Science Shorts: Check out the latest research on omega-3, food allergies, probiotics, and weight management

By Cheryl Tay

- Last updated on GMT

Science Shorts: Check out the latest research on omega-3, food allergies, probiotics, and weight management
Read about the latest omega-3 tech for expectant mothers and their offspring, what triggers FPIES, probiotics' gut and mental health benefits, and why breakfast may not affect weight management.

New nano-encapsulation technology boosts maternal and foetal DHA benefits: HK research

Researchers in Hong Kong have developed a new omega-3 nano-encapsulation technology​, which they say protects DHA from oxidation and enhances maternal and foetal absorption and efficacy.

A team of academics at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, led by Dr Wang Yi and Professor Wong Man-sau, used Zein, an edible corn protein, as the encapsulation material to mimic milk fat globule membrane (MFGM).

The nano-encapsulation forms a core-shell structure to protect DHA in fish oil throughout gastric digestion, and facilitate DHA absorption in the brain, intestine and placenta.

Poorly understood allergy: Academics highlight FPIES triggers, including rice and milk

Australian academics have drawn attention to a 'poorly understood' food allergy — Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome​ (FPIES), which is often misdiagnosed in infants as sepsis or gastroenteritis.

The most common food triggers for FPIES are rice, cow's milk, egg, oats and chicken.

FPIES typically presents between one and four hours after ingestion of the trigger food, with symptoms including profuse vomiting, pallor and lethargy. Other features can include hypotension, hypothermia, diarrhoea, neutrophilia and thrombocytosis.

Probiotics post-natural disasters: Proprietary Morinaga product aids mental health of flood victims

Morinaga Milk has announced study results showing that its proprietary probiotic, Morinaga Bifidobacterium infantis​ M-63, has beneficial effects on the mental health of flood victim​s.

The study, conducted in collaboration with University Sains Malaysia (USM) between September and December 2015 and published in the journal Beneficial Microbes​, focused on 53 victims of the December 2014 flood in Malaysia.

At the time, the flood was considered one of the country's worst in decades. The resulting lack of environmental hygiene led to exposure to elevated levels of pathogenic bacteria, which are known to cause a variety of physical complications, including digestive illness. This exposure can also cause psychological problems.

Probiotics and pathogenesis: How certain probiotic strains may benefit IBD patients

Certain probiotics may have a pathogenesis-specific effect​ on inflammatory reactions in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients, according to a Chinese study.

While evidence from clinical trials and animal studies has been mounting as to probiotics' beneficial effects on IBD patients, the exact pathogenesis of IBD is still unknown.

Researchers at Beijing's Capital Medical University searched multiple databases for relevant studies that drew comparisons between probiotics and control groups, selecting 10 studies involving 1,049 patients for assessment.

Why breakfast may not be best in the battle to lose weight — Australian review

There is little evidence to support the idea that eating breakfast promotes weight loss or that skipping breakfast leads to weight gain, according to a review from Australia​ published in The BMJ​.

In fact, the findings showed that daily calorie intake was higher in people eating breakfast, and skipping breakfast did not cause greater appetite later in the day.

The researchers stressed that the quality of the studies was low, so the findings should be interpreted with caution, but said their review questioned the popular recommendation that eating breakfast could help with weight control.

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