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Study: E-cigarettes trigger inflammation in the gut

Touted by makers as a “healthy” alternative to traditional nicotine cigarettes, new research indicates the chemicals found in e-cigarettes disrupt the gut barrier and trigger inflammation in the body, potentially leading to a variety of health concerns.

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Photo by Jaroslav Devia from Unsplash.com

Touted by makers as a “healthy” alternative to traditional nicotine cigarettes, new research indicates the chemicals found in e-cigarettes disrupt the gut barrier and trigger inflammation in the body, potentially leading to a variety of health concerns.

In the study, published in the journal iScience, Soumita Das, PhD, associate professor of pathology, and Pradipta Ghosh, MD, professor of cellular and molecular medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues, found that chronic use of nicotine-free e-cigarettes led to a “leaky gut,” in which microbes and other molecules seep out of the intestines, resulting in chronic inflammation. Such inflammation can contribute to a variety of diseases and conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease, dementia, certain cancers, atherosclerosis, liver fibrosis, diabetes and arthritis.

“The gut lining is an amazing entity. It is comprised of a single layer of cells that are meant to seal the body from the trillions of microbes, defend our immune system, and at the same time allow absorption of essential nutrients,” said Ghosh. “Anything we eat or drink, our lifestyle choices in other words, has the ability to impact our gut microbes, the gut barrier and overall health. Now we know that what we smoke, such as e-cigarettes, negatively impacts it as well.”

The researchers found that two chemicals used as a base for all e-cigarette liquid vapor — propylene glycol and vegetable glycerol — were the cause of inflammation.

“Numerous chemicals are created when these two are heated to generate the fumes in vaping that cause the most damage, for which there are no current regulations,” said Ghosh. “The safety of e-cigarettes have been debated fiercely on both sides. Nicotine content, and its addictive nature, has always been the major focus of those who argue against its safety, whereas lack of chemicals in the carcinogens that are present in the cigarette smoke has been touted by the makers of e-cigarettes when marketing these products as a ‘healthy alternative.’ In reality, it’s the chemicals making up the vapor liquid that we should be more concerned about as they are the cause of gut inflammation.”

For the study, the team used 3D models of human intestinal tracts generated from patient cells and simulated what happens when e-cigarette vapors enter the gut lining. Researchers validated the findings using mice models of vaping in collaboration with Laura Crotty-Alexander, MD, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine and section chief of Pulmonary Critical Care at Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System.

To produce the 3D gut organoids, the researchers collected stem cells from patients’ biopsies during colonoscopies and grew them in vitro. The stem cells differentiated into the four different cell types that make up the gut lining. The team then exposed the organoids to e-cigarette liquid vapor, mimicking the frequency of a chronic vaper.

They noted that epithelial tight conjunction markers, which are zipper-like proteins that form the gut’s first physical barrier, began to break or loosen, causing pathogens from the vapor to seep into the surrounding immune system, wreaking havoc on protective epithelial cells that lie just beneath.

Such cells act as a defense against infection by clearing pathogenic microbes and initiating certain immune responses in the body. When exposed to the e-cigarette liquid, the cells were quickly overwhelmed, unable to effectively clear pathogens, resulting in gut inflammation.

The study is part of the HUMANOID Center of Research Excellence, a core facility based at UC San Diego School of Medicine led by Ghosh and Das who was senior author of the study. Scientists at the center use a variety of human organoids and other tools to model diseases and effects.

“This is the first study that demonstrates how chronic exposure to e-cigarettes increases the gut’s susceptibility to bacterial infections, leading to chronic inflammation and other health concerns,” said Das. “Given the importance of the gut barrier in the maintenance of the body’s immune homeostasis, the findings provide valuable insight into the potential long-term harmful effects chronic use of e-cigarettes on our health.”

Ghosh said damage to the gut lining may be reversible over time if the inciting factor, in this case e-cigarette use, is eliminated, but the effects of chronic inflammation upon other organs, such as the heart or brain, may be irreversible. In the future, Ghosh said she and colleagues plan to look at different flavorings of e-cigarettes to determine what effects they might have on the gut.

Additional study co-authors include: Aditi Sharma, Jasper Lee, Ayden G. Fonseca, Alex Moshensky, Taha Kothari, Ibrahim M. Sayed, Stella-Rita Ibeawuchi, Rama F. Pranadinata, Jason Ear, and Debashis Sahoo, all at UC San Diego.

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Clorox PH partners with PAL to help enhance travelers’ health, safety

Clorox Philippines worked with PAL to enhance the safety of their customers by providing Clorox products in PAL’s airport hubs and ticket offices across the Philippines.

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As health and safety became a top concern amid the pandemic, especially for travelers, Clorox Philippines, one of the country’s leading providers of cleaning and disinfecting products, collaborated with the flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL). 

Clorox Philippines worked with PAL to enhance the safety of their customers by providing Clorox products in PAL’s airport hubs and ticket offices across the Philippines. PAL received Clorox Expert Disinfectant Sprays, Clorox Expert Disinfecting Wipes canisters, Clorox Clean-Up All-Purpose Cleaner, and Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaners to disinfect its vital facilities and amenities. 

“The health and safety of our passengers are our top priorities. We are pleased to have partnered with Clorox Philippines, which shares our values in upholding the safety and welfare of consumers. As more people go back to flying, our partnership is significant and timely,” said Ria Carrion-Domingo, Vice President for Marketing at PAL. 

Clorox Expert Disinfecting Wipes were also given to PAL’s arriving international and domestic passengers and customers of ticket offices nationwide from December 31, 2021, to March 2022, catering to almost 22,000 travelers. 

