Happy Love Is Blind day! The fourth season of the Netflix show has just dropped, and fans are already placing their bets on which couples will make it to the end of the show. Trying to find the love of your life without seeing their face first may seem odd at first, but it’s heartwarming to see the cast make real connections and fall in love in their pods.

Of course, some of those connections can sometimes lead to the singles feeling sparks with more than one person, and season four has one of the most intense love triangles ever seen on the show. Kwame, a 33-year-old sales development manager, and Micah, a 27-year-old marketing manager quickly fell for each other, with Kwame even revealing he wanted to stop the experiment early and propose to Micah.

However, things came to a sudden end when Micah broke things off with Kwame in favor of moving forward with Paul. Although heartbroken, Kwame decided to focus on Chelsea, the other single he had a strong connection with. He proposed to Chelsea and she accepted, and the two enjoyed seeing each other face-to-face for the first time. Now, the two are in Mexico with the rest of the couples, and fans are wondering what’s happened with their relationship since then.

Are Kwame and Chelsea from Love Is Blind still together?

Initially, things were going well during Kwame and Chelsea’s vacation in Mexico, and Chelsea revealed that they were the first couple to become physically intimate. However, when all of the couples met for the first time, Kwame was drawn to his former flame Micah, and their conversation seemed a little too flirty for comfort.

Things got weird once Kwame, Brett, Micah, and Irina got together to take shots, with Micah declaring that they were cheering to “a failed proposal!” Kwame took offense to the comment, but after a slightly tense conversation between the two, they came to a resolution, although all of the other couples took note of how long the duo spent talking to each other.

Kwame and Chelsea later had a conversation about how long he spent chatting with Micah, with the 33-year-old pediatric speech language pathologist expressing her displeasure at how close they seemed. Kwame assured her that he was done with Micah in a romantic sense, and after Chelsea and Micah had their own conversation the next day, everything seemed back on track.

The couples are now heading back to Seattle to move in together, so we’ll just have to stay tuned to see what happens with Kwame and Chelsea.

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Temi Adebowale

Temi Adebowale was previously an Editorial Assistant at Men’s Health, covering shows like Survivor, Peaky Blinders, and Tiger King. Prior to her entertainment work at MH, she was Newsroom Fellow, writing news stories across Hearst Digital Media’s brands. Temi likes Rihanna, the StairMaster, and tacos.

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Yellowjackets is back, and if you’ve been waiting over a year for its return, it’s time to rejoice. But, if you are one of the people distraught over the death of Ella Purnell’s Jackie Taylor at the end of Season 1, the start of Season 2 may feel a bit hollow since it’s safe to assume she won’t be returning. Or is it?

In Season 1, Jackie wasn’t the most pleasant person to be around following a plane crash that stranded a bunch of frightened teenage girls. She didn’t want to leave the campsite to go to a lake to have their first taste of fresh water in days. She didn’t contribute much to the girls’ chores to ensure their survival. And she had sex with teenage Travis (Kevin Alves) even though she knew he and Natalie (Sophie Thatcher) had feelings for each other. But she wasn’t all bad.

l r courtney eaton as teen lottie and ella purnell as teen jackie in yellowjackets, f sharp photo credit kailey schwermanshowtime

Kailey Schwerman//Paramount

She heroically pushed teenage Vanessa (Liv Hewson) out of the way when Laura Lee’s (Jane Widdop) attempt at operating an airplane they find goes haywire, and it barrels towards the girls. She suggests the girls have an innocent seance to lift the morale. And she helped save Travis from having his throat sliced by Shauna while she and most of the group were in a drugged trance. Still, that didn’t save her from her broken friendship and, honestly, her ego, which led to her sleeping outside the cabin after a fight with Shauna. Winter came, hypothermia hit her, and that was the last of Jackie.

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Well, that may not be totally true for Season 2.

Is Jackie in Yellowjackets Season 2?

