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How can loneliness affect bone health in males?

How can loneliness affect bone health in males?

The impact of social isolation on bone loss in mice was examined by researchers. They discovered that social isolation increased bone loss in male mice, but not in female mice.

To determine whether the same occurs in humans, more research is required. Poorer health outcomes, such as an increase in all-cause mortality, cardiovascular issues, and mental health issues, are associated with social isolation.

Psychological stress has also been connected to risk factors in previous studies.reputable source for information on osteoporosis and weak bones.

Social isolation, which is closely related to loneliness, can cause mental suffering. The relationship between social isolation and bone health is still unclear, though.

Researchers recently looked into how social isolation impacts the bone health of male and female mice. They discovered that in male mice, but not in female mice, social isolation was linked to bone loss.

The research was introduced in Chicago at ENDO 2023, the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting. The study’s non-participant assistant professor of geriatrics at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, Dr. Nahid Rianon, was our source for information on the results.

Lead author of the study and postdoctoral fellow at MaineHealth Institute for Research’s Centre for Molecular Medicine, Dr. Rebecca Mountain, also provided the following information to us.

Future research is required to fully understand the effects on humans, but the findings “may also have clinical implications as we grapple with the long-term health impacts of the rise in social isolation related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The bone density was decreased in isolated mice.

32 male and female mice aged 16 weeks were divided into two groups for this investigation. One mouse per cage was used in one group’s simulation of social isolation. Four mice shared one cage in the other group.

The mice were observed by the researchers in their separate environments for 4 weeks. Finally, the bone mineral density of solitary male mice decreased. Less dense and therefore more likely to break, bones with fewer minerals are less dense.

Additionally, the researchers discovered that in solitary male mice, bone volume fraction and cortical bone thickness decreased by 26% and 9%, respectively. Both measurements point to a decline in bone quality.

Further investigation found that male mice showed impaired bone remodelling, which includes the production of new bone and raises the risk of fracture.

The scientists observed that the bone loss seen in guys who were kept alone was comparable to that shown in earlier studies after orchiectomy (removal of the testicles) and ovariectomy (removal of the ovaries).

In contrast, there was no bone loss after social isolation in the present study’s female mice.

However, despite the fact that their bone mass was unaltered, the researchers discovered that isolated females exhibited higher bone resorption-related gene expression. Increased bone resorption can cause bones to degrade more quickly than they can regenerate, raising the risk of fracture.

Underlying processes

Dr. Mountain pointed out that it is unknown exactly how social isolation may cause bone loss. Her team is investigating many hypotheses, including the function of various stress hormones and the sympathetic nervous system of the body.

We also discussed the mechanisms underlying the effects of social isolation on bone health with Dr. William Buxton, a board-certified neurologist and the director of Neuromuscular and Neurodiagnostic Medicine and Fall Prevention at Pacific Neuroscience Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Centre in Santa Monica, California, who was not involved in the study.

“My initial reaction to the connection is that performing weight-bearing workouts is one of the finest methods to preserve bone health and fend off osteoporosis. One is less inclined to leave their home if they are isolated, and as a result, they are less likely to be on their feet, he explained.

Both depression and weight loss can result in frailty, disability, and decreased mobility, which can contribute to bone loss,” continued Dr. Rianon. Future study is required to understand the underlying metabolic alterations that cause bone loss in various medical diseases, as they are all risks for bone loss.

Why is there a sex difference?

Dr. Mountain mentioned that they are currently looking into why social isolation had distinct effects on men and women. She mentioned that oestrogen is known to protect bones, suggesting that it might be involved.

It’s also plausible that male and female mice experience solitude on different time scales or in various ways, she added.

We also discussed the sex disparities with Dr. Douglas Landry Jarvis, an orthopaedic surgeon with Novant Health in Charlotte, North Carolina, who was not involved in the study.

The synthesis of testosterone and hormonal balances may have been disrupted by a lack of social engagement, which would have had a negative impact on bone metabolism. Over a 4-week period, the female hormonal cycle may be less impacted.

Study restrictions

The study’s weaknesses, according to Dr. Mountain, are its small sample size and lack of behavioural information on how isolation influenced mice’s depressive or anxious behaviour.

