Inflammation is becoming recognized as a primary factor in the development of a wide number of chronic disease conditions. A certain level of inflammatory response is needed to protect us from invading organisms (bacteria, viruses, and parasites) and to treat traumatic injuries. However, left unchecked, it can continue to wear down every organ in the body. This can lead to chronic diseases, especially in the heart, brain, and immune system.
There are two types of inflammation. The first is classic inflammation that is associated with pain, swelling, and redness. This can be characterized as screaming pain since it is very obvious and calls for immediate intervention. The other type of inflammation is silent inflammation or silent pain that is far more insidious. It doesn’t generate the pain associated with classic inflammation and therefore goes untreated for years. We now know that this silent inflammation is the underlying cause of heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Virtually every type of chronic disease has a significant inflammatory component as its underlying cause. A primary focus of modern medical research remains the reduction of both classic and silent inflammation.
If silent inflammation is the underlying cause of chronic diseases that take years, if not decades to develop, then why not simply take anti-inflammatory drugs on a lifetime basis to quell excess inflammation? The obvious problems are the side effects (osteoporosis, immune suppression, and death) that these drugs generate. In fact, deaths in the United States from prescribed use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs exceed the number of deaths from AIDS.
What is required is a new approach to reducing inflammation without the side effects created by anti-inflammatory drugs. This can be achieved by the combined use of a low-glycemic-load diet and ultra-refined EPA/DHA concentrates. The combined use of these two dietary interventions can keep silent inflammation under control for a lifetime without side effects. It is the mission of the Inflammation Research Foundation to determine the extent that this dietary anti-inflammatory approach can be applied to the treatment of a wide number of chronic disease conditions.
The unique aspect of this foundation is that donors have the opportunity to determine which general chronic disease areas that they would like their donation to be applied to for current and projected clinical studies.
Dr. Sears founded the non-profit Inflammation Research Foundation in 2003 to fund clinical trials to demonstrate the potential of the anti-inflammatory Zone Diet and high-dose EPA/DHA concentrates to treat a wide number of chronic disease conditions.
Listed below are some of the recent studies that have been funded by the Inflammation Research Foundation:
- Treatment of ADHD. This completed trial (Sorgi et al Nutr J 6:16 ) demonstrated that high-dose fish oil has a significant impact on improving behavior within four weeks.
- Reduction of inflammatory parameters in high-risk patients. This completed trial (Johnston et al Am J Clin Nutr 83: 1055 ) demonstrated that the Zone Diet has a significant improvement in reducing cardiovascular parameters compared to the Atkins’ diet.
- Treatment of pediatric obesity. This undergoing trial is being conducted at the Las Vegas Heart Center.
- Up-regulation anti-metastatic proteins in patients with prostate cancer. This trial at Harvard Medical School is nearing its completion.
- Improvement of outcomes in patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation for throat cancer. This trial at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School is currently recruiting patients.
- Treatment of childhood depression with high-dose fish oil. This trial at the University of Cincinnati Medical School is currently recruiting patients.
- Reduction of side effects of statin treatment. This trial at the University of Guelph in Canada is currently recruiting patients.
- Reduction of inflammatory parameters associated with breast cancer in high-risk patients. This is a multi-national trial both in the United States and China.
As we move forward in the 21st century, we are at the crossroads in terms of how we treat chronic disease, retard the aging process, and reach our full genetic potential. The Inflammation Research Foundation plans to demonstrate the efficacy of using medically validated nutritional interventions that significantly alter a number of chronic disease conditions that are both life-altering and life-threatening. It is our principal objective to provide the on-going research support that argues forcibly for the use of medically validated nutritional interventions that can be immediately and routinely applied for reversing the crippling effects associated with life-threatening chronic diseases.