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BACTERIA AND OBESITY


to a US study which investigated the effect of gut microbiome on obesity versus influences such as genes and diet. Four sets of identical female twins were recruited for the


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study, with one twin being lean and the other obese. Using stool samples, researchers collected bacteria, viruses and protozoans present in each participant’s gut. These were then placed into a large group of mice. The study found the mix of living organisms inside the


mice’s digestive tracts began to resemble the mixes inside their human donors. The mice went on to develop similar characteristics to the women whose gut microbiomes they had received, with mice that adopted microbiomes from obese women developing obesity and those receiving lean transplants remaining lean. The intestinal flora of the lean mice also worked better at


breaking down and fermenting dietary sugars than the flora of the obese mice, while non-digestible starches passed through the digestive system at a quicker rate in the lean specimens, leading to thinner mice. With the effects of genes and diet removed from the


equation, the experiment helps to highlight the specific ways the gut’s organisms influence weight gain. ■ Dr Jeffrey I Gordon et al. Science (2013)


EXERCISE OR MEDICATION? E Could bacteria present in the gut infl uence obesity levels? www.sportshandbook.com


xercise could be as beneficial as pills for people who have suffered a stroke or experience heart conditions, according to a new meta-study.


Scientists studied hundreds of trials, involving nearly


340,000 patients, to investigate the benefits of both exercise and drugs in preventing death, exploring the management of conditions such as existing heart disease, stroke rehab, heart failure and pre-diabetes. Physical exertion and activity were found to rival the


performance of some heart-related drugs, and outperformed medication for strokes: exercise was the best form of help for strokes in terms of life expectancy, while medication known as diuretics worked best for heart failure patients. Though acknowledging there’s currently insufficient


evidence to recommend exercise over medication, the scientists believe their findings warrant further exploration, and suggest exercise should be added to GP prescriptions with exercise and medication used together for the best results. ■ Huseyin Naci et al. British Medical Journal (2013)


Sports Management Handbook 2014-2015 71


acteria in the human gut could play a vital role in determining who is obese and who is lean, leading to the possibility of new treatments to fight obesity, according


Exercise outperformed medication for strokes


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