Dr. Buxton said that the study’s use of caged animals meant that it was not a perfect representation of human behaviour. I don’t know if the authors documented how frequently the animals in the cages were on their feet, but I would anticipate that the community animals would be more mobile.

Dr. Rianon continued by saying that although the study suggested that male and female mice may have different bone-forming processes, it does not specify how these variations arise.

Nevertheless, she added, “It’s pretty normal to not have [such] details in the early stages of any research.”

Research implications for the future

Dr. Buxton added, “I also guess that alcohol plays a role if these results are later demonstrated in humans.”

We are aware that drinking makes osteoporosis more likely. Alcohol is probably a link between isolation and lower bone mineral density in individuals because isolation is a risk factor for increased alcohol consumption“, the scientist hypothesized.

According to the study, no one should alter their routines, Dr. Jarvis continued. The study’s sole recommendation is that more research be done. The variable of social engagement is too broad. The amount by which the mice’s cortisol levels changed will determine if the study can be generalized to primates and perhaps even humans.


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Talk therapy for depression may lower heart disease risk.

Talk therapy for depression may lower heart disease risk.

The benefits of talk therapy may go beyond the treatment of mental disease, however, they are crucial in the management of depression. Researchers are still trying to figure out how depression and cardiovascular disease are related.

According to a study, those with depression who had relief from their symptoms following psychotherapy also had a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

One of the most prevalent mental illnesses, depression can have negative effects on other aspects of health. Researchers are still trying to figure out how depression treatment affects the outcomes of cardiovascular disease and how the two are related to one another.

In a recent study, published in the European Heart Journal, it was investigated how the use of psychotherapies to treat depression affected the progression of cardiovascular disease.

The researchers discovered that people who experienced reduced depression following psychotherapy also experienced a decreased risk for developing new cardiovascular illnesses, coronary heart disease, stroke, and all-cause death.

Talk Therapy

Mental health experts interact with their patients through talk therapy, sometimes called psychotherapy. Talk therapy is meant to aid in the identification of problems that are generating emotional pain.

Everybody experiences emotional ups and downs. Some people’s issues are transient, therefore no therapy is required. However, for some people, attending talk therapy can significantly improve their mood and even alter their attitude on life.

It could be appropriate to think about talk therapy if you’re dealing with a medical condition, losing a loved one, or experiencing anxiety, stress, or depression.

For some people, talk therapy can provide a secure setting to talk about feelings and emotions brought on by everyday stressors, a medical condition, interpersonal conflict, bereavement, or the effects of a particular event.

Other people may experience the same problems in a complex way, leading to a diagnosis of a mental illness like depression or anxiety.

Once the problems are located, a therapist will work with you to comprehend how these pressures affect your life and will assist you come up with solutions and techniques to lessen the severity of the symptoms.

A talk therapy session typically lasts for 50 minutes to an hour. The frequency and duration of therapy sessions depend on the severity of your symptoms and your treatment plan.

You might anticipate going to counselling once a week at first. Attending weekly appointments provides you the chance to get to know your therapist and become accustomed to the process, even though it may feel like a big commitment.

As you learn coping mechanisms and start to exhibit signs of progress, the number of meetings may increase to twice a month.

Talk therapy is used to treat depression.

A frequent mental ailment that affects people all around the world is depression. It can be crippling and challenging to control. Depression and other health issues can have complicated relationships.

For instance, those who have certain chronic conditions may be more susceptible to depression. People with depression may also be more susceptible to other health issues like pain and type 2 diabetes.

Individuals’ mental and physical health depend on receiving prompt treatment for depression.

One often-used element of depression treatment is psychotherapy. Talk therapy is a frequent abbreviation for psychotherapy. There are various forms of psychotherapy, but they can all concentrate on addressing issues, spotting negative thought patterns, and controlling actions and emotions.

Talk therapy is used to treat depression, according to Dr. Sarah-Nicole Bostan, a clinical health psychologist and director of behaviour change strategy at Signos who was not involved in the study.

