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Digestive Tract

March 29, 2001
A type of immune system cell that treats certain foods as germs rather than nourishment is the culprit behind many food allergies, Ohio researchers reported in the April issue of Nature Immunology. The finding could lead to better treatment for millions of people. Researchers used mice to pin the blame on white blood cells called eosinophils, which are packed with powerful proteins that, when released, destroy surrounding tissues and help rally other immune cells to infection sites.
October 9, 1997
Injections of an antibody that targets a natural human protein are showing promise in hard-to-treat cases of Crohn's disease, a chronic digestive illness. The treatment involves injections of an antibody called cA2. It neutralizes a protein known as tumor necrosis factor that is believed to play a role in causing Crohn's disease. The study is published in today's New England Journal of Medicine. The treatment, which has not been approved for routine use, was developed by Centocor Inc.
June 6, 1999 | SUSAN CARPENTER
We all scream for ice cream, but Eric Spitznagel would do almost anything for cookies, candy, cereal, coffee, cola, doughnuts and gum, or so it would seem from reading his new book, "The Junk Food Companion" (Dutton). A few fun facts from his guide to eating badly: 1. Name of the first commercial chocolate bar sold in the United States. 2. Number of licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll. 3.
November 16, 2012 | By Betty Hallock
"Top Chef" host Padma Lakshmi is in the December issue of Playboy (on newsstands Nov. 20) wearing a lot of lace and not much else. In an interview, the 42-year-old single mom said she doesn't watch the Bravo cooking reality show that she has starred in for six years, and that she gains and loses the same 10 to 15 pounds every season. "I usually gain between 10 and 15 pounds over six weeks each season," Lakshmi said. "Then I spend 12 weeks working it off. But it's worth it. When the timer goes off and the food is ready, I'm really excited to eat. "I'm lucky.
November 30, 2009 | By Chris Woolston
Whether you're still plowing through Thanksgiving leftovers or easing back to your normal fare, billions of bacteria in your digestive tract are eagerly awaiting their next meal. And if you feed them well enough, they'll thank you by producing gas. Lots of products claim to help deflate that familiar gassy feeling and all that goes with it. And then there's Beano, a supplement from GlaxoSmithKline that supposedly "stops gas before it starts." Once available only in droppers, Beano is now sold in tablet form.
May 18, 2009 | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon
A bee stung me and caused excruciating pain. My hand started inflating. A cut onion on the sting worked in 20 minutes to stop the swelling and ease the pain. We first heard about using a cut onion on a sting about 20 years ago. We checked with world-renowned onion chemist Dr. Eric Block of the State University of New York at Albany.
August 3, 2009 | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon
I have had severe constipation for years. I've been using cascara sagrada for a daily bowel movement. I read that this herb was banned in 2002 as the Food and Drug Administration wasn't sure it was safe. Is it safe or not? I have tried fiber, stool softeners, you name it. Cascara sagrada is the only thing that works for me. My doctor thinks I should take something different. Stimulant laxatives such as cascara sagrada can lead to dependence.
April 11, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
Michelle O'Malley knows good horse poop when she sees it. While at MIT, the chemical engineer scooped up some manure from Finn, a grass-fed horse at a sustainable farm in Concord, Mass. That offal has led to a potential breakthrough in turning grasses and nonfood crops into an alternative fuel in attempts to wean motorists from fossil fuels and stem man-made climate change. O'Malley, a chemical engineer at UC Santa Barbara, has isolated a fungus that could more easily unlock the sugars used to ferment ethanol.
July 13, 2012 | By David Lazarus
Never one to mince words, investment poobah Warren Buffett described the U.S. healthcare system as a tapeworm in the digestive tract of the economy. This apt but disgusting metaphor does a good job of illustrating how our maddeningly dysfunctional healthcare system puts American businesses as a disadvantage compared with their overseas cousins. "The healthcare problem is the No. 1 problem of America and of American business," Buffett said in an interview with Bloomberg Television . "It's the tapeworm, essentially, of the American economy, and we have not dealt with that yet. Obamacare is a step in the right direction in many ways.
June 7, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
Bits and pieces of "biological dirt" from inside people's colons are being left on three in 20 of the instruments inserted in people's rectums to examine their lower digestive tract, according to a study at five hospitals nationwide. "Three out of 20 is an unexpectedly high number of endoscopes failing a cleanliness criterion," said Marco Bommarito, an investigator with 3M's infection prevention division, which conducted the study. "Clearly, we'd like no endoscopes to fail a cleanliness rating.
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