For all of the Jackie loyalists out there, you’re in luck because the show is not done with your queen. Yellowjackets has always operated at the nexus of the supernatural and psychological dysfunction, including Lottie smashing her head against a window during a seance. Not too long into the Season 2 premiere, we find that Purnell has reprised her role as the fan-favorite character when we see her and her former BFF joking around in the wooden shack her former soccer teammates are using to store the bear meat they’ve been rationing off for meals. She hasn’t returned as a ghost haunting the cabin and enacting otherworldly vengeance upon the girls who exiled her from the cabin, leading to her untimely death. Instead, she’s back in Season 2 as a figment of Shauna’s imagination.

ella purnell as teen jackie in yellowjackets, the dollhouse photo credit colin bentleyshowtime

Colin Bentley//Paramount

Let’s rephrase that: Jackie reappears in Season 2 as a hallucinatory manifestation of Shauna’s guilt over her death. Jackie still has the same snark, ebullience, and humor that endeared her to you all, as she jokingly plays the MASH game every ’90s kid played to determine their future. Unfortunately, as heartwarming as this reunion was, the Season 2 premiere plunges us back into darkness when we see Shauna has actually been having girl talk with Jackie’s corpse. Instead of giving Jackie the burial fit for her, she instead dressed her up in her Yellowjackets varsity jacket, propped her up in the shack, and have been entertaining delusions to protect her heart (and sanity) from the cold hard truth.

Jackie being a product of Shauna’s subconscious means she embodies all of the qualities of Jackie that Shauna remembers, and they’re not all to her liking. The same Jackie who berated Shauna for sleeping with her boyfriend Jeff behind her back and being a cliche jealous sidekick in the Season 1 finale is also back. This time, Shauna imagines Jackie pushing for more details on how she and Jeff’s sneaky affair started before Shauna can’t take any more of her inquisition and pushes her. Unfortunately, the only Jackie she has to push is a decomposing shell of herself whose right ear breaks off when the corpse hits the ground.

ella purnell as teen jackie in yellowjackets, “sic transit gloria mundi” photo credit kailey schwermanshowtime

Kailey Schwerman//Paramount

Co-creators Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson said in a recent interview they had the idea of Shauna talking to Jackie’s frozen corpse as early as during the making of the pilot episode. What happened next is what diehard Yellowjackets fans have been waiting for since the show began. Near the end of the episode, Shauna retrieves the dislodged right ear she kept in her pocket, stares at it, and then sinks her teeth into it. Yes, Jackie is back in Season 2, and it looks like she’s Shauna’s imaginary friend and dessert.

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Keith Nelson

Keith Nelson is a writer by fate and journalist by passion, who has connected dots to form the bigger picture for Men’s Health, Vibe Magazine, LEVEL MAG, REVOLT TV, Complex,, Red Bull, Okayplayer, and Mic, to name a few.  

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A good backpack is hard to find but often worth every penny. They’re an easy, hands-free way to navigate your morning commute and more convenient than lugging a suitcase around. Whether you’re a college student, working professional or avid jet-setter, we’ve got the bag for you. Bellroy’s Classic Backpack—available in a compact 16-liter or plus-size 24-liter capacity — is the versatile solution to your everyday carrying needs. And you’re in luck because right now both sizes of the bag are 21 percent off in the color Ranger Green.

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Made from water-resistant recycled nylon, don’t be fooled by the Classic Backpack’s minimalist design. Inside the bag, you’ll find a bevy of storage options from a padded laptop sleeve to a front pocket with a built-in key clip. Plus, padded back panels will give you some extra back support when you need it during longer days of carrying.

And if you’re not in the market for a backpack but could use a crossbody bag, wallet or phone case, Bellroy’s outlet section is well-stocked with lots of discounted options.

