News in brief: T1D pregnancy has pro-inflammatory microbiome; Fake data on vitamin D and falls; Australia wins bronze in global health services ranking

Thursday, 12 Aug 2021

Diabetes in pregnancy leads to pro-inflammatory microbiome

Women with type 1 diabetes show changes in the gut microbiome during pregnancy with a shift towards a more pro-inflammatory profile and evidence of intestinal inflammation, Australian research shows.

Using metagenome sequencing (WMS) to analyse the taxonomic composition of the gut bacterial microbiome in 70 pregnancies, researchers Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI) in Melbourne showed there was an increase in bacteria that produce lipopolysaccharides and a decrease in those that produce short-chain fatty acids, especially in the third trimester. Women with T1D also had elevated concentrations of fecal calprotectin, a marker of intestinal inflammation, and serum intestinal fatty acid-binding protein (I-FABP), a marker of intestinal epithelial damage. The change in bacterial specvise may also put them at risk of vitamin B deficiency, the researchers said

The changes in the gut microbiome during pregnancy could contribute to the increased risk of pregnancy complications in women with T1D and are potentially modifiable by dietary means, they concluded.

The findings are published in Microbiome.

Fake data leads to flawed thinking on vitamin D and falls

The debate on whether vitamin D is good for muscle strength has been skewed by fake data, even long after it has been retracted according to an editorial in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

Professor Roger Bouillon of the Laboratory of Clinical and Experimental Endocrinology, Leuven, Belgium, writes that a new systematic review of high-quality placebo-controlled studies shows that vitamin D supplementation has no effects on muscle strength or mass and may even increase risk of falls.

The new review was done after a few (“positive”) studies were withdrawn due to fabrication of data, but the perception remained that vitamin D supplementation may be generally beneficial for muscle and bone health, he said

“The wisest decision is probably to correct or prevent vitamin D deficiency while avoiding intermittent boluses or daily doses higher than the upper limit recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) or the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) (4000 IU/day) because such doses may also have a negative effect on bone density,” he suggested.

Australia wins bronze in global health services ranking

The COVID-19 ravaged UK’s National Health Service has slipped from first place to fourth in a ranking of global health services in 11 high-income countries allowing Australia to step onto the podium in third place overall.

US think tank the Commonwealth Fund’s assessment of healthcare system performance looked at 71 measures across five areas – access to care, care process, administrative efficiency, equity, and healthcare outcomes.

It found the top-performing countries overall to be Norway, the Netherlands, and Australia, followed by the UK.

Australia was first in the domains of equity and health care outcomes, second in administrative efficiency but performed less well in care process and access to care.

The UK’s drop in rankings has been attributed to the impact of the pandemic on the overall health service.

The United States ranked last overall and in all but one domain, despite spending far more of its gross domestic product on health care than other countries.

New Zealand topped the domain of care process which measures activities such as preventive care, safe care, coordinated care, and engagement and patient preferences.



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