“We are always committed to making the lives of every Filipino better each day with our Clorox products amid these uncertain times. And with our collaboration with PAL, we are happy that we can assist in making their travelers safe,” said Monique Gonzales, Marketing Manager for Southeast Asia at Clorox International. 

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Medical Depot expands from north to south of the country

With at least 12 more new stores set to open until end of 2022, Medical Depot recently signs a partnership with Union Bank to strengthen its financial capacity in fulfilling its goals of having 200 total number of stores by 2025.

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With the desire to continue serving more and more Filipinos with quality medical products, Medical Depot grew its total number of strategic branches from 24 stores in 2021 to 38 stores year to date and expanded its geographic footprint to cover 34 cities within Luzon. The company is also expected to establish its presence in the Southern part of the country towards the end of the year. 

Medical Depot started its humble beginnings in 1991 with just 1 branch located in Bambang, Manila and with only three sales personnel. It grew steadily after a few years. Having the vision to further reach more Filipinos, an extensive expansion plan was launched in the first quarter of last year. Since then, the company has been growing at a 50% rate in new branches and has positioned it to be able to serve more localities and increasing the number of total families that can be serviced from hospitals to patients. 

“It has always been our mission to bring quality medical products to our countrymen and to ensure that we are able to service the increasing medical needs of Filipino families in various communities. Our expansion plan that we rolled out is a testament to this mission and we’re glad that we’re on track to open our 40th store by this June,” states Rudy Medina, Chairman of Medical Depot. 

With at least 12 more new stores set to open until end of 2022, Medical Depot recently signs a partnership with Union Bank to strengthen its financial capacity in fulfilling its goals of having 200 total number of stores by 2025. This further fuels the growth trajectory of the company and will support its plan to open its first ever operating and production hub in Mindanao with that will bring its thousands of quality medical products to the southern parts of the country.

In addition to the expanded locations, Medical Depot is also investing in research and development to increase its available items from 5,000 to 10,000 different products and supplies that will cater to various medical demands.

“Medical Depot’s legacy is really about helping the country by addressing the medical needs of our fellowmen with reasonably priced, top-quality medical products. Our efforts to reach more Filipinos by opening new strategic branches across the country in the last 6 months and working to open our hub in the Mindanao region speaks for this and this is truly a milestone for the company,” shares Baby Medina, Vice Chairman of Medical Depot.

The road to success for Medical Depot may not have been a smooth ride but with its constant commitment and care for the medical needs of the Filipinos, the company is on track to continue to succeed by serving the communities through quality medical supplies.

To learn more about Medical Depot and, visit https://medicaldepot.com.ph/ or their Facebook page for updates.

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How to get the best wedding photos ever

Finding the ‘right’ photographer for your wedding is a bit like dating; you can’t make a decision only after checking someone out online. A photographer’s portfolio might be really polished, but you can’t get a real sense of their personality or emotional intelligence. It’s wise to meet with a few photographers or videographers, either in person or via zoom, before you make a final decision.

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Photo by Joel Overbeck from Unsplash.com

According to The New York Times, 2022 will be the biggest year for the wedding industry since 1984. After two years of delays and cancellations, everyone is going to the proverbial chapel to tie the knot. One of the most important elements for many couples are the photos and videos, preserving this special moment forever.

“In the end, having tangible memories you’ll cherish for years to come is a better investment than party favors or fancy table linen,” said Rachel LaCour Niesen, Head of Market Intelligence

A graduate from the Missouri School of Journalism, LaCour Niesen forged a career as a professional wedding photographer and photojournalist where she developed the first CRM for pro photographers. While still continuing her passion in professional photography, LaCour Niesen also serves as Head of Market Intelligence at ShootProof, a platform used by 300,000 photographers to share, deliver, print, & sell their photos. Just in the last year, Shootproof managed wedding galleries received 2.8 million visits per month – and that number is anticipated to grow in 2022. 

Her advice when shopping for a wedding photographer? “Finding the ‘right’ photographer for your wedding is a bit like dating; you can’t make a decision only after checking someone out online. A photographer’s portfolio might be really polished, but you can’t get a real sense of their personality or emotional intelligence. It’s wise to meet with a few photographers or videographers, either in person or via zoom, before you make a final decision.”

For one of the most important days in someone’s life, Rachel has a few “dos” before you say “I Do”

  • Ask friends and family for recommendations. “Word-of-mouth referrals are a great way to curate a list of prospective photographers and videographers.” says Rachel. “After all, your friends and family know you better than anyone else.”
  • Spend time viewing their online portfolios. According to Rachel, “a lot of people can take a few great photos or videos. To tell a more complete “story” of a wedding celebration requires more skill, patience, and thoroughness.”
  • Look closely to see if the photographers and videographers you are interested in have shot weddings in many types of lighting conditions. “It’s pretty easy to capture stunning photos outdoors during “golden hour,” around sunset,” Rachel remarked. “But it’s much, much harder to capture stunning photos in a dimly-lit event space like a hotel ballroom or dance club.”
  • Ask whether photo products are included in their booking fee and/or package price. “To me, every couple should end up having a wedding album or book–a tangible one, not just an online slideshow,” Rachel said. “I still have copies of my grandparent’s wedding photos hanging in my home. They inspire me and bring back so many memories of our family stories. Plus my son is now curious to hear about his great grandparents too and I can point right to those photos and use them to spark conversation.”

Wedding photography does not just document the union itself, but all the family members and friends who came together to celebrate. “Sometimes, the most cherished photo is not that ‘kiss the bride’ moment but that last family image with a beloved grandparent. Weddings are those precious occasions where people rally together in a grand act of joy.”

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