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Grace Cooper

Grace Cooper is a Commerce Writer at Gear Patrol, covering deals on everything from home to hiking. An East Coast native, she currently lives in Missouri and loves exploring new restaurants and attractions in the midwest 

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A GOOD electric mower is quiet, efficient, and doesn’t require much maintenance, yet rivals the cut quality and performance of a gas-powered model. (And one can make maintaining your lawn less of an arduous task.) The Ego Power+ 56-Volt Cordless Lawn Mower is all those things, and you can get it for 23 percent off on Amazon, taking the price down to $387 from $500.

This Ego offers 56 volts of power, a deck width of 21 inches, and six different height adjustments—between 1.5 and 4 inches—giving you precise control over your grass’s length. And the 5.0-amp-hour battery in this kit offers a (claimed) 45 minutes of continuous run time on a single charge, making it suitable for mid to large yards, especially if you’ve already bought into Ego’s system and have a spare charged and ready to plug in when the first battery dies. You also get a rapid charger that can top up the battery in 50 minutes, so you can return to mowing your lawn after a break if you’ve only got the one.

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The mower also lets you bag the clippings, discharge them out of a side chute, or mulch them to help maintain your yard’s soil temperature and moisture during summer. Other features include a convenient push-button start and LED headlights to tackle yard work in the early morning. The handle also folds for easy storage during the colder months.

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The Ego Power+ electric mower will not only help you tame your lawn, but it will do so without the exhaust and noise of a gas-powered alternative. So your neighbors may thank you. Take advantage of this deal to keep your lawn beautiful and get back to what matters: taking it easy in your above-ground pool.

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Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell is a freelance writer covering gear and technology. He started his journey as a news writer at a small newspaper and later began reviewing smartphones, movies, and video games. In his free time, he enjoys the slower, more intentional experience of using a 35mm film camera and making short videos about movies he grew up watching.

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Pedro Pascal is riding high on the phenomenal success of The Last of Us—which also happened to be exactly how he first found out he had been cast in the hugely popular post-apocalyptic drama series.

In a recent interview on The Graham Norton Show, Pascal recalled how he got so excited while trying to convince the showrunners in that he should get the part of Joel that he decided to take a little something to help himself sleep… only to then get the call telling him he’d won the role.

“It was late, and I took an Ambien,” he said. “At that point I was kind of hyped up… I was excited about the prospect. They called me to tell me I had gotten the job, but I had already taken the tablet. I really didn’t think, I thought I would at least have to wait until the next day.”

He went on to joke that he was so spaced out during the conversation that he even forgot the good news. “And then a couple of minutes on the call went by apparently, and I was like ‘What’s up? Did I get the job?'” He laughed. “I forgot that completely, woke up in the morning, and was all like ‘Oh my god, did I get the job, I’m going to have to wait all day.’

Pascal can be currently seen in Season 3 of The Mandalorian, in which he plays the titular bounty hunter alongside one of the cutest puppets to ever grace the small screen.

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Philip Ellis

Philip Ellis is a freelance writer and journalist from the United Kingdom covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV.

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The most common anxiety medications, explained

Endless worry, irritability and insomnia are all symptoms of a possible anxiety disorder.

Luckily, there are numerous medications that can help ease the condition.

Joy Alonzo, a specialist in the pharmacotherapy of mental disorders at Texas A&M’s College of Pharmacy, said recently, “If you understand the different types of medication, then you can become a better advocate for your anxiety treatment. Anxiety is one of the most under-treated mental illnesses, and we need to talk more about it.”

So, what medications can bring relief from crippling anxiety?

According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA), the most common classes of drugs for the treatment of anxiety include:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Tricyclic antidepressants

Here is a rundown on medications for anxiety.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

SSRIs work by preventing the body from reabsorbing serotonin, which leaves more available for use. The ADAA describes serotonin as a neurotransmitter that plays a role in feelings of well-being and happiness.

