My research interests concern evaluation of the effect of diet on health and disease focusing on the omega-3 fatty acids of marine and agricultural origin and their impact on inflammatory processes. The two primary foci of my research are in the areas of asthma and ovulation.
Though these two diseases are not directly related, they tied together through a class of compounds known as the eicosanoids. The leukotrienes, one side of the family are involved with asthma. Our research has identified classes within the asthmatic family that indicate that different types of asthmatics exist based on the metabolites involved and their responsiveness to omega-3 fatty acids. We are attempting to characterize asthma subtypes and develop diagnostic tools that will allow for clinical identification of type for more effective individualized treatment.
Ovulation is the best characterized inflammatory process and responds to diet similarly. Impaired fertilization affects approximately 4.9 million married and unmarried women in the US. Of that, 2.4 million meet the medical definition of infertility. Much of the problems with compromised ovulation may be associated with the disorder known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), affecting 6 – 10% of all women of reproductive age. The n-3 PUFA are proovulatory in the rat, an effect induced through alterations in the prostaglandins, another member of the eicosanoid family. Further, some drugs alter ovulation, depending on the dose or route of administration. It is my desire to ascertain to what degree diet and drugs may interfere with ovulation and by what mechanism. I would like to determine if diet can ameliorate PCOS related infertility and reduce insulin insensitivity, the development of type-2 diabetes, and increased incidence of endometrial, ovarian and uterine cancers along with hindered reproductive capacity.
Dr. K. Shane Broughton, PhD
Nutrition/Department of Family and Consumer Sciences
College of Agriculture
University of Wyoming
Laramie, WY 82071-3354