Bacteria found in a traditional Japanese pickle could prevent flu, a study suggests.
Scientists investigated the immune-boosting powers of Lactobacillus bugs in Suguki, a pickled turnip popular in Japan.
"Our results show that when a particular strain of Lactobacillus brevis is eaten by mice, it has protective effects against influenza virus infection," said lead researcher Naoko Waki, from the Japanese food company Kagome.
The findings are published in the journal Letters in Applied Microbiology. Human trials using a probiotic drink containing the same KB290 strain of the bug are under way.
A protective layer of sugars called exopolysaccharides that protects the bacteria against acid stomach juices could lie behind its powers, the Japanese researchers believe.
U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama will visit Japan for three days from March 18, as part of her campaign to promote education for women and volunteer activities in developing countries, the White House announced Tuesday. (Jiji Press)
Microsoft Corp. cofounder Paul Allen said on Twitter Tuesday the Imperial Japanese Navy's World War II battleship Musashi has been found at the bottom of the Sibuyan Sea off the central Philippines. (Jiji Press)
The Cabinet on Tuesday signed off on a bill that would revise the adult entertainment business law to enable discos and nightclubs that offer dancing to operate past midnight as long as they meet interior lighting criteria. (Japan Times)
In the latest allegations of questionable political donations now aimed at top party leaders, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the main opposition party president are linked to contributions from companies after ministries awarded them subsidies, it was learned March 3. (Asahi)
Osaka Prefectural Police on Friday announced the arrest of a late-shift taxi driver from Joto Ward for allegedly raping a number of intoxicated female passengers, reports the Asahi Shimbun. (Tokyo Reporter)
A 65-year-old man who was arrested and jailed for causing trouble at a gasoline station in Mitaka, Tokyo, was rearrested after he returned to the same gas station upon his release and threatened the owner, police said Monday. (Japan Today)