Psychotherapy is frequently suggested as a first-line treatment for depression because of its well-known efficacy and minimal to no side effects, except for brief discomfort during therapy. One of the most successful evidence-based forms of treatment for depression is cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), which includes behavioral activation. In CBT, patients learn more constructive ways to view themselves as well as how to put new behaviors and routines into practice to help them feel better.

“Effectiveness of therapy can be measured throughout treatment through validated assessments, but at a bare minimum should be assessed at the beginning and end of a course of treatment,” she said. The indirect effects of psychotherapy on other aspects of health are still a subject of research.

Psychotherapy reduces the risk of CVD

Heart and blood vessel issues fall under the broad area of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Heart attack, stroke, and heart failure are a few examples of cardiovascular ailments.

This retrospective cohort study’s researchers sought to comprehend the connection between the risk for cardiovascular disease and the efficacy of treating depression.

In their investigation, researchers used 636,955 participants. Each participant had finished a term of treatment and met certain threshold requirements for depression. Additionally, none of the participants in the Improving Access to Psychological Therapy programme had cardiovascular illness prior to utilising it.

Researchers checked in on individuals on average three years later to see how often cardiovascular events and all-cause deaths occurred.

Researchers discovered that the greatest benefit was experienced by those whose depression improved after psychotherapy. According to what they discovered, “those whose depression symptoms improved after therapy were 12% less likely to experience a cardiovascular event than those who did not.”

They also discovered a link between reduced risk of coronary artery disease, stroke, and all-cause mortality and improved depression following medication. People under the age of 60 had a larger reduced risk of cardiovascular disease than people beyond the age of 60.

Study restrictions

This study contributes to our understanding of the effects of psychotherapy on other aspects of health. To have a deeper grasp in this area, more research is required.

There were some important restrictions on the study. First, participant self-reporting is used in the assessments of improved depression, which has several drawbacks. Examining every item that might have helped with the improvement of depressed symptoms is also difficult.

Additionally, the study is unable to demonstrate that treating depression lowers the chance of developing cardiovascular disease. It’s likely that individuals made further lifestyle adjustments that decreased risk.

Researchers are aware that reverse causality is a possibility, and the findings of the study cannot be applied to those who do not seek treatment for depression. The study had a short follow-up period as well, so future research may use longer time periods.

Finally, data on a number of possible confounders, such as participant social support, alcohol consumption, or tobacco use, were lacking. These unaccounted-for variables might have affected the effectiveness of depression treatment and cardiovascular risk.

Next steps in research

Overall, the research shows that psychotherapy has a big impact on other health outcomes.

Dr. Sarah-Nicole Bostan said, “This research confirms what we’ve known for quite some time, which is that even a small number of sessions lasting anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour over a few short months can not only significantly ameliorate depression symptoms, but can also set someone on a healthier trajectory for years to come by providing patients with the tools to address their future stressors.”

More investigation is required in this field, but the study shows the value of psychological therapy, according to Celine El Baou.

“This study is a preliminary step towards understanding this link. To establish causation or comprehend specific behavioral or biological factors, more study is required. It does, however, highlight how crucial it is to ensure that psychological therapies are widely available, she added.


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Eating Over 6 Teaspoons of Sugar increases health risk.

Eating Over 6 Teaspoons of Sugar increases health risk.

Although sugar is a natural component of food, it can also be added during production or cooking.

Understanding the risks of consuming too much sugar is still a work in progress for researchers.

According to a recent comprehensive analysis, sugar consumption is linked to a number of detrimental health effects, such as heart disease and other cancers. People can take action to reduce their use of added sugars and beverages with added sugar.

It’s important to provide the body with the nutrients it requires. To avoid obtaining too much or too little of any one vitamin, careful balancing is required. Although sugar is a nutritional staple, excessive sugar consumption can hurt one’s health.

Intake of dietary sugar was linked to several unfavorable health outcomes. This including as weight gain, gout, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and specific forms of cancer. According to a recent review published in The BMJ, the quality of the evidence, nevertheless, varied.

Based on these results, the review authors advise consumers to limit their intake of added sugars to six tablespoons or less per day and to have no more than one sugar-sweetened beverage per week.

