Media Highlights 2020

Best Hospitals GI 2020 Badge

We are pleased and proud to share the news that UCLA Gastroenterology and GI Surgery placed #5 in the nation for the 2020-21 annual U.S. News & World Report rankings.

We are equally proud that U.S. News recognized our hospitals as #1 in California and #4 in the nation.

UCLA Health ranking


Video visits vs. in-person medical appointments: Which is better and when?
Kevin Ghassemi, MD, clinical chief of Beverly Hills & Westwood, Melvin and Bren Simon Digestive Disease Center, and Nancee Jaffe, MS, RDN, lead GI dietitian, were two of six UCLA health care professionals offering tips for getting the most out of telemedicine. UCLA blog post


UCLA receives $7.3M grant to build state-of-the-art facility for developing gene, cell therapies
A grant from the National Institutes of Health will help fund a new 13,000-square-foot facility, to be constructed in UCLA’s Center for the Health Sciences, which will provide a highly regulated environment featuring systems to manage air flow and filtering, laboratory spaces and bioreactors. The new facility is expected to be ready for use in 2023. It will replace a facility in UCLA’s Factor Building that UCLA scientists currently use for similar research. Eric Esrailian, MD, MPH, chief of the UCLA Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, is helping to lead the expansion of UCLA’s immunology and immunotherapy efforts. “It will be a cornerstone for UCLA’s commitments to building on existing strengths in the areas of immunology and immunotherapy and expanding toward the creation of a transformational institute in these fields,” he said. Read full article


Gen next – A new generation of entrepreneurial and innovative donors is stepping forward to carry UCLA Health's rich tradition of philantropy into the future
U Magazine celebrates Eric Esrailian, MD, MPH, chief of the Vatche & Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, Sean Parker, founding president of Facebook and founder of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, and Casey Wasserman, a sports marketing and talent entrepreneur, for their long engagement with UCLA. Dr. Esrailian brought his friends Parker and Wasserman together to talk about the impact of philanthropy on the future of medicine and science, their passion for giving and commitment to making a difference.


Yvette Taché, PhD, and Million Mulugeta, DVM, PhD, receive $2.7M NIH OT 2 grant for “Comprehensive structural and functional mapping of mammalian colonic nervous system”
Awarded by the SPARC program (Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions), this additional funding is directed to continuing research on neuronanatomical and functional mapping of pig and human colons under healthy conditions and in subjects with irritable bowel syndrome and opioid constipation. The knowledge of these nerve circuitries and activities will allow the targeting of selective neural structures to create more effective electroceuticals to treat colon diseases that are intractable to mainstay therapies. Conditions that may benefit from electroceutical treatment include inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), postoperative ileus, chronic constipation and colorectal dysfunctions. This is a multi-center collaboration with Simon Brookes, PhD, Flinders University, Gemma Mazzuoli-Weber, DVM, PhD, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Thomas Gould, PhD, University of Nevada, Reno, James Dunn, MD, PhD, Stanford University and Roberto Di Gorgio, MD, PhD, University of Ferrera. UCLA subcontract PIs include Lin Chang, MD, Catia Sternini, MD, and Wentai Liu, PhD, and co-investigators, Muriel Larauche, PhD, Pu-Qing Yuan, PhD, and Lixin Wang, PhD. More about the Taché Lab


Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation funds first studies on brain-gut-microbiome signatures of stress-related IBD symptom flares
Emeran A. Mayer, MD, director of the G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience, was invited to be part of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation’s Challenges in IBD 2018 Initiative, which has focused on the role of environmental triggers in IBD pathophysiology. This initiative has identified factors believed to play a role in IBD, such as diet, psychological stress, viruses and smoking. Together with Jenny Sauk, MD, medical director of the Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases and Jonathan P. Jacobs, MD, PhD, director of the Microbiome Core in the UCLA Microbiome Center, he received funding for one of the first studies resulting from this initiative, Brain-Gut-Microbiome Signatures of Stress-Related IBD Symptom Flares. The purpose of this longitudinal study is to identify biomarkers within the brain-gut microbiome axis that characterize a subset of IBD patients at higher risk for stress-related IBD flares. Early data provides compelling evidence of the relationship between higher stress perception and frequency of flares, as well as a measurable indicator of that subset of patients. More about the UCLA Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases


