my research project, I am studying the relationship between rheumatologic
autoimmune disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Fatty liver
is defined as fat build-up in the liver, and NAFLD refers to excess fat in the
liver of individuals who do not excessively consume alcohol. Fatty liver is a
common form of liver disease which affects about 25% of adults worldwide. Fatty
liver and/or NAFLD prevalence is expected to continue to increase because of
the rise of its risk factors (high blood pressure, type II diabetes, high
cholesterol, and high BMI) as well as the rise of the sedentary lifestyle and
am I interested in the relationship between NAFLD and rheumatologic autoimmune
disease? Preliminary data and surveys have shown that individuals with
rheumatologic autoimmune disease may have a higher risk of NAFLD. This may be
due to the inflammatory environment caused by autoimmune disease or medications
(e.g., corticosteroids) which are taken by autoimmune disease patients.
However, the relationship between these two diseases has not been studied nor
definitely proven. Furthermore, autoimmune disease is an inflammatory condition
which suggests that there may be immune system abnormalities. Therefore, I am
interested in determining whether inflammatory disease is correlated with
NAFLD. Also, I will determine if having a diagnosis of both NAFLD and rheumatologic
autoimmune disease is correlated with other factors such as age, gender, and
race/ethnicity. In addition, NAFLD prevalence will be determined by using
metabolic syndrome as a surrogate for NAFLD diagnosis.
me, a typical research day involves reading literature, analyzing data, and
using statistical software. Thus far, I have enjoyed learning about the complex
and interconnected relationship between inflammation, rheumatologic autoimmune
disease, NAFLD, and metabolic syndrome. I hope that the results of this
research can be useful for treating the patient population affected by NAFLD
and autoimmune disease. Furthermore, this project aligns with my future goals.
I have been enjoying the process of learning about autoimmune disease and
NAFLD. This project has not only solidified my interest in medicine, but has
made me even more excited to continue on this path.