Added sugars and natural sugars

A few different forms of carbohydrates fall under the umbrella phrase “dietary sugar.” As an illustration, sugars include glucose, fructose, and lactose. People will obtain some of the sugar they need by consuming foods like fruit or milk, which naturally contain some sugar.

Any sugar that producers or consumers add to foods is referred to as added sugar. Some organisations make suggestions for restricting the use of added sugars based on this distinction.

People cannot completely cut out sugar from their diets because the body needs a certain amount, but the source is crucial. Journalist and licenced dietician Molly Kimball clarified that she was not part in the study.

“Our bodies’ main energy source, including the brain, the central nervous system, and the muscles, is glucose. Your body’s cells require glucose to survive. But since many foods, including proteins and carbohydrate-containing foods like vegetables and whole grains, can be naturally transformed by our bodies into glucose, we don’t need to include extra sugars such as sucrose or glucose into our meals.

In order to provide the best advice on sugar consumption, researchers are still examining the available data.

How dietary sugar affects health?

Over 8,500 articles total, spread across 73 meta-analyses, were considered in this comprehensive evaluation. The review’s authors sought to investigate the effects of dietary sugar consumption on health outcomes. The intake of beverages with added sugar was one particular topic of attention because it might be a substantial source of extra sugar.

The authors of the review discovered a number of negative links between eating sugar and poor health outcomes. They found the following highlights in their research:

Greater body weight was linked to greater consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. A higher risk of gout, a higher risk of coronary heart disease, and an increased risk of all-cause mortality were all linked to increasing use of sugar-sweetened beverages.

Consuming dietary sugar was linked to an increased chance of developing specific cancers, including as pancreatic, breast, prostate, and total cancer mortality.

Consuming dietary sugar has been linked to a number of detrimental cardiovascular outcomes, such as hypertension, coronary heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke.

They also discovered a few other detrimental links between consuming sugar and 45 different health issues, such as melancholy, oral health issues, and childhood asthma.

The evidence linking sugar consumption to cancer is currently weak, according to researchers, and this subject needs more research. The strength of the evidence supporting the correlations was also inconsistent.

Additionally not engaged in the study, Dr. Felix Spiegel, a bariatric surgeon at Memorial Hermann in Houston, Texas, made the following observations:

The review’s conclusions are strong and compelling. Consuming too much sugar significantly raises the risk of metabolic diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, psychiatric disorders, and dental issues.

Study restrictions

This review did have several shortcomings. First, scientists admit that there was a chance for some publication bias. Second, the researchers were constrained by the limitations of the studies they reviewed and by the variations among the investigations. Studies, for instance, have examined sugar intake using a variety of techniques, many of which have a high potential for data collection errors. Studies also used various methods to calculate sugar intake.

Reviewers were unable to determine the amount of sugar in certain items. The authors also emphasise how crucial it is to look for multiple confounding variables before interpreting results and drawing conclusions.

Because of funding conflicts, some of the analyses that were included had outcomes that should be read with caution. Last but not least, the present reviewers neglected to consider the conflicting objectives of the many studies from the meta-analyses they examined.

Decrease your sugar consumption

People can take action to reduce their intake of added sugars by consulting with medical specialists and other experts as necessary. Although every person has different needs, the findings of this study indicate that restricting added sugars may help prevent some undesirable health effects.

Dr. Spiegel provided the following recommendations for cutting back on sugar intake:

“Reading labels and checking for hidden sugar are two steps to decrease consumption. Avoiding packaged foods is also a great idea. Fruits are a great alternative that is also highly beneficial. Simple grilling or air frying should be used for meat, fish, and poultry without the addition of seasoning or glaze. Instead, use a lot of natural spices. Constantly consuming water is also beneficial. Avoiding sugary alcoholic beverages can help limit overconsumption of sugar.

The natural glucose required to maintain a healthy body will be provided by fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. If you do consume packaged goods, check the nutritional labels and be aware of how specific foods affect your daily sugar intake, advised registered dietitian Molly Kimball, who was not involved in the study.


An connection between sugar consumption and 45 health outcomes, such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, depression, several malignancies, and death, has recently been discovered by a new meta-review.

