Western Diet may Augment the Risk of Autoimmune Diseases

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Experts consider environmental factors as a major culprit behind the upsurge of cases. The study findings may further help to find a cure for these rapidly spreading autoimmune conditions.

“Human genetics hasn’t altered over the past few decades. So something must be changing in the outside world in a way that is increasing our predisposition to autoimmune disease,”
says James Lee from the London’s Francis Crick Institute, who was previously based at Cambridge University.

Need for Comprehensive Effort

Several international efforts concerning autoimmune researches are being undertaken to rule out the precise causes of these diseases.

“Numbers of autoimmune cases began to increase about 40 years ago in the west. However, we are now seeing some emerge in countries that never had such diseases before. For example, the biggest recent increase in inflammatory bowel disease cases has been in the Middle East and east Asia. Before that they had hardly seen the disease,”
says Lee.

Diet as Culprit

The study states that diet changes were significantly noted in more countries as people adopted more Western-style diets and fast foods (such as chicken nuggets, burgers, and other heavily processed foods).

“Fast-food diets lack certain important ingredients, such as fibre, and evidence suggests this alteration affects a person’s microbiome — the collection of micro-organisms that we have in our gut and which play a key role in controlling various bodily functions. These changes in our microbiomes are then triggering autoimmune diseases, of which more than 100 types have now been discovered,”
says Carola Vinuesa from the London’s Francis Crick Institute, who was previously based at the Australian National University.

Tracing the Genetic Susceptibility

Although there is little that can be done to halt the rapid expansion of fast-food franchises, researchers must dig on at the fundamental level to rule out the genetic susceptibility of individuals.

Hence, understanding the genetic patterns and mechanisms of autoimmune diseases (by tracing the DNA differences) may help better tackle the global issue.

The study team utilized an incredibly powerful technique to sequence DNA (large scale). This helped identify more than 250 DNA variants that are involved in triggering inflammatory bowel disease.

Formulating Right Treatment

The rapidly growing burden of autoimmune diseases puts forth the mandatory need for new yet effective drugs and treatment strategies.

Analyzing different genetic pathways and their consequences on autoimmune diseases may help formulate better and right therapeutic approaches to the patients — a key goal for autoimmune research.

Source: Medindia

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