SSRIs are considered the first-line treatment for all types of anxiety disorders. A higher dose may be required when treating obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Common side effects:

  • Insomnia
  • Sleepiness
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Weight gain
  • Dry mouth

Common SSRIs:

  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil, Paxil CR, Pexeva, Brisdelle)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)

What else you should know about SSRIs:

  • SSRIs may make it easier to engage in psychotherapy and other wellness activities
  • They may help improve other symptoms of anxiety, including headaches and sleep disturbances
  • Initial side effects typically disappear after four to eight weeks
  • SSRIs are safe for long-term use
  • Check with your provider before stopping their use or changing your dose

Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)

This class of medication is also a first-line treatment for anxiety disorders, except for OCD. It works by inhibiting the brain cells’ reabsorption of both serotonin and norepinephrine. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that helps with a sense of well-being. According to, norepinephrine is considered important for its role in the body’s stress response.

Common side effects: states that SNRIs may have more side effects because they affect serotonin and norepinephrine. These side effects may include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Insomnia
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Loss of appetite
  • Agitation

Common SNRIs:

  • Venlafaxine (Effexor)
  • Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq)
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta)

What else you should know about SNRIs reports that these medications promote neuroplasticity in the brain. This may make your brain more flexible. There is evidence that these medications work best in combination with psychotherapy.

But there is one important caveat.

“SSRIs and SNRIs are not an instant fix for symptoms associated with an anxiety disorder, nor do they even provide immediate relief,” Alonzo said. “They work by interacting with the neurotransmitters and receptors in your brain, which can help regulate mood, sleep and energy levels. It is important for patients to understand that these medications may take four to six weeks for full effect.”


Benzodiazepines are considered a second-line therapy for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. According to the ADAA, they work by strengthening the GABA neurotransmitter. This neurotransmitter plays a primary role in feeling calm, muscle relaxation, reduction in brain activity and sleep.

Most common side effects:

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Depression
  • Impaired coordination
  • Vision problems

Common benzodiazepines:

  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Diazepam (Valium)

What else you should know about benzodiazepines for the treatment of anxiety:

  • They act quickly, but do not stay in the system for long
  • They are not safe for continuous use, and can be addictive
  • May be initiated with a first-line treatment, and then tapered off
  • Do not operate heavy equipment while taking
  • Do not mix with alcohol
  • Not recommended for people with suicidal or addictive tendencies

Tricyclic antidepressants

According to the Mayo Clinic, tricyclic antidepressants are among the earliest antidepressants. They are often recommended when newer drugs have not been effective. They are not typically used for social anxiety disorder or OCD. They also work by blocking the reabsorption of serotonin and norepinephrine, but their mechanism of action is different and they typically cause more side effects than newer treatments.

Common tricyclic antidepressants:

  • Imipramine (Tofranil)
  • Nortriptyline (Pamelor)
  • Desipramine (Norpramin)
  • Clomipramine (Anafranil)

Common side effects:

  • Drowsiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Drop in when going from sitting to standing
  • Urine retention
  • Weight loss/weight gain
  • Excessive sweating
  • Tremor
  • Sexual dysfunction

What else you should know about tricyclic antidepressants:

  • You should not stop taking these medications abruptly
  • You may need to have blood work done to determine the correct dose
  • Disorientation can occur in older people at higher doses
  • May cause a rapid or irregular heart rate
  • Can increase seizure activity if prone to seizures

When to seek treatment for anxiety

The National Institute of Mental Health lists these as common symptoms of anxiety:

  • Feeling restless, wound up or on edge
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Being irritable
  • Having headaches, muscle aches, stomach aches or unexplained pains
  • Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
  • Having sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep

The ADAA recommends seeking medication for anxiety when you are having , are unable to do what you want because of how you feel or are unable to make life choices because of fear. It is never too early to start treatment.

Anxiety treatment can be more effective when used with therapy. It is essential to keep all your appointments with your provider. Do not stop your medication or change the dose without discussing it with your provider. If the side effects affect your daily activities, inform your provider immediately.

