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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Dietary fatty acids may influence flare-ups in MS, autoimmune disease

THE types of fatty acids in the diet may affect the severity and duration of flare-ups that people with multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases experience.

This was the conclusion a team of neurology researchers reached after finding that the length of fatty acids they fed to a type of mouse bred for the study of multiple sclerosis (MS) changed the function of T-helper immune cells in the gut so as to either intensify or alleviate the symptoms of the autoimmune disease.
The researchers - from the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg and the Ruhr University Bochum, both in Germany - report their findings in the journalImmunity.
Autoimmune diseases are conditions - often chronic - where the immune system attacks healthy cells and tissue, causing inflammation and pain.
There are dozens of different autoimmune disorders. Examples include lupus (where the body attacks connective tissue), rheumatoid arthritis (affecting the joints) and MS (affecting the central nervous system).
MS is a chronic disorder that can affect the brain, spinal cord and the optic nerve of the eye. As the disease progresses, people experience problems with balance, vision, muscle control and other body functions.
There is currently no consistent reporting and tracking of MS incidence and prevalence in the US, but estimates suggest there are around 400,000 Americans living with the disease.
While the exact cause of autoimmune disease is unknown, researchers are increasingly focusing on the gut and its bacterial colonies - the so-called microbiome - especially in relation to neurological disorders such as MS.
There is increasing evidence that the gut microbiome plays a key role in disease emergence and progression, and an important influencer of this is diet - a factor that has changed significantly in the industrialized world.

Short-chain fatty acids lessened symptoms of MS
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