Dietary interventions in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and IBD
NAFLD is a condition in which significant levels of fat builds up in the cells of the liver leading to a wide spectrum of liver diseases such as cirrhosis and steatosis (infiltration of liver cells with fat). In the United States almost 10% of all children and 17% of 15-19 year old children have NAFLD. The need for improved diagnosis and treatment of NAFLD in children is highlighted by the multiple complications these children are at high risk of developing, including atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular complications.
Current research is focused on dissociating the effects of a number of specialized and popular diets from the effects caused by the microbiome. We are also beginning exciting collaborations with clinicians at UWMC and Seattle Children’s we are investigating the impact of specific diets on children with IBD or NAFLD.
Effect of diet on infectious disease & vaccination
Poor diets and living conditions are thought to contribute to the low efficacy rate of oral vaccines in sub-Saharan Africa. In Africa 2.9 million children under the age of five will die from malnutrition each year and for those that survive nutritional deficiency takes a toll on their immune system. It is likely that prolonged malnutrition will also significantly alter the microbiome.
Current research is focused on investigating how different diets impact not just the host, but the microbiome and the pathogen and the effects on oral vaccinations.