Amazing Breakthroughs In Health

Grind for February 4th, 2019
“There is no such thing as accident; it is fate misnamed.”

– Napoleon Bonaparte

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

The Headline

World’s biggest brands to experiment with reusable containers

The Grind

Starting this summer, 25 name brands will begin selling products in containers designed to be returned, cleaned, and refilled.

“People talk about recyclability and reuse and say they’d like to be involved in helping the environment,” says Pepsi President Simon Lowden. “So let’s see if it’s true.”

The move is reminiscent of the ’30s and ’40s, when refillable bottles were the norm for soft drinks, beer, and milk. Then came the introduction of single-use containers and by 1998 less than 1% of soft drink bottles and less than 4% of beer bottles sold were refillable.

The Details

This May, Unilever will start offering refillable steel containers for Axe and Dove deodorant. Each container is estimated to last eight years, which will prevent the disposal of about 100 traditional deodorant containers.

“I sometimes wonder if it’s a fair accusation that we’re in the branded littler business,” complains Unilever Executive Alan Jope. “That’s what people care about right now.”

Pepsi will soon start selling Tropicana OJ in reusable glass bottles and Quaker Chocolate Cruesli cereal in a stainless steel box. Procter & Gamble has plans to introduce aluminum bottles for Pantene shampoo and stainless steel containers for Tide laundry detergent.

In addition to the environmental benefits, the new system could also help companies collect data on consumers and foster brand loyalty.

The downside: customers will need to sign up for subscriptions online and pay extra fees for shipping.

“It sounds like it’s only meant to attract the most green, virtuous shoppers,” says Susan Collins of the Container Recycling Institute.

New Discoveries

The Headline

New study suggests gum disease could exacerbate Alzheimer’s

The Grind

Research published this month in Science Advances reveals an unexpected link between periodontitis (gum disease) and Alzheimer’s disease.

Gum disease – which affects about 8.5% of adults in the US – is largely caused by a bacterium called Porphyromonas gingivalis. Studies with mice revealed that high levels of p. gingivalis may contribute to the build-up of toxic proteins known to be present in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s.

“Infectious agents have been implicated in the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease before, but the evidence of causation hasn’t been convincing,” explains lead study author Dr. Dominy.

Dominy is the co-founder of pharmaceutical company Cortexyme, which seeks to develop new treatments for Alzheimer’s.

The Details

With the discovery about p. gingivalis, Dominy and his team were able to design a set of small molecule treatments that effectively blocked the activity of the bacterium.

The most effective inhibitor was a compound called “COR388,” which in mice models was successful in:

— Reducing the presence of p. gingivalis in the brain

— Reducing inflammation in the brain

— Blocking the production of toxin “beta-amyloid” in the brain

— Protecting neurons in the hippocampus (the area of the brain associated with memory)

“[The study] sheds light on an unexpected driver of Alzheimer’s pathology – the bacterium commonly associated with chronic periodontal disease – and details the promising therapeutic approach Cortexyme is taking to address it with COR388,” concludes co-author Casey Lynch.

Dominy’s team has already started to conduct human trials with COR388 and hopes to organize a larger clinical trial later this year.

Did you know… In 2012, a man wore 70 clothing items through a Chinese airport to avoid paying extra baggage charges.