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Approved Research

Inflammation-related lifestyle score and digestive disease risk with exploration of underlying pathways

Principal Investigator: Dr Jiali Zheng
Approved Research ID: 83432
Approval date: August 12th 2022

Lay summary

Chronic inflammation is one of the most important underlying mechanisms for digestive diseases. Several lifestyle factors such as diet, alcohol drinking, smoking, physical activity and psychological factors have been found to affect  digestive disease risk through modulating inflammation. So far, only dietary inflammatory potential was quantified, and given lifestyle factors are intercorrelated and have mutual interaction on health outcomes, it is critical to understand the overall inflammatory potential induced by all the inflammation-related lifestyles and assess whether and how lifestyle-induced inflammation may affect various digestive diseases. Therefore, our research project is aimed to develop a score called inflammatory lifestyle score (ILS) that can comprehensively quantify the inflammatory potential from multiple lifestyles as a whole and discuss relationships between the developed ILS and digestive diseases with exploration of underlying molecular mechanisms. Specifically, in this project, we will reach the following aims: 1) To develop ILS based on literature-identified inflammation-related lifestyle factors and CRP level measured at baseline of UK Biobank cohort using two different methods; 2) To investigate the relationship between the created ILS and digestive disease risk, and mainly focus on liver diseases; 3) To find out intermediate biomarkers through which inflammation-related lifestyles may affect digestive disease development; 4) To find genes that may enhance the effect of lifestyle-induced inflammation on digestive disease risk. This project will last about 36 months from data acceptance to  publications completion. The developed ILS from this project can be used as a scoring algorithm to assess the entire lifestyle-induced inflammation in different populations in the future which could help identify individuals with high digestive disease risk and facilitate decision-making about personalized lifestyle modifications. The exploration on the underlying mechanisms will help understand how the lifestyles as a whole increase the risk of digestive diseases through inflammatory pathways, which could contribute to identifying molecular or clinical markers for disease prevention.

Scope extension: Additionally, we want to investigate 4) how  inflammatory/healthy lifestyles may correlate with each other and the combined lifestyles consisting of diet, obesity status, smoking, alcohol drinking, physical activity, depression or anxiety, sleeping and baseline medical conditions in relation to major chronic diseases (including CVD, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, etc) and mortality outcomes ; 5) investigate how the combined lifestyles may interact with immunoinflammatory genes to influence development of major chronic diseases