Health professionals advise limiting added sugar consumption to 6 teaspoons per day. Fresh or frozen fruit, low- or no-sugar yogurts, sugar-free sweeteners like stevia, and other foods are examples of low-sugar substitutes. Additionally, it’s crucial to pay attention to portion management.


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Higher magnesium intake linked to lower dementia risk.

Higher magnesium intake linked to lower dementia risk.

Researchers looked into the effects of magnesium consumption on dementia risk variables. They discovered that a higher magnesium intake is associated with a lower risk of dementia. The findings need to be confirmed by other research.

Globally, 57.4 million people suffered from dementia in 2019. This number is projected to increase to 152.8 million by 2050.

Many researchers focus on preventative measures, such as diet, as there is presently no cure for dementia. According to certain research, consuming magnesium supplements may lower the chance of developing dementia and improve cognitive performance.


According to one study that tracked 1,000 middle-aged adults for 17 years, those who consumed the most magnesium had a 37% lower risk of developing dementia than those who consumed the least.

Further investigation on the relationship between magnesium and cognitive function may help develop dementia prevention measures.

Several studies looked into how long-term magnesium intake impacts dementia risk. They discovered that improved brain health—especially in women—is associated with higher magnesium intake.

The National Capital Poison Center’s Dr. Kelly Johnson-Arbor, a medical toxicologist, co-medical director, and interim executive director who was not involved in the study, said, “Although more research is needed on this subject, the results of this study suggest that higher magnesium intake is associated with improved brain health and may conceivably also be linked to preserved mental function and a reduced or delayed risk of developing dementia.”

Published in the European Journal of Nutrition was the study. Further investigation on the relationship between magnesium and cognitive function may help develop dementia prevention measures.

Several studies looked into how long-term magnesium intake impacts dementia risk. They discovered that improved brain health—especially in women—is associated with higher magnesium intake.

The National Capital Poison Center’s Dr. Kelly Johnson-Arbor, a medical toxicologist, co-medical director, and interim executive director who was not involved in the study, said, “Although more research is needed on this subject, the results of this study suggest that higher magnesium intake is associated with improved brain health and may conceivably also be linked to preserved mental function and a reduced or delayed risk of developing dementia.”

Published in the European Journal of Nutrition was the study.

350 vs. 550 mg of magnesium daily

The researchers used 6,001 people’ medical records from the UK Biobank, aged 40 to 73, for the study. Measurements of blood pressure, an MRI scan, and dietary magnesium consumption over a 24-hour period five times during a 16-month period were all included in the data.

Almost 95% of individuals maintained consistent magnesium intake throughout the research period. Yet, some people over time increased their intake while others decreased it.

Finally, they discovered that, in MRI scans, increased dietary magnesium intake was associated with larger brain volumes and smaller white matter lesions (WML), both of which are signs of dementia.

Also, they discovered that magnesium intake exceeding 550 mg per day is associated with a brain age by 55 years old that is roughly one year younger than intake of 350 mg per day, which is close to the daily recommended amount.

They pointed out that this indicates a 41% increase in magnesium intake could enhance brain health, maintain cognitive function, and reduce the incidence of dementia.

They also discovered that post-menopausal women compared to pre-menopausal women had higher levels of neuroprotective magnesium intake than men. However, they pointed out that bigger brain sizes in women were associated with lower magnesium intake over time.

Most correlations between blood pressure measurements and magnesium consumption were insignificant.

How magnesium lowers dementia risk?

According to Dr. Howard Pratt, D.O., psychiatrist and Mental Health Medical Director at Community Health of South Florida, Inc., who was not involved in the study, magnesium is known to be a neuroprotector and to have favourable effects on blood pressure.

“High blood pressure is a documented dementia risk factor in and of itself. The study later showed a decrease in white matter lesions in medium to early old age, indicating that increasing dietary magnesium consumption can have beneficial benefits on cardiovascular health,” he noted.

Magnesium, according to Dr. Johnson-Arbor, may aid in reducing inflammation.

Chronic medical disorders that lead to magnesium deficiency are more likely to occur as we age, including renal disease and vitamin D deficiency. Several studies have suggested that magnesium may be implicated in the development of dementia and other neurologic diseases because magnesium deficiency may result in reduced cellular communications and increased inflammation inside the brain,” stated Dr. Johnson-Arbor.

