Linking individuals health using artificial Intelligence to advance brain health
As we welcome the warmer weather, it's time to get out (with limitations I know), but at least it is something. A huge thank you to all those who sent me lovely private messages of sympathy.
In this week's newsletter: The latest research, Nuritas partners with Sumitomo, Onegevity collaborates to explore brain health, Eufic launches interactive Fruit & veg map and new book launch on AI and the future.
A toolbox for the comprehensive analysis of small volume human intestinal samples that can be used with gastrointestinal sampling capsules
Detailed knowledge on the fate of dietary components inside the human intestinal tract is lacking. Access to this inner world of digestion is now possible through novel human gastrointestinal sampling capsules. Due to the novelty of such devices, no methodology has been published to stabilise and analyse the resulting samples. A complicating factor is that excretion of such capsules in faeces may take days, while degradation of the dietary components continues. Therefore a stabilising reagent should be pre-loaded in the capsule to ensure the measurement of a representative sample. Considering the small volume of recovered samples, analytical methods must be optimized to collect as much data as possible from little material. We present a complete workflow for stabilising and analysing the fermentation status of dietary fibres in such samples, including microbiota, fibre degradation, and short chain fatty acids. The final quenching reagent was designed based on safety and effectiveness to inhibit fructo- and galacto-oligosaccharides degradation and short chain fatty acids production by human ileostomy microbiota, and subsequently validated in faecal samples. The final composition of the stock quenching reagent is 175 mM Tris, 525 mM NaCl, 35 mM EDTA, 12% SDS, and 8 M urea at pH 8.5.
Gut mycobiota alterations in patients with COVID-19 and H1N1 infections and their associations with clinical features
[The article] compared the gut mycobiota of 67 COVID-19 patients, 35 H1N1-infected patients, and 48 healthy controls (HCs) using internal transcribed spacer (ITS) 3-ITS4 sequencing and analysed their associations with clinical features and the bacterial microbiota. Compared to HCs, the fungal burden was higher. Fungal mycobiota dysbiosis in both COVID-19 and H1N1-infected patients was mainly characterized by the depletion of fungi such as Aspergillus and Penicillium, but several fungi, including Candida glabrata, were enriched in H1N1-infected patients. The gut mycobiota profiles in COVID-19 patients with mild and severe symptoms were similar. Hospitalization had no apparent additional effects. In COVID-19 patients, Mucoromycota was positively correlated with Fusicatenibacter, Aspergillus niger was positively correlated with diarrhea, and Penicillium citrinum was negatively correlated with C-reactive protein (CRP). In H1N1-infected patients, Aspergillus penicilloides was positively correlated with Lachnospiraceae members, Aspergillus was positively correlated with CRP, and Mucoromycota was negatively correlated with procalcitonin. Therefore, gut mycobiota dysbiosis occurs in both COVID-19 patients and H1N1-infected patients and does not improve until the patients are discharged and no longer require medical attention.
A mounting body of evidence indicates that dietary fiber metabolites produced by commensal bacteria play essential roles in balancing the immune system. Dietary fiber, which was considered nonessential nutrients in the past, is now considered to be necessary to maintain adequate levels of immunity and suppress inflammatory and allergic responses. Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), such as acetate, propionate, and butyrate, are the major dietary fiber metabolites and mostly produced by specialized commensal bacteria that are capable of breaking down dietary fiber into simpler saccharides and further metabolizing the saccharides into SCFAs. SCFAs act on many cell types to regulate a number of important biological processes, including host metabolism, intestinal functions, and immunity system. This review specifically highlights the regulatory functions of dietary fiber and SCFAs in the immune system with a focus on major innate and adaptive lymphocytes. Current information regarding how SCFAs regulate innate lymphoid cells, T helper cells, cytotoxic T cells, and B cells and how these functions impact immunity, inflammation, and allergic responses are discussed.
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[The article reviews] the utilization of telemedicine visits (video or telephone) across the type 1 diabetes Exchange Quality Improvement Collaborative (T1DX-QI) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The data derives from thirteen clinics (11 pediatric, 2 adult) that provided monthly telemedicine metrics between December 2019-August 2020. The 21 clinics completed a survey about their telemedicine practices. The proportion of telemedicine visits in T1DX-QI before the pandemic was less than 1%, rising to an average of 95.2% in April 2020. The majority of clinics (62%) performed both video and telephone visits; Zoom was the most popular video platform used. Over 95% of clinics reported using CareLink, Clarity, Glooko, and/or t:connect to view device data. Only one center reporting automated data upload into an electronic medical record. The majority of centers had multidisciplinary teams participating in the video visits. There was a rapid adoption of telemedicine in T1DX-QI during the COVID-19 pandemic. Future insurance reimbursement for telemedicine visits and the ideal ratio of telemedicine to in-person visits in T1D care remains to be determined.