If, at any time, you feel as though you may be suicidal, reach out to your provider or go to the nearest emergency room. You can also call or text the national suicide prevention hotline at 988.

Copyright © 2023 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

The most common anxiety medications, explained (2023, March 25)
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Women surgeons remain underrepresented in surgeon-scientists

Despite earlier success in receiving National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, women surgeons are underrepresented among surgeon-scientists, according to a study published online March 20 in JAMA Network Open.

Mytien Nguyen, from the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, and colleagues examined the distribution of biomedical research funding by the NIH among women and men surgeon-scientists who were between 1995 and 2020. The distribution of NIH funding was examined using two metrics: holding a large-dollar and being a super principal investigator (SPIs) with $750,000 or more in total annual research funding.

Overall, 2,078 principal investigator surgeons received funding from the NIH between 1995 and 2020. The researchers found that during this period, the proportion of women academic surgeons who were surgeon-scientists remained unchanged (1.8 percent in 1995; 2.4 percent in 2020). Women surgeon-scientists obtained their first NIH grant earlier in their career than their male counterparts (mean years after first faculty appointment, 8.8 versus 10.8 years) and were as likely to obtain large-dollar grants. However, women remained significantly underrepresented among SPIs and were 25 percent less likely to be an SPI.

“Increasing among surgeon-scientists may prove to be critical in promoting the surgeon-scientist workforce and improving diversity within the surgery research enterprise,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Cepheid.

More information:
Mytien Nguyen et al, Gender Disparity in National Institutes of Health Funding Among Surgeon-Scientists From 1995 to 2020, JAMA Network Open (2023). DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.3630

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Caregiving for someone after a stroke

When a loved one suffers a stroke, it can be a relief that they survived and are getting good care. But recovery can take time for the patient. Making sure they get the care they need can be a challenge for the spouse, grown child or other loved one who is providing that care at home. Fortunately, resources exist to help you through this difficult time while taking the best care of your loved one and yourself.

Mary Harris’ husband’s stroke “…changed the entire course and purpose of our lives,” she said in the American Stroke Association’s Life After Stroke guide. “But we go on. We have learned to adapt. While our lives are forever changed, we feel that the experience of stroke and recovery has enriched us as individuals and as a couple.”

The guide offers positive encouragement, asserting “there is life—and hope—after stroke. With time, new routines will become second nature.”

Still, stroke can dramatically affect mood, physical ability and memory.

And engaging caregivers in stroke recovery is important for improving the effectiveness and sustainability of services, according to a study published recently in the journal Frontiers in Public Health.

Know your loved one’s medical needs

The American Stroke Association (ASA) offers a number of suggestions that can help with caregiving for someone after a stroke.

Become familiar with the survivor’s medications and any potential side effects.

Ask a lot of questions about what to expect in the months ahead. Your loved one’s doctor, nurse or physical therapist can be a great resource for this.

Help prevent another stroke by ensuring your loved one has a , exercises, takes medicines as prescribed and makes it to medical appointments, the ASA suggests.

Become an at-home expert

You may need to make modifications at home to ensure safety. Remove items that are easy to trip on, such as throw rugs, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) suggests.

The bedroom and bathrooms should both be easy for the patient to reach, the NLM recommends.

Keep walkways clear, recommends Cedars-Sinai Health System.

Watch for worrisome issues

Be aware that issues with balance, difficulty walking and frequent falls may point to the need for physical therapy, the ASA suggests.

Post-stroke depression can also hinder recovery, the ASA cautions. About 30% to 50% of stroke survivors experience depression, according to the ASA.

Manage the red tape

You may need some legal advice, the NLM suggests. It can be helpful to have documents that include advance directives and power of attorney to help you manage care decisions.

You’ll want to become familiar with , whether it’s private or government-funded.