Magnesium’s effects on women’s health

The University of California, Irvine, Program in Public Health’s Dr. Bruce Albala, an environmental and occupational health professor who was also not involved in the study, is trying to figure out what might be to blame for the enhanced effects of magnesium on post-menopausal women.

The authors suggest that the older women’s lower levels of chronic inflammation may have been a result of their higher magnesium consumption. At this time, these findings should be treated with caution, especially for the smaller magnesium dietary subgroups, the author advised.

The fact that oestrogen is a vasodilator, which means that it can assist lower blood pressure, is one of the interesting things about it. Post-menopausal women’s lower oestrogen levels can actually lead to greater blood pressure.

Study restrictions

Dr. Albala cited a number of the study’s limitations. The individuals’ average age was 55, thus it is unknown whether magnesium is beneficial later in life because the researchers did not include a follow-up MRI scan.

More than 95% of the subjects had steady magnesium intake during a 16-month period, he continued, therefore there was no information available on how variations in magnesium intake over time increase the risk of dementia.

He added that the amount of magnesium consumed is not always related to the body’s actual amounts of the mineral or how it affects tissues like the brain. Dr. Pratt stated that rather than making dementia diagnosis, the study looked into risk factors.

The fact that a person can have numerous dementia risk factors but not actually get the disease restricts this study. Also, there are limits in our knowledge of the timing and scope of magnesium’s neuroprotective effects on the brain, the author pointed out.

Dr. Johnson-Arbor continued, “Although the study authors considered elements like triglyceride levels, tobacco use history, history of diabetes, physical activity, and alcohol intake when they created their analysis, they did not collect data on other conditions—such as other cancer, kidney disease, or other neurologic conditions—that may have affected the findings in this study.

Magnesium to ward off dementia

Board-certified emergency medicine specialist Dr. Naomi Jean-Baptiste was not involved in the study. She advised people to avoid consuming too much magnesium.

“Like all nutrients in the body, magnesium has a recommended range and too much of it might be bad for you. Magnesium excess can result in mortality due to muscle weakness, exhaustion, low blood pressure, and dyspnea. Hence, before include additional magnesium in your diet, use caution and see your doctor, advised Dr. Naomi Jean-Baptiste.

Dr. Jason Krellman is an assistant professor of neuropsychology at Columbia University Medical Center and a neuropsychologist who was not engaged in the study.

“Further research is required to investigate the possible neurological and cognitive benefits of a magnesium-rich diet utilising carefully controlled, experimental circumstances and a study design that tracks people’s neurocognitive health over time,” he said.

However, the study’s encouraging results show that there are a number of dementia risk factors that people can identify and minimise through healthy lifestyle choices, such as heart-healthy eating habits, aerobic exercise as tolerated, and engaging in enjoyable cognitive and socially stimulating activities.


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How gut bacteria can boost cancer immunotherapy efficacy?

How gut bacteria can boost cancer immunotherapy efficacy?

Researchers looked into how gut bacteria affected mice’s response to immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) therapy. They discovered that ICIs enable specific gut bacteria to get through tumor locations. It then stimulates the immune system, which then destroys cancer cells.

To confirm whether these results may apply to humans, more research is required.

Immunotherapy includes the use of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs). They function by “taking the brakes off” of the immune system so it can eliminate cancer cells by blocking certain proteins that restrict immune function, such as CTLA-4 or PD-1.

Unfortunately, ICI therapies are ineffective in up to 50% of cancer patients. The effectiveness of ICI treatment may be influenced by the gut flora, according to a growing body of research.

According to research, animals with impaired gut flora or those given antibiotic treatment react to ICI less favourably. Studies have also shown that faecal transplants of new microbiota may improve ICI responsiveness.

The best gut bacteria for boosting ICI response and the mechanism by which gut bacteria enhance immune response are still unknown.

Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors(ICI) and gut bacteria

Recent studies examined the relationship between gut bacterial diversity and ICI effectiveness in a mouse model of melanoma.

