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cranberryDrinking cranberry juice really can cure bladder infections, according to new research and extracts from the fruit could even keep medical devices free of bacteria, say scientists.

Thousands of patients develop complications from catheters, thin tubes that deliver fluids or drain urine, because they allow bugs on the skin to easily enter the body and infect tissue or blood.

A study has now found how chemicals in cranberries alter bacterial behaviour, pointing to a potential role for derivatives in implantable devices.

Consuming the fruit has been associated with prevention of urinary tract infections (UTIs) for more than a hundred years, although some experts have claimed it is a myth with no basis in fact.

Some studies have suggested cranberries work by hindering bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract, thanks to chemicals known as PACs (proanthocyanidins).

Now experiments have found that cranberry powder stopped Proteus mirabilis, a bacterium frequently implicated in complicated bladder infections, from colonising and swimming together.

Increasing concentrations of the extract also reduced the bacteria’s production of urease, an enzyme that contributes to the virulence of infections, the Canadian Journal of Microbiology reports online.

These results build on previous work by the same team showing cranberries hinder movement of other bacteria involved in bladder infections.

Bacterial movement is a key mechanism for the spread of infection, as bugs literally swim to disseminate in the urinary tract and escape the body’s immune response.

Professor Nathalie Tufenkji, of McGill University, Montreal, said: ‘While the effects of cranberry in living organisms remain subject to further study, our findings highlight the role cranberry consumption might play in the prevention of chronic infections.

‘More than 150 million cases of UTI (urinary tract infection) are reported globally each year, and antibiotic treatment remains the standard approach for managing these infections.

‘The current rise of bacterial resistance to antibiotics underscores the importance of developing another approach.’

She led another recent study published online in Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces showing the fruit blocked the spread of Proteus mirabilis, suggesting extracts could hinder the spread of germs in UTI causing catheters.

Added Prof Tufenkji: ‘Based on the demonstrated bioactivity of cranberry, its use in catheters and other medical devices could someday yield considerable benefits to patient health.’

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2013 Miles in 2013

This year I am trying to complete 2013 miles self-powered miles. It is has been 10 years since my cousin’s son Adam lost his fight with Cystic Fibrosis. Adam was just 18 years old when when he lost his lifelong battle with CF, the UK’s most common life-threatening inherited disease. Despite spending large parts of his short life in hospital Adam never once complained, not even of a headache and was determined to make the most of everyday.

My 2013 miles in 2013 challenge is in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust as I have been surprised since I started fundraising for the CF Trust just how many people are unaware of this disease and so I hope my efforts will not just raise money, but also awareness of the UK’s most most common life-threatening inherited disease.

The first person to commit to sponsoring my 2013 mile challenge has committed to 1p per mile (£20.13 in total) and this got me thinking. I am hoping that as many as possible of those reading this will commit to do the same and the best thing is, if each person does this on a “pay as you go” type approach all you will need to part with is approx £2 just after each pay day. In January I completed 205.9 miles, in February I completed a further 200.9 miles, in March I completed 185.7 miles, in April I completed 192.1 miles, in May I completed 168 miles and in June I completed 145 miles. If you can please spare £10.98 to help the Cystic Fibrosis Trust it will be greatly appreciated.

The easiest way to give your sponsorship is to visit my Just Giving page:

2013 Miles in 2013 – The rules

The rules for my 2013 miles in 2013 challenge are quite simple:

  1. All miles must be completely self powered (no motors, sails, etc)
  2. I must be able to evidence all miles, either via GPS or with a picture of any static gym equipment

To complete my 2013 miles I will be running, cycling, rowing and who knows, I might even try a few other self powered methods along the way.