Publisher’s Words (May-June 2016)

As some of you may have noticed that we have combined March and April issues of Dragon’s Medical Bulletin (DMB) as one Mar /Apr issue and May and June issues as one May /June issue.That’s right, from now on DMB will only be published as a bi-monthly e-newsletter. Over the past 12 months I have been finding it harder and harder to maintain the almost monthly (10x per year) publishing schedule of DMB. As a full-time practicing naturopathic physician, I must admit the stress of trying to juggle between the various responsibilities has gotten to me lately.

I feel that I am spreading myself too thin! “Physician, Heal Thyself.” Thus I have made the decision to change DMB’s publishing fre- quency from 10 times per year to 6 times per year. We shall continue to provide our readership with practical clinical pearls or research abstracts, and we thank you for your continual support!

More and more research are showing that having a healthy and diverse community of gut bacteria is essential to overall health, and disturbances in such a community may contribute to dysregulation of immune system and diseases. It has been known for many years that antibiotics used to treat infections may wipe out beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. What about other medications? Do they also have an impact on the communities of bacteria within our gut?

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania explored this topic by looking at how indomethacin affects intestinal bacteria in mice. They discovered that indomethacin (and likely other NSAIDS) shifted the composition of intestinal bacteria towards a pro-inflammatory direction1. In addition, if the mice were pre-treated with antibiotics (which changed the bacterial composition), they would have an altered indomethacin metabolism and showed reduced blood lev- els of the drug. So it looks like medications may alter our GI bacterial compositions, and different compositions of GI bacteria may impact the metabolism of ingested medications. This is an advancement in understanding “biochemical individuality” and may explain why some drugs work better in some people.

Dr. Martin Kwok, ND, Dr. TCM Editor and Publisher

Liang X, et al. Bidirectional interactions be- tween indomethacin and the murine intestinal microbiota. Elife. 2015 Dec 23;4:e08973. doi: 10.7554/eLife.08973.