Learn what insurance covers, in and out of the hospital, and what you’ll need to pay out of pocket. Your patient’s health care provider, case manager, social worker or the insurance company may be able to assist you in this, the ASA said.

The ASA also recommends having an emergency kit that includes a list of key contacts; a copy of your loved one’s insurance card and medical advance directive; and a list of medications including the dosage and frequency. Tell others where this kit is, in case you need someone to bring it to you.

A social worker can walk you through potential financial aid and prescription reimbursement resources.

Self-care for the caregiver

Like the saying goes, it’s important to put on your own oxygen mask first. Manage your own stress by caring for your own mental health.

Stay connected to friends and family.

Get respite care through community resources, suggests the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (OASH). Ask family members, friends and neighbors to help share caregiving tasks.

If you feel overwhelmed, visit your doctor to talk about depression, the OASH advises. And do something you enjoy each day.

Take up a mind-body practice like yoga, tai chi, meditation or deep relaxation, Harvard Health suggests.

Eat healthy food, exercise, prioritize getting enough sleep, the experts recommend.

Caregiver resources

The American Stroke Association provides a wealth of resources for caregivers of survivors.

Learn more about caregiver basics and support needs from the OASH.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also offers some ideas about caregiver support.

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The heart benefits of walnuts likely come from the gut
The ratio of bad bacteria to good bacteria (Dysbiosis Index value) at baseline and following each test diet in participants at elevated risk of cardiovascular disease. The standard Western diet had the highest dysbiosis index value compared to other diet groups, which indicates a greater number of bad bacteria as compared to good bacteria. WD=whole walnuts, WFMD=matched walnut control diet with the same amount of omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, and polyunsaturated fatty acids as the walnut diet but without walnuts, ORAD=oleic acid replaces ALA in diet without walnuts. Credit: Mansi Chandra, Juniata College

A new study examining the gene expression of gut microbes suggests that the heart-healthy benefits of walnuts may be linked to beneficial changes in the mix of microbes found in our gut. The findings could help identify other foods or supplements with similar nutritional benefits.

Researchers led by Kristina S. Petersen from Texas Tech University in Lubbock found that introducing walnuts into a person’s diet may alter the gut’s mix of microbes—known as the microbiome—in a way that increases the body’s production of the amino acid L-homoarginine. Homoarginine deficiency has been linked to higher risk for .

“Research has shown that walnuts may have heart-healthy benefits like lowering and ,” said Mansi Chandra, an undergraduate researcher at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. “This motivated us to look at how walnuts benefited the gut microbiome and whether those effects led to the potential beneficial effects. Our findings represent a new mechanism through which walnuts may lower cardiovascular disease risk.”

The researchers used an approach known as metatranscriptomics to study the gene expression of gut microbes. This recently developed technology can be used to quantify and monitor how these levels shift in response to various conditions such as dietary changes.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study to use metatranscriptomics analysis for studying the impact of walnut consumption on the gut microbiota gene expression,” Chandra said. “These exploratory analyses contribute to our understanding of walnut-related modulation of , which could be very impactful in learning how gut health impacts our heart health in general.”

The metatranscriptomics analysis used samples acquired from a previously performed controlled-feeding study in which 35 participants with high cardiovascular risk were put on a two-week standard Western diet and then randomly assigned to one of three study diets. The study participants followed each diet for six weeks with a break between each.

The diets included one that incorporated whole walnuts, one that included the same amount of omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, and polyunsaturated fatty acids as the walnut diet but without walnuts, and one that partially substituted another fatty acid known as oleic acid for the same amount of ALA found in walnuts but without consumption of any walnuts. The diets were designed to provide information about how walnuts affected cardiovascular health due to their bioactive compounds and ALA content and whether walnut ALA is the best substitute for dietary saturated fat compared to oleic acid.

For the new work, researchers used metatranscriptomics to analyze gene expression and the bacteria in the from fecal samples collected shortly before the participants finished the run-in diet and each of the three study diets.

