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chinadaily.com.cn 2023-09-04 16:10


> What passing gas can say about your health



Dr. Mark Corkins, division chief of pediatric gastroenterology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, said, “There are two sources of ‘gas,’ and not all gas is gas. Part of what we pass is air. We all swallow some air, and some people swallow a lot of air. Now that seems to be odorless.”


Real gas, on the other hand, is primarily the byproduct of the fermentation of food in the colon, said Corkins, who is also a professor of pediatrics. “Our colon has (billions of) bacteria living in it. … If we don’t digest (food), the bacteria will.”


Some odors are more pungent than others for these reasons, experts said, but there aren’t any smells that are red flags.


Gas isn’t as much of an indicator of gut health as bowel movement frequency and texture.

But dietary choices can lead to more or less gas.


Gut flora are important because they help the body make vitamins and produce some of the short chain fatty acids that feed our colon lining, so a little gas (from those processes) is good, Corkins said. “Otherwise, we’re not feeding our flora, which actually is a symbiotic relationship,” he added.


But what can especially lead to gas, or excessive amounts of it, is eating foods that are more difficult to digest and therefore more likely to ferment, experts said.


The old classic is beans, and there’s a protein in beans that tends to be difficult to digest.


“The other thing is making sure that your bowel habits are regular,” said Dr. William Chey, a professor of gastroenterology at the University of Michigan. “Individuals that have constipation are much more prone to getting bloating and flatulence. The reason for that is, if things move very slowly through the GI tract, they have more time to interact with the bacteria in the GI tract, particularly the colon. And that’s going to produce more gas.”

> Childhood amnesia: Why can't we remember the early years?



Childhood amnesia is the inability of adults to retrieve episodic memories (memories of situations or events) before the age of 2 to 4 years.


It may also refer to the scarcity or fragmentation of memories recollected from early childhood, particularly occurring between age 2 and 6.


Childhood amnesia is a normal part of brain development. Episodic memories involve the hippocampus, a part of the brain found in the temporal lobe, which is not fully developed at birth. The hippocampus should be ready at about the age of 4.


Memories that are not repeatedly re-told and strengthened become lost over time.


For a long time, scientists thought childhood amnesia occurred because the brains of young children simply couldn't form lasting memories of specific events.


More studies provided evidence that at some point in childhood, people lose access to their early memories.


And they found that children as old as 7 could still recall more than 60 percent of those early events, while children who were 8 or 9 recalled less than 40 percent.


On average, this fragmented period wanes off at around 4.7 years.


Around 5-6 years of age in particular is thought to be when autobiographical memory seems to stabilize and be on par with adults.

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