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Gut Flora Roundup

June 10, 2011

Bacteria found in yogurt could help fight disease.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Beneficial bacteria. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

A protein derived from bacteria that live in the intestine could help fight Inflammatory Bowel Disease, or IBD. Scientists report in the Journal of Clinical Investigation that a protein called p40, produced by a kind of bacteria called Lactobacillus rhamnosus, commonly found in yoghurt, prevented the effects of the disease in mice. The researchers plan further study of the compound, as well as another produced by the microbe. They say eating yoghurt doesn’t necessarily provide enough of the compound to be effective.

In other gut bacteria news, Swedish scientists report in the British Journal of Nutrition that rats with well-established colonies of Lactobacillus planarum in their intestines had lower levels of obesity and tissue inflammation than did rats without the bacteria. Their diets were identical. The researchers have found in other studies that diverse populations of intestinal bacteria reduce inflammation and allergies in humans. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.