Science shorts: Muscle strength, COVID-19, eczema in the spotlight

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

This round-up will feature new findings on COVID-19, the use of probiotics in reducing eczema risk, and more. ©Getty Images
This round-up will feature new findings on COVID-19, the use of probiotics in reducing eczema risk, and more. ©Getty Images

Related tags science Research COVID-19

This round-up of new scientific developments will feature an upcoming clinical trial in New Zealand on deer milk's benefits for muscle strength in seniors, Philippines' latest findings on virgin coconut oil and COVID-19, and more.
Deer goodness: NZ firm studies deer milk potential for increasing muscle strength in older adults

New Zealand firm Pāmu (also known as Landcorp Farming Ltd) is embarking on a clinical trial to study the potential of Pāmu deer milk in improving muscle strength and nutritional status​ in adults age 65 and above.

Pāmu is the Māori word for ‘to farm’. The company has core businesses in farming and forestry, producing products such as lamb, beef, sheep's and cow's milk.

At the moment, it has not commercialised deer milk products for nutritional purpose, although it supplies to restaurants for dessert making and has also developed its own line of skincare products, such as face masks, moisturisers, and serum from deer milk.

Ratio matters: CBD and THC ratio plays key role improving quality of life in brain cancer patients – BioCeuticals-funded trial

The ratio of cannabidiol (CBD) to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in medicinal cannabis has shown to play a crucial role in improving the physical and functional wellbeing of brain cancer patients, according to newly published findings in a trial funded by BioCeuticals, the practitioner-only arm of Blackmores.

The 12-week double-blind RCT​ was conducted on 88 patients suffering from high-grade glioma – an aggressive brain cancer with a survival rate of six to 18 months. 

Results from MRI scan of 53 participants also showed that 11 per cent of them reported a reduction in disease, 34 per cent were in stable conditions, 16 per cent had slight enhancement, and 10 per cent reported worsening of their condition.

Philippines COVID-19 trial: Virgin coconut oil effective in reducing inflammation in suspected and probable infection cases

Virgin coconut oil has been found to be effective in reducing inflammation and showed rapid symptom relief in suspected and probable COVID-19 subjects, according to an RCT from the Philippines.

This study was conducted by researchers at Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Ateneo de Manila University, who recruited 56 individuals from two isolation facilities in the country, Santa Rosa Community Hospital Isolation Unit and Santa Rosa Community Isolation Facility.

Participants were divided into two groups, intervention and control. The invention group was given virgin coconut oil, which saw their C-Reactive Protein (CRP) levels significantly decrease after 28 days​, compared to the control group.

‘Important implications’ for COVID-19 vaccines: Review shows gut microbiota affects various vaccine efficacy

The gut microbiota, which is impacted by diet, the intake of antibiotics and probiotics, has shown to affect the efficacy of various types of vaccines,​ and this could have important implications for the ongoing COVID-19 global vaccination drive, said a new review.

This could be because the gut microbiota plays an important role in modulating B cell and T cell responses; both of which are important in producing immune responses.

With infants as an example, it was found that an abundance of Bifidobacterium ​in their faecal microbiota is significantly associated with CD4+​ T cell responses and antibody responses to non-orally administered vaccines

Probiotics and infant eczema: Maternal supplementation of Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium appears beneficial – meta-analysis

The supplementation of both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium during pregnancy could reduce the risk of eczema developing in infants, results from a meta-analysis have shown.

On the other hand, simply providing the probiotic supplementation to the infants after they are born showed no significant effect.

Writing in Nutrients, ​researchers from Central South University, China, conducted a meta-analysis on nine studies which studied the prevalence of eczema in 2,093 infants.

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