They discovered that ICI treatment results in gastrointestinal inflammation. This allows bacteria to get through the intestines. Thereby moves to lymph nodes close to tumors where they activate immune cells.

The research is published in Science Immunology. Even though checkpoint inhibitor treatment has demonstrated unheard-of clinical success, a sizable portion of responders will later develop acquired resistance. As previously mentioned, the gut microbiota has a significant impact on host anti-tumor immunity in several ways. This affects the clinical reactions and outcomes of cancer immunotherapy patients.

Dr. Anton Bilchik, chief of medicine and director of the Gastrointestinal and Hepatobiliary Program at Saint John’s Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, California, as well as a surgical oncologist and division chair of general surgery at Providence Saint John’s Health Center, did not take part in the study.

Investigating ICI efficacy

Mice with and without melanoma tumours received ICI therapy as part of the study.

They discovered that ICI treatment exacerbated gastrointestinal inflammation, allowing certain bacteria to pass from the gut to lymph nodes close to the tumour as well as the tumour site. In that location, the bacteria triggered a group of immune cells that destroyed tumour cells.

The effectiveness of ICI may be impacted by antibiotic exposure, according to the study. To do this, mice were first given antibiotic treatment. Further followed by melanoma tumor implantation and ICI treatment a week later.

They discovered that exposure to antibiotics lowered the number of immune cells and the migration of the gut microbiota to the lymph nodes.

Finally, they looked at whether giving out certain bacteria may counteract the effect of the antibiotics on the effectiveness of the ICI. They discovered that using Escherichia coli and Enterococcus faecalis in treatments increased ICI effectiveness.

Fecal microbiome transplantation

FMT is the most direct way to change the microbiota. Feces from one donor is given to another by lyophilized or frozen pills that are taken orally. Also, they can be delivered directly via colonoscopy or gastroscopy.

With almost 300 registered clinical trials as of now, FMTs are being investigated as a treatment alternative for an increasing range of illnesses (, accessed Aug 2021). Over the past ten years, it has been clear that FMTs are extraordinarily effective at treating resistant and recurring Clostridium difficile infections. This helps patients feel better and get rid of their clinical symptoms.

Dietary intervention and lifestyle

The relationship between diet and the microbiota has been studied for numerous years at various resolution levels because gut microbes have a role in food digestion. In fact, distinct microbial communities are closely involved in the sequential host digestion and nutrient extraction, with the gut microbiota playing the major role.

On the one hand, the host’s inability to digest a large number of chemicals released by the gut microbiota affects the food’s ability to provide nutrients. Contrarily, both short- and long-term dietary modifications can affect the microbial transcriptome and metabolomic profiles, especially for newborn nutrition. This may have long-term effects through microbial modulation of the immune system. For instance, high-fat diets are linked to significant changes in the makeup of the colonic microbiota. This includes decreases in both Gram-positive.

Study restrictions

Dr. Andrew Koh, senior author of the present work and associate professor at the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern, was contacted by MNT to discuss its limitations.

They only employed one preclinical cancer model, which, according to Dr. Koh, is a significant restriction, necessitating additional research to see whether the results also apply to other cancers.

Although we have not yet produced evidence to support that notion, we think that our findings may also be applicable to other tumours, he said.

According to published research, various human cancers include specific or unique tumour microbiomes, and many of the prominent taxa are bacteria that normally live in the gut. Dr. Bilchik stated that it is still unclear whether the results apply to people when asked about the study’s other limitations.

Interventional gastroenterologist Dr. Lance Uradomo, who is not affiliated with the study and practice in Irvine, California at the City of Hope Orange County Lennar Foundation Cancer Center, stated that “the type of therapy applied for testing melanoma can be linked to adverse side effects, such as colitis.”

Before it is known if microbiome therapy — and the proper administration — is genuinely successful, more research is required, he continued.


The gut microbiome appears to have a significant impact on host immunity and therapeutic response in cancer, either locally within the tumour microenvironment or via systemic antiviral immune responses, according to strong evidence from preclinical and clinical research. The latter is most likely the reason why the gut microbiota is able to control how the body reacts to immunotherapy and traditional chemotherapeutic drugs, eventually having a variety of effects on patient outcomes.


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