Eggs may provoke bacteria to raise heart risk
NEW YORK: A group of researchers reported a link between the food people eat and bacteria in the intestines that can increase the risk of heart attacks. They said this happens with lecithin,which is abundant in egg yolks. The lecithin study,published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine,is part of a growing appreciation of the role the bodys bacteria play in health and disease. With heart disease,investigators have long focused on the role of diet and heart disease,but expanding the scrutiny to bacteria adds a new dimension. In the case of eggs,the chain of events starts when the body digests lecithin,breaking it into its constituent parts,including the chemical choline. Intestinal bacteria metabolise choline and release a substance that the liver converts to a chemical known as TMAO,for trimethylamine N-oxide. High levels of TMAO in the blood are linked to increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Study ties autism risk to creases in placenta
NEW YORK: After most pregnancies,the placenta is thrown out,having done its job of nourishing and supporting the developing baby. But a new study raises the possibility that analysing the placenta after birth may provide clues to a childs risk for developing autism. The study,which analysed placentas from 217 births,found that in families at high genetic risk for having an autistic child,placentas were significantly more likely to have abnormal folds and creases. Placentas from babies at risk for autism,clearly theres something quite different about them, said Dr Cheryl K Walker,an obstetrician-gynaecologist at the Mind Institute at the University of California,Davis,and a co-author of the study,published in the journal Biological Psychiatry. Experts said,however,that if researchers find that children with autism had more placental folds,called trophoblast inclusions,visible after birth,the condition could become an early indicator or biomarker for babies at high risk for the disorder.