Emeran A. Mayer, MD, interviewed on Soul Science Nutrition podcast
Christine Okezie interviewed Dr. Mayer, director of the G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience, on how we can harness the power of the biological link between the mind and the digestive system to take charge of our health.


The real reason your stomach hurts
Lin Chang, MD, vice chief of the UCLA Vatche & Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, was quoted in a Parents article about stomach aches.


Dr. May was interviewed by ABC and BBC and wrote an opinion piece for CNN on how Chadwick Boseman's death shed a much needed light on colorectal cancer
The passing of Chadwick Boseman at the age of 43 sent shock waves through not just the Black community, but the entire world. Dr. Fola May, gastroenterologist and cancer researcher at UCLA Health and in the Veterans Health Administration and director of the GI Quality Improvement Program fat the Vatch & taman Mankoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, was interviewed on the importance of early detection and healthcare disparities that impact colorectal cancer detection and treatment.

CNN opinion piece - Chadwick Boseman's death she a much needed light on colorectal cancer  |  ABC 20/20 News Special “Chadwick Boseman: A Tribute for a King:" Colon cancer and its impact on BIPOC communities |  Dr. May More - Sree's Sunday #NYTReadalong, WITN-TVKNX Radio, and BBC World Service Radio, which was syndicated by NPR stations across the U.S.


Elizabeth J. Videlock, MD, PhD, receives Neurodegeneration Collaborative Pairs Pilot Project Award
Dr. Videlock, assistant clinical professor of medicine, received a Neurodegeneration Collaborative Pairs Pilot Project Award from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to study the role of Pink1/Parkin in the intestinal epithelium in collaboration with Ming Guo, MD, PhD, UCLA Department of Neurology. The Parkinson’s associated genes, Pink1/Parkin, have been implicated in mitochondrial function of neurons, but are also expressed in the gut, although little is known about their functional role. Drs. Videlock and Guo will use colon biopsy-derived tissue cultures and organoids to investigate the role of Pink1/Parkin signaling in mitochondrial function in the intestinal epithelium. The project is listed on the Neurodegeneration Challenge Network website. Research from Dr. Videlock’s laboratory can be found here.


Arpan A. Patel, MD, PhD, awarded grant from the VA HSR&D for the Study of Healthcare, Innovation, Implementation and Policy
Dr. Patel’s project, Detecting behavioral change among healthcare professionals regarding goals of care communication, was awarded a U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs Health Services Research & Development grant through the Center for the Study of Healthcare, Innovation, Implementation, and Policy (CSHIIP). Dr. Patel is an assistant clinical professor of medicine. Research from his laboratory can be found here


Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, recognized as one of "100 in 100" trailblazing women at UCLA Health and DGSOM
UCLA marked Women’s Equality Day by highlighting some of the trailblazing women at UCLA Health and the David Geffen School of Medicine who are making a difference in our world. Dr. May, director of the Melvin and Bren Simon GI Quality Program, was recognized as a national expert in cancer prevention research and a champion for health equity. She was recognized for her passion in improving awareness about health disparities and her involvement in advocacy at the state and national level to develop and encourage policy to improve health care delivery. More information on UCLA’s “100 in 100” women.


Health care workers of color are nearly twice as likely as whites to get COVID-19
Kaiser Health News interviewed Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, director of the Melvin and Bren Simon GI Quality Program and researcher at the UCLA Center for Cancer Prevention Control Research and UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity. Dr. May commented on a Lancet study on the impact of the novel coronavirus on health care workers of color. The article also appeared in HealthLeaders and News-Medical.


