agents LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

"I'm sick of defending my fanhood," said Roddick. "I was going to the games in '01, when they were paying people to come. I was in Boca (Raton) for a long time and went to four or five home games a year. I'm excited.

"I was just hoping and praying they'd re-sign Dwayne (Wade). Then when Bosh came, I was ecstatic. Then when LeBron came it was bordering on ridiculous. Like everyone else, I'm excited to see how it all goes together."

Roddick's passion for Miami's basketball team, however, is dwarfed by his admiration for Davis Cup teammate James Blake, who was honored during Monday night's opening ceremonies for overcoming scoliosis to become a top player.

"I'm extremely biased," said Roddick. "I'm a massive James Blake fan. His career is one thing, but I also like his character. I like the way he goes about his business. He's been a real good friend to me."

Blake, a wild-card entry in this year's Open, has struggled of late, but is hopeful for another memorable run.

Said Roddick: "My biggest hope for James is that he can get healthy enough to have a run that he would like."