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Does Our Diet Contribute to Sepsis Risk?

Posted On: 02-01-2019
Does Our Diet Contribute to Sepsis Risk?
A new study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, looks at how the Western diet can affect the severity and prognosis of sepsis.

Sepsis is the 11th most common cause of death worldwide. It’s the body’s reaction to fighting an infection and can results in shock and organ failure. A “Western” diet is characterized as being low in fiber and high in sugar and fat.

This study was conducted by Brooke Napier, an assistant biology professor at Portland State University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The study took place in the lab of Stanford University School microbiology and immunology professor Denise Monack, who was also named a senior author of the study.

The study looked specifically at two groups of mice, one of which was fed a diet high in fat and sugar, and low in fiber. This group of mice had higher mortality rates than the mice fed a normal diet, and also showed an increase in chronic inflammation and sepsis severity. According to Napier, this suggests that the dit itself contributed to the increased risks, and not other factors.

Napier indicates that these findings could be applicable to any high-fat diet, including popular weight loss eating plans like the keto diet. The findings also point to how to better care for patients—in hospital intensive care units, where sepsis rates are higher, physicians can potentially monitor a patient’s diet in order to intervene.

Going forward, Napier plans to study whether specific types of fats in the Western diet could be influencing sepsis risk.

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