Assorted Links

  • Probiotics reduce/prevent diarrhea caused by antibiotics. News article. The abstract says “The pooled evidence suggests that probiotics are associated with a reduction in AAD [antibiotic associated diarrhea].” It should say that the evidence suggests — very strongly, in fact — that probiotics cause a reduction in AAD (because there is no plausible alternative explanation of the association). This mistake is so elementary it is like saying 2 + 2 = 3. And JAMA is one of the world’s most prestigious medical journals.
  • Living without money. The author was much healthier than when he lived with money. Among the many possible explanations is that dumpster food, old enough to allow microbes to grow on it, is healthier than fresher and therefore more sterile food.
  • Not just farms. Children who grow up on farms have fewer allergies and less asthma than children who grow up in cities — important support for a modified version of the hygiene hypothesis (and my umami hypothesis). This study finds that living near other sorts of biodiversity provides similar benefits.

Thanks to Brody, Jazi Zilber and Mark Griffith.

3 Responses to “Assorted Links”

  1. Tim Beneke Says:

    A naive question: I understand that consuming a lot of dairy is associated with constipation. Mostly, there was a reliance on lactobacillus in the studies that were covered here. What is the connection between the constipation associated with dairy, the reduced diarrhea, and the lactobacillus — if any?

    Seth: Lactobacillus reduce diarrhea because they push out the bad diarrhea-causing bacteria. I suppose they do a better job digesting your food. I don’t know why diary causes constipation.

  2. Alex Chernavsky Says:

    With regard to living without money — see also this excellent essay by Lars Eighner, a writer who spent several years being homeless:

    On Dumpster Diving

  3. Jenny Says:

    Probiotics also prevent diarrhea in coeliacs, caused by gluten. I, a coeliac, always take probiotics, my daughter – also coeliac – usually forgets to. We have, on occasion been ‘glutenated’ at the same events, and I always react ‘better’, ie am less affected than her.
    The gluten doesn’t just cause food poisoning symptoms – more seriously it causes brain fog or concentration problems. The probiotics protect me from the brain fog too.
    (I use lactobaccilus and saccharomyces boullardii.)
    I believe other coeliacs find this too.