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Immigration to the United States changes a person’s microbiome — ScienceDaily

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Immigration to the United States changes a person's microbiome -- ScienceDaily

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Researchers at the University of Minnesota and the Somali, Latino, and Hmong Partnership for Health and Wellness have new evidence that the gut microbiota of immigrants and refugees rapidly Westernize after a person’s arrival in the United States. The study of communities migrating from Southeast Asia to the U.S., published November 1 in the journal Cell, could provide insight into some of the metabolic health issues, including obesity and diabetes, affecting immigrants to the country.

“We found that immigrants begin losing their native microbes almost immediately after arriving in the U.S. and then acquire alien microbes that are more common in European-American people,” says senior author Dan Knights, a computer scientist and quantitative biologist at the University of Minnesota. “But the new microbes aren’t enough to compensate for the loss of the native microbes, so we see a big overall loss of diversity.”

It has been shown before that people in developing nations have a much greater diversity of bacteria in their gut microbiome, the population of beneficial microbes living in humans’ intestines, than people living in the U.S. “But it was striking to see this loss of diversity actually happening in people who were changing countries or migrating from a developing nation to the U.S.,” he says.

The research was conducted with assistance from — and inspired by — Minnesota’s large community of refugees and immigrants from Southeast Asia, particularly the Hmong and Karen peoples, ethnic minorities that originally were from China and Burma and that today have communities in Thailand. The study used a community-based participatory research approach: members of the Hmong and Karen communities in both Minnesota and Thailand were involved in designing the study, recruiting participants, and educating their communities about the findings.

“Obesity was a concern that was coming up a lot for the Hmong and Karen communities here. In other studies, the microbiome had been related to obesity, so we wanted to know if there was potentially a relationship in immigrants and make any findings relevant and available to the communities. These are vulnerable populations, so we definitely try to make all of our methods as sensitive to that as possible and make sure that they have a stake in the research,” says first author Pajau Vangay.

Knights, Vangay, and their team compared the gut microbiota of Hmong and Karen people still living in Thailand; Hmong and Karen people who had immigrated to the U.S.; the children of those immigrants; and Caucasian American controls. They also were able to follow a group of 19 Karen refugees as they relocated from Thailand to the U.S., which meant they could track how the refugees’ gut microbiomes changed longitudinally in their first six to nine months in the U.S.

And the researchers did find that significant changes happened that fast: in those first six to nine months, the Western strain Bacteroides began to displace the non-Western bacteria strain Prevotella. But this Westernization also continued to happen over the course of the first decade in the U.S., and overall microbiome diversity decreased the longer the immigrants had been in the U.S. The participants’ food logs suggested that eating a more Western diet played a role in perturbing the microbiome but couldn’t explain all the changes.

The changes were even more pronounced in their children. “We don’t know for sure why this is happening. It could be that this has to do with actually being born in the USA or growing up in the context of a more typical US diet. But it was clear that the loss of diversity was compounded across generations. And that’s something that has been seen in animal models before, but not in humans,” says Knights.

Although the research didn’t establish a cause-and-effect relationship between the microbiome changes in immigrants and the immigrant obesity epidemic, it did show a correlation: greater westernization of the microbiome was associated with greater obesity.

Knights believes that this research has a lot to tell us about our health. “When you move to a new country, you pick up a new microbiome. And that’s changing not just what species of microbes you have, but also what enzymes they carry, which may affect what kinds of food you can digest and how your diet interacts with your health,” he says. “This might not always be a bad thing, but we do see that Westernization of the microbiome is associated with obesity in immigrants, so this could an interesting avenue for future research into treatment of obesity, both in immigrants and potentially in the broader population.”

This research was supported by the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, the Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute, the Office of Diversity, and the Graduate School at the University of Minnesota.

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Materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

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Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM  Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

The Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku has visited Mr. Ogechi Iwu, a journalist with Osiza FM.

The media man is hospitalized at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri over complications from diabetes that led to his right leg being amputated.

Mr. Nwachuku said the visit was to show solidarity on behalf of Governor Uzodimma to his professional colleague, assuring him of their prayers, particularly that of his principal, and the prayers of Mr. Iwu’s numerous friends and well wishers who are touched by his plight.

“I am here on behalf of my principal to associate with him in this time of health challenge and to encourage him not to see the sickness as a death sentence.”

Oge Iwu at fmc

L-R: Chief Akaraonye, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku with Ogechi Iwu during the visit

Mr. Nwachuku urged Mr. Iwu to continue in the high spirit he saw him and trust God for his total recovery “because healing is a thing of mind and when a sick person is in high spirit the patient gets recovered quickly.”

The spokesman of the Governor promised to bring the plight of the journalist to the attention of his principal, and assured that the Governor will, in his usual manner of one with milk of human sympathy, show concern over Iwu’s plight.

Earlier, Mr. Iwu thanked the CPS/Media Adviser, the State Chairman of NUJ, Imo State, Chief Christopher Akaraonye and other journalists who were on the entourage, for coming to identify with him on his sick bed, and assured that God in his infinite mercy will quicken his recovery.