The analysis revealed higher levels of Gordonibacter bacteria in the gut of participants on the walnut diet. This bacterium converts the plant polyphenols ellagitannins and ellagic acid into metabolites that allow them to be absorbed by the body. Participants consuming the diet also showed higher levels of expression for several genes that are involved in important metabolic and biosynthetic pathways, including ones that increase the body’s production of the amino L-homoarginine.

Although more work is needed to confirm these observations, the research could eventually help inform dietary interventions based on walnuts. “Since a lot of people are allergic to nuts, these findings also suggest that other food supplements that boost the endogenous production of homoarginine may also be helpful,” Chandra said.

Next, the researchers would like to apply metabolomic and proteomic analyses to identify the final products of the that showed higher levels of expression. This would allow them to better understand the biological mechanisms at work.

Chandra will present the new findings at Discover BMB, the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, March 25–28 in Seattle.

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breast cancer
Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

All hormonal contraceptives carry a slightly increased risk of breast cancer, including the increasingly popular progestogen-only pills, according to a study published on Tuesday.

The researchers who carried out the study stressed that the increased risk of needs to be weighed against the benefits of hormonal contraceptives, including the protection they provide against other forms of female cancer.

Previous studies have established an increased risk of breast cancer from two-hormone, or combined, contraceptives that use both estrogen and progestogen.

While the use of progestogen-only contraceptives has been on the rise for well over a decade, little research had been performed previously on their links to breast cancer.

The study, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, found that the risk of a woman developing breast cancer was about the same for hormonal contraceptives using both estrogen and progestogen as for those using just progestogen.

According to the study, women taking hormonal contraceptives have a 20 to 30 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer than those who do not use them.

The findings are similar to those published previously, including in a vast 1996 study.

The risk remains about the same regardless of the delivery method—oral pill, IUD, implant or injection—or whether it is a combined pill or progestogen alone.

Taking into account that the likelihood of breast cancer increases with age, the authors of the study calculated how much absolute excess risk is associated with hormonal contraceptives.

For women taking hormonal contraceptives for a period of five years between the ages of 16 to 20, it represented eight cases of breast cancer per 100,000, they said.

Between 35 and 39 years old, it was 265 cases per 100,000.

‘Very small increase in absolute risk’

“Nobody wants to hear that something that they’re taking is going to increase their risk of breast cancer by 25 percent,” said Gillian Reeves, a professor of statistical epidemiology at the University of Oxford and a co-author of the study.

“What we’re talking about here is very small increase in absolute risk,” Reeves said.

“These increases in risk for breast cancer have to, of course, be viewed in the context of what we know about the many benefits of taking hormonal contraceptives,” she added.

“Not just in terms of birth control, but also because we know that actually provide quite substantial and long term protection from other female cancers, such as and endometrial cancer.”

The study also confirmed, like others, that the risk of breast cancer declines in the years after a woman stops using hormonal contraceptives.

Stephen Duffy, a professor at Queen Mary University of London who did not take part in the study, described the findings as “reassuring in that the effect is modest.”

The study involved data from nearly 10,000 women under the age of 50 who developed between 1996 and 2017 in the United Kingdom, where the use of progestogen-only contraceptives is now as widespread as the combined method.

Reeves said there were several explanations for the growing use of progestogen-only contraceptives.

They are recommended for women who are breast-feeding, who may be at risk of cardiovascular problems or smokers above the age of 35.

“It might just be because women are taking possibly into later years now,” Reeves said.

“So they are naturally at higher risk of those other conditions for which risk is increased with combined contraceptives.”

More information:
Combined and progestogen-only hormonal contraceptives and breast cancer risk: A UK nested case–control study and meta-analysis, PLoS Medicine (2023). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1004188

© 2023 AFP

All hormonal contraceptives increase breast cancer risk: Study (2023, March 25)
retrieved 26 March 2023

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