Olive oil could guard against developing ulcerative colitis

Eating more olive oil could help prevent ulcerative colitis, according to a new study co-ordinated by medical researchers at the University of East Anglia. Presented  at the Digestive Disease Week conference in New Orleans, the findings show that people with a diet rich in oleic acid – which is present in olive oil –are far less likely to develop ulcerative colitis. Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid found in olive oil, peanut oil and grapeseed oil, as well as in butter and certain margarines.The researchers, led by Dr Andrew

Hart of UEA’s School of Medicine, studied more than 25,000 people aged 40-65 living in Norfolk, UK. The volunteers were recruited to the EPIC study (European Prospective Investigation into Diet and Cancer) between 1993 and 1997. The participants, none of whom had ulcerative colitis at the outset, completed detailed food diaries which were later analysed by specially trained nutritionists working in Cambridge. By 2004, 22 participants in the study had developed ulcerative colitis and the researchers compared their diets with those who did not develop the disease. They found that those with the highest intake of oleic acid had a 90 per cent lower risk of developing the disease. “Oleic acid seems to help prevent the development of ulcerative colitis by blocking chemicals in the bowel that

aggravate the inflammation found in this illness,” said Dr Hart. “We estimate that around half of the cases of ulcerative colitis could be prevented if larger amounts of oleic acid were consumed. Two-to-three tablespoons of olive oil per day would have a protective effect,” said Dr Hart.Ulcerative colitis is a distressing disease affecting 120,000 people of all ages in the UK and 1 million in the US. It is characterized by inflammation of the lining of the colon or large bowel, which causes abdominal pain, diarrhoea and weight loss.Similar work in other countries is now required to determine if these results are reproducible there, before the link can be said to be definite. If it is confirmed that oleic acid is truly protective, dietary modifications should be considered to prevent colitis. Additionally, the use of oleic acid supplements should also be assessed in the future as a possible

treatment for colitis sufferers. History of  University of East Anglia; UEA admitted its first 87 undergraduate students – in English Studies and Biological Sciences – in 1963. Early UEA building worksPeople in Norwich had begun to talk about setting up a university in the city as long ago as the last century, but it wasn’t until 1960, as the post-war ‘bulge’ generation was bringing about an expansion in higher education, that the University of East Anglia finally got the go-ahead.UEA’s academic thinking was distinctive from the word go. The choice of ‘Do Different’ as the University’s motto was a deliberate signal that it was going to look at new ways of providing university education. Students playing pinballAt the heart of UEA’s innovative thinking was the principle of interdisciplinarity where related subjects are studied in

combination with each other. UEA has continued to be academically innovative throughout its development.The city had donated what was the Earlham municipal golf course for the site of the campus, and traces of the fairways can still be seen around the grounds today.In 1962, Denys Lasdun (who designed the National Theatre) was appointed as UEA’s founding architect, and was asked to produce an integrated physical design which would reflect and complement the academic structure. Students celebrate a sunny Sports Day outside the ZigguratsIt was Lasdun who designed the University’s core buildings including the monumental Teaching Wall, the raised walkways, the central Square and, most famously, the striking ‘ziggurats’ of Norfolk and Suffolk Terrace.His plan was that no building on

campus should be more than five minutes’ walk away from any other – an intention that has been honoured as far as possible despite the building expansion over the last 10 years. Dr Andrew Hart is an honorary senior lecturer at The University of East Anglia and Norfolk and Norwich Hospital. His clinical and research interests include gastrointestinal cancers and inflammatory bowel disease. He is conducting work into the causation of these illnesses in many centres in both the United Kingdom and across Europe. The aim of this work is to translate the work into ways to prevent these illnesses and to design improved treatments. He is actively involved in the teaching of medical undergraduate students and the assessment of new teaching methods.”I have been involved in the evaluation of ‘disect’ in undergraduate medical students in Norwich. I am encouraged by the extremely positive feed-back we have had from students on both the ease of use of the programme and the benefit they find of the programme to facilitate their learning. I am sure computer-based learning programmes will be common in medical schools in the future.” news from uea.ac.uk

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