Nuritas and Sumitomo collaborate to feed global populations, increase sustainability and use digital platforms to improve agricultural businesses. Nutritas is a biotechnology company that developed a digital platform that uses DNA analysis to gather information on plant-based peptides. Sumitomo is a trading company that will implement field testing to ensure the accuracy of new discoveries and incorporates them into their products. Nuritas’ platform can predict the chemical and physical characteristics of peptides which serves Sumitomo’s support in food production systems by discovering the active peptides in foods to incorporate into foods, dietary supplements, and plant-based industries. Nuritas’ platform is considered to be the first in using AI to discover peptides which allows finding food-derived peptides to be quicker, more effective, and safer.
Hazel Technologies has received a total of $87 million in fundings to reduce food waste by creating a sachet to be placed in bulk products of produce to allow emission of 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) gas to inhibit ethylene, a gas that plants produce to age. “ Due to different crops have different respiration rates and production levels of ethylene, there are different sachets for different produce. Currently, Hazel has sachets for 14 different produce, including avocados, mangos, plums, pears, and cantaloupe. In December of 2020, the company announced Hazel Root, designed to slow the growth of sprouts in potatoes and other root vegetables.” The company aims to use its developments on over 6.3 billion pounds of produce to prevent food waste of more than 500 million pounds of foods. “In 2019, 35% of food in the United States went unsold or uneaten, [there are] national and international goals aim to cut food waste in half by 2030.
"Onegevity (a division of Thorne HealthTech), a health intelligence company with a proprietary, multi-omic platform that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to map, integrate, and understand the billions of dynamic and biological features that showcase the state of an individual's health, and EmbodyBio, a startup company at the forefront of 'digital twin' technology, today announced a new collaboration aimed at creating next-generation capabilities to advance brain health."
Virtual restaurant company C3 and online order platform Lunchbox collaborate to launch a new restaurant app called CITIZENS GO. The app will provide ordering and delivery services for C3’s growing network of over 200 ghost kitchens [with the use of Lunchbox’s platform to allow] restaurants to process and fulfill off-premises orders without the need for third-party delivery services. A notable feature of the app is its ability to bundle orders from multiple different restaurant brands into a single transaction for the user. CITIZENS GO will be available in Los Angeles, Northern California, New York City, and Chicago [with plans to expand to] Miami, Austin, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, and Atlanta.
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Food & Consumer Trends
[The European Food Information Council (EUFIC) launches a fruit and vegetable interactive map that] combines data from established national sources and features over 200 seasonal fruits and vegetables, covers 24 countries, and includes the six European climate regions. Users can filter per country, season, and month, identifying sustainable food options. The EUFIC map aims to raise awareness of the nutrition and health benefits of fruits and vegetable consumption while helping to reduce food waste. Eating seasonal and local fruit and vegetables is fresher and more nutritious considering that most of the vitamins and minerals contained in fruits and vegetables are normally lost within 24 hours after being picked. Moreover, studies revealed that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are reduced [due to a shorter supply chain and less energy needed to produce the foods.]
In 2020, 43% of consumers said they snacked to cope with boredom or frustration — up 7 points from a 2016 survey. And 55% said they snacked for comfort, a 9-point increase in that same timeframe.
Studies show an increasing trend for snacking, yet the reasons consumers decide to eat or drink have changed over the pandemic. As the number of times, consumers snack each day maintains the same, the volume of snacks has increased. “35% of consumers said they were snacking more often, and 20% have changed how they snack from the previous year. A need for food that supports sustenance, wellness, and health has triggered more than half of snacking occasions [while] distraction is a reason for 40% of snacking occasions. For Generation X, emotional comfort and nourishment is a driven factor to snack while baby boomers are sticking to relying on three meals a day with emotion not being a top factor to snack.
In the era where consumers are focusing more on health and wellness, it comes as no surprise that Gen Z shows a preference for healthy foods such as organic and additive-free natural foods. However, surveys report that only 3% of teenagers list fruits, vegetables, or nuts as a favorite snack item. This generation is known to be snack-focused rather than relying on larger sit-down meals to keep them satiated. Despite that this generation is also seen to take more time to make a decision on eating, they still stick to big brands with the top six brands being Lay's, Doritos, and Cheetos from PepsiCo's Frito-Lay division; Campbell Soup's Goldfish; Kellogg's Cheez-It; and Mondelez's Oreo. “Lay’s remain to be on the top of the list since fall 2019 and PepsiCo earned the highest share of snack mentions among teens in both the fall and spring surveys.” Other brands including General Mills' Nature Valley, McKee Foods' Little Debbie, and Welch's are slowly making their way to the top of the snack list. Despite the top brands taking over the snack industry, Gen Z is keen to search for healthier foods while discovering and cherishing unique flavors. Plant-based foods, personalization, and ethnic foods are among the top trends. Furthermore, social media has become a popular marketing platform for teenagers considering Gen Z spends an average of 12 hours a week on social media.
Artificial Intelligence for a Better Future – open access book launch 28th April 2021
How can the economic and social benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) be strengthened while its ethical and human rights risks are addressed? This is a question that drives the current policy debate, that exercises researchers and companies and that interests citizens and the media. It is the question that the upcoming book by Bernd Carsten Stahl provides a novel answer to.
The book (downloadable using this link) is published using an open access model. I have my copy
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