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Lessons from the Melee in Mali

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Lessons from the Melee in Mali

Just a couple of days ago, former president of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, penned an assuring message on his successful mediation trips – leading the ECOWAS fact-finding and resolution team to Mali. The ink is still wet on that page when we however, woke up to the news of a coup in Mali. Whether it is Gambia, Guinea, Sudan, name them, Africa seems to be on the back foot when it comes to democratic gains. Is this a recurring narrative?

Mali should be another stark reminder to other African governments especially Nigeria that when an ineffective, out of touch and repressive government is about to come to an end, it always happens suddenly, not gradually. The tempo always builds up but from the inside, presenting a false calm exterior. Then like a landslide, it unexpectedly gives; the whole mountain comes crumbling as can be seen happening right now in Mali.

Seething resentments towards kleptocratic African governments always showcase themselves at the fall. African governments are miles behind, regarding the yearnings of their people and just like it happened in the ’60’s and ’70’s during our independence and subsequent coups and counter coups, Africa – led by its yearning youths connected globally through technology and the internet –is again bursting at the seams for legitimacy, effective leadership, direction and global integration.

The elitist old folks at the helm, unable to catch up and belligerent towards inclusive prosperity and development, are using their incumbent powers and minions to thwart the wishes of the people but for how long?

After the World War II, the world is again witnessing an unprecedented degree of untold suffering and death at peacetime, as a result of human disaster, but in Africa. It seems like the world rebuilt itself and moved on without us. How did we get here? How did we get left behind? First we started the blame game with the effect of slave trade, then the shackles of colonialism, yet Eastern countries have come out of both and are prosperous regardless.

China and the rest of the block are another testament that most of our arguments though with their merits, don’t hold water in their entirety. We are the makers of our destinies.
The origin of Mali’s problems, like every other Africa country, is government sectarianism – where a people in power skew electoral outcomes to favor themselves and their minions. This always led to widespread corruption, mismanagement of the economy, worsening security situations and exacerbating communal violence consequently.

For Mali, it started on June 5 when thousands of people went on street protest against the hijacked outcome of the parliamentary elections which took place on March 25. It turned deadly and 11 people were killed. As it is, regional security is threatened, at a time when COVID-19 and economic positions of these countries, indeed the whole world, are in tatters.

Whether it is Nigeria, Congo, Somalia, Kenya, name it, the problem is the same. When responsibility is alienated from governance, it breeds impunity which leads to corruption.

Like cancer, this corruption feeds and sustains itself by permeating all democratic institutions in its bid to replicate, validate and perpetuate itself, thus adulterating the electoral process which ultimately leads to political disintegration with the people seen as the enemy.

Our present crop of leaders has worked constitutions and political structures to such an extent that they sit home and predict electoral and judicial outcomes to the last digit.

This begs the question, is democracy working for Africa and if it doesn’t, what works? At times like this, we as Africans, should look inwards and take stock of how far we have come with the advent of constitutional democracy, where we have lost it and what should be done. The Chinese have found their formula, the Russians too. We too must find our path to an all inclusive, sustainable and prosperous future.

By Iboro Otu

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BAN ON THE CANAANLAND ADORATION (ALIAS E-DEY WORK) MINISTRY AND WITHDRAWAL OF FACULTY FROM REV. FR. MAGNUS EBERE SDV

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BAN ON THE CANAANLAND ADORATION (ALIAS E-DEY WORK) MINISTRY AND WITHDRAWAL OF FACULTY FROM REV. FR. MAGNUS EBERE SDV

To the Clergy, Religious and Laity of
Ahiara Diocese.

Dear people of God!

Compliments of the season: peace and joy!

As bishop, it is my duty to uphold authentic gospel values, sound Catholic traditions in worship and defend the teaching of the Catholic Church on faith and morals. It is also my responsibility to ensure that it is transmitted to the faithful in its purity and integrity in my area of pastoral jurisdiction.

Having established that there are serious abuses in the administration of the sacraments and sacramentals in the Canaanland Adoration Ministry a.k.a E-Dey Work as well as many other practices in the Adoration Ministry which are contrary to the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church, I withdrew the Faculties of the Diocese of Ahiara from Fr. Magnus Ebere a priest of the Society of Divine Vocation (SDV), who started the Adoration Ministry without the required permission from an ecclesiastical authority. Consequently, he can no longer legitimately carry out priestly ministry such as preaching, celebration of the Mass, hearing confessions and administration of the other Sacraments and Sacramentals in the Diocese of Ahiara.

Nevertheless, Fr. Magnus has continued his private Ministry at his Centre in Onicha Ezinihitte in the Diocese of Ahiara in gross disobedience to me the bishop and also his Superior General in Rome who has also directed him to stop his Adoration Ministry. I hereby state that the Catholic Church has nothing to do with his Ministry. Accordingly, the faithful of Ahiara Catholic Diocese and other Dioceses are hereby warned to desist from attending the Ministry of a defiant priest, who has no respect for Church authority and Church law. Those who attend his private Ministry do so at their own spiritual peril.

God bless you!

Sincerely yours

Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji
Apostolic Administrator of Ahiara Diocese

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