Scientists have said that the increased prevalence of autoimmune diseases worldwide can be attributed to Western-style diets.
In an interview on Sunday, James Lee and Carola Venuesa of the Francis Crick Institute in London said they are working to identify the exact causes of autoimmune diseases.
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“The numbers of autoimmune cases started increasing about 40 years ago in the West,” Lee told the Guardian Observer. “However, we are now seeing the emergence of some in countries that did not have such diseases before.”
While more and more people’s immune systems can no longer tell the difference between healthy cells and invading microorganisms, Lee and Vanessa have set up research groups.
Lee said the largest recent increase in IBD was in East Asia and the Middle East, which had previously “hardly seen the disease.”
The Cleveland Clinic reports that fast food can raise blood pressure, raise cholesterol, lead to weight gain, drain energy and affect a person’s mood.
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that from 2013 to 2016, 36.6% of adults ate fast food on a given day.
“Fast food meals lack certain important ingredients, such as fiber, and evidence suggests that this change affects a person’s microbiome — the group of microorganisms in our gut that plays a key role in controlling various bodily functions,” Venuesa said. Director.
“These changes in our microbiomes then lead to autoimmune diseases, of which more than 100 types have now been discovered,” she added.
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Lee and Vinosa added that those without a particular genetic sensitivity would not necessarily develop autoimmune diseases even if their diet consisted of only junk foods.
In order to identify genetic differences and understand the mechanisms that “support autoimmune diseases and make some people susceptible but others not,” scientists have developed special techniques that allow them to identify common genotypes.
“Until very recently, we didn’t have the tools to do that, but now we have this amazing power of large-scale DNA sequencing and that has changed everything,” Lee continued. “When I started doing research, we knew about half a dozen DNA variants that are involved in triggering IBD. Now we know more than 250.”
While therapies are being developed, defining which patients need them is not always straightforward, and treatment is needed now more than ever.
“Currently, there are no treatments for autoimmune diseases, which usually develop in young people – while they are trying to complete their education, get their first job and start families,” he added. “This means that increasing numbers of people will face surgery or will have to have regular injections for the rest of their lives. It can be bleak for patients and an enormous strain on health services. Thus, there is an urgent need to find new and effective treatments.”
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According to the Cleveland Clinic, some autoimmune diseases include lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.
Johns Hopkins University shows that autoimmune diseases affect 23.5 million Americans, nearly 80% of whom are women.