HEALTH

Bacteria can anticipate future illnesses, study finds

BY Michael Johnsen

REHOVAT, Israel Israeli scientists from the Weizmann Institute of Science last week released a report suggesting that bacteria can anticipate a future event and prepare for it.

In a paper that appeared June 17 in Nature, researchers determined that the microorganisms’ genetic networks are hard-wired to “foresee” what comes next in the sequence of events and begin responding to a new state of affairs before its onset.

E. coli bacteria, for instance, which normally cruise harmlessly down the digestive tract, encounter a number of different environments on their way. In particular, they find that one type of sugar – lactose – invariably is followed by a second sugar – maltose – soon afterward. Yitzhak Pilpel, professor at Weizmann Institute of Science, and his team of the Molecular Genetics Department, checked the bacterium’s genetic response to lactose and found that, in addition to the genes that enable it to digest lactose, the gene network for utilizing maltose was partially activated. When they switched the order of the sugars, giving the bacteria maltose first, there was no corresponding activation of lactose genes, implying that bacteria have naturally “learned” to get ready for a serving of maltose after a lactose appetizer.

Another microorganism that experiences consistent changes is wine yeast. As fermentation progresses, sugar and acidity levels change, alcohol levels rise and the yeast’s environment heats up. Although the system was somewhat more complicated than that of E. coli, the scientists found that when the wine yeast feel the heat, they begin activating genes for dealing with the stresses of the next stage. Further analysis showed that this anticipation and early response is an evolutionary adaptation that increases the organism’s chances of survival.

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Health Enterprises awarded APMA Seal of Acceptance for two products

BY Michael Johnsen

NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. Health Enterprises has been awarded the American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Acceptance for its Therapeutic Foot Massager and Tru-Ice Reusable Ice Therapy, the company announced Wednesday.

The APMA Seal of Acceptance Program was created to inform podiatric physicians and consumers about products whose quality, safety and effectiveness promote good foot health. In order to qualify for the Seal, products must pass a scientific evaluation by a panel of APMA members and testing at a recognized laboratory.

The Therapeutic Foot Massager helps relieve pain, reduce stress and relax tired feet with three easy-to-use massage options (massage with heat, massage with cold or basic massage). Tru-Ice provides cold therapy to help reduce swelling and relieve pain with an ergonomic, reusable design and patented liner system.

“Both the Therapeutic Foot Massager and Tru-Ice products have been medically proven to bring relief to individuals suffering from foot pain, using the latest technology in over-the-counter foot massage and cold therapy treatments,” stated Ronald Jensen, APMA president.

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Select Rite Aid stores to host Diabetes Solutions Days

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. Select Rite Aid stores nationwide will host Diabetes Solutions Days on June 23 and 25, the chain announced Thursday. Consumers attending the events will be provided with diabetes-related health screenings and self-management solutions. The events include blood pressure screenings, personal pharmacist consultations and glucose meter selection and training. There also will be product coupons and samples of the latest products in at-home diabetes care, and visitors can enter a raffle at each location for a $50 Rite Aid gift card.

The free events and store locations are listed online based by zip code at www.riteaid.com; events run from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., do not require an appointment and are part of Rite Aid’s year-round focus helping diabetes patients take the best care of themselves, the chain stated.

“The key to effective diabetes management is to understand the condition’s symptoms and treatments,” stated Robert Thompson, Rite Aid SVP pharmacy. “On Diabetes Solutions Day, patients can consult with trained Rite Aid pharmacists on their diabetes symptoms and treatment regimens, as well as sample the latest techniques in at-home monitoring.”

A free 16-page Diabetes Guide, developed with the American Diabetes Association, will be available in all Rite Aid stores, and identifies the risk factors for pre-diabetes and diabetes. It includes information on weight management and diabetes-friendly recipes. The guide also provides advice and safe treatment options on such health conditions as gum disease, dry eyes and wound and foot care, all of which can be especially harmful to people with diabetes if left untreated.

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