Burger arthritis: how fast food triggers the development of autoimmune diseases - ForumDaily
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Burger Arthritis: How Fast Food Triggers Autoimmune Diseases

More and more people around the world are suffering because their immune systems cannot distinguish between healthy cells and invading microorganisms. Defense mechanisms attack their tissues and organs instead. TheGuardian.

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Significant international research is underway to combat this trend, including an initiative by the Francis Crick Institute in London, where two world experts, James Lee and Carola Vinues, created separate research groups to help pinpoint the causes of autoimmune diseases.

“The number of autoimmune cases began to rise in the West about 40 years ago,” Lee said. “However, we are now seeing that some of them are appearing in countries that have never had such diseases before. For example, the largest recent increases in bowel inflammation have been seen in the Middle East and East Asia. Before this, they almost never developed such diseases.”

Autoimmune diseases range from type 1 diabetes to rheumatoid arthritis, intestinal inflammation, and multiple sclerosis. In each case, the immune system attacks healthy tissues instead of infectious agents.

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In the UK alone, at least 4 million people have these conditions, and some have more than one. It is currently estimated that the number of cases of autoimmune diseases is increasing by 3-9% per year. Most scientists believe that environmental factors play a key role in this growth.

“Human genetics have not changed in the last few decades,” said Lee, formerly of the University of Cambridge. “So something must be changing in the external world in such a way as to increase our susceptibility to autoimmune diseases.”

This idea was supported by Vinuesa, who previously worked at the Australian National University. She pointed to the changes in diet that were taking place as more and more countries switched to Western-style diets and people bought more junk food.

"Fast food diets are missing some important ingredients, such as fiber, and evidence suggests that this change affects the human microbiome - the collection of microorganisms found in our gut that play a key role in controlling various body functions," she said. Vinuesa.

“These changes in our microbiome then trigger autoimmune diseases, of which more than 100 types have been identified to date,” she added.

Both scientists emphasized that an individual's predisposition has been implicated in contracting ailments such as celiac disease, as well as lupus, which causes inflammation and swelling and can damage various organs, including the heart.

“Unless you have a certain genetic predisposition, you won't necessarily get an autoimmune disease, no matter how many Big Macs you eat,” Vinuesa said. “There is little we can do to stop the global spread of fast food franchises.” So instead we are trying to understand the fundamental genetic mechanisms that underlie autoimmune diseases and make some people susceptible and others not. We want to solve the problem at this level."

This task was made possible by the development of methods that now allow scientists to pinpoint tiny differences in DNA among large numbers of people. In this way, it is possible to determine the general genetic patterns among people suffering from autoimmune diseases.

"Until recently, we just didn't have the tools to do this, but now we have incredible power for large-scale DNA ordering, and that's changed everything," Lee said. “When I started doing research, we knew about half a dozen DNA variants that were involved in triggering inflammatory bowel disease. We now know of more than 250 copies."

This work is at the heart of Lee and Vinuesa's efforts to figure out how these different genetic pathways work and to uncover many different types of disease.

“If you look at some autoimmune diseases—lupus, for example—it has become clear recently that there are many different versions that can be caused by different genetic pathways,” Vinuesa said. "And that makes sense when you're trying to find the right treatment."

“We have many potentially useful new therapies that are constantly being developed, but we don't know which patients to give them to because we now realize that we don't know exactly what version of the disease they have. And this is now a key goal of autoimmune research. We must learn to group and stratify patients to give them the right therapy, ”she says.

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Lee also stressed that the rise in the number of autoimmune diseases worldwide has meant that new therapies and drugs are needed more than ever before.

“There is currently no cure for the autoimmune diseases that typically develop in young people as they try to complete their education, get their first job and start families,” he said.

“This means that a growing number of people will have surgery or have to have regular injections for the rest of their lives. This can be frustrating for patients and place a huge burden on health services. Hence, there is an urgent need to find new effective methods of treatment, ”he added.

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