15-year grant renewed for additional five years - NIH SCORE (Specialized Centers of Research Excellence) U54 grant award
The University of California, Los Angeles SCORE Program, sex-related differences in brain-gut microbiome interactions in irritable bowel syndrome, was renewed for an additional five years. This SCORE proposal aims to gain a better understanding of the role of the gut microbiome and female sex hormones in the modulation of brain-gut microbiome interactions in two of the most common disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, irritable bowel syndrome and chronic functional constipation. To achieve this goal, it will study these interactions in (1) female patients during low estrogen states (perimenstrually, post menopausal); (2) by comparing these interactions to male patients and healthy control subjects; and (3) by studying gut microbial and brain mechanisms underlying the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy. Results are likely to lead to significant improvements in the treatment of these disorders. The SCORE principle investigators are Emeran A. Mayer, MD, director of the G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience (CNSR) and Lin Chang, MD, co-director of CNSR. Additional SCORE investigators include Bruce Naliboff, PhD, Arpana Gupta, PhD, Jennifer Labus, PhD, Jonathan P. Jacobs, MD, PhD, Swapna Joshi, PhD, Lisa Kilpatrick, PhD, Benjamin Ellingson, PhD, and Jason Kutch, PhD.

The NIH also funded an additional SCORE Program at UCLA — sex differences in metabolism — under the direction of Karen Reue, PhD, vice chair of human genetics. Our team, listed above, plans to collaborate closely with Dr. Reue’s group.


UCLA: Digestive Diseases Research Core Center (UCLA:DDRCC) awarded $5.75 million P01 grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI)
A team of researchers with the UCLA: Digestive Diseases Research Core Center will study the correlation between obesity, inflammation and pancreatic cancer. P01 grants support research programs that include multiple projects and investigators working together toward a common goal. The five-year study will be structured as three projects. Each project’s leader is highly experienced in the study of pancreatic cancer and a long-term member of the UCLA: DDRCC. The first project is overseen by Guido Eibl, MD, Department of Surgery, who will examine the inflammation of body fat and how this chronic condition can lead to pancreatic cancer. The second, led by Enrique Rozengurt, DVM, PhD, Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases and Hirshberg Memorial Chair in Pancreatic Cancer Research at UCLA, will focus on the use of medications, and their mechanisms, in helping to prevent pancreatic cancer from developing in high-risk people. The third project, led by Stephen J. Pandol, MD, of Cedars–Sinai, will study the pancreatic cancer microenvironment, which includes cancer tissues and surrounding tissues that support the cancer’s growth, to understand how the environment is changed as a result of obesity and inflammation. The UCLA research team also includes David Dawson, MD, PhD, Department of Pathology, Vay Liang Go, MD, Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases and O. Joe Hines, MD, Department of Surgery. All are members of the UCLA: DDRCC.


Berkeley Limketkai, MD, PhD, awarded funding by the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation to launch clinical trial
In a collaboration between the Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases and Center for Human Nutrition, Berkeley Limketkai, MD, PhD, director of clinical research for the Center for IBD, and Zhaoping Li, MD, PhD, chief of the Division of Clinical Nutrition, were recently awarded major funding by the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation to launch a clinical trial on the use of a UCLA-designed anti-inflammatory diet for the treatment of Crohn's disease. The multi-year study will also investigate the impact of diet on the innate immune profile, gut microbiome, bacterial metabolome, and microRNA signature of host-bacteria communication. Key UCLA investigators from the Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases include Harry Pothoulakis, MD, Jill Hoffman, PhD, Jonathan P. Jacobs, MD, PhD, and Jenny Sauk, MD. More about the UCLA Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases


Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, receives 2020-21 Ablon Scholars Award on behalf of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC) and the Broad Stem Cell Research Center (BSCRC)
Dr. May, director of the Melvin and Bren Simon GI Quality Improvement Program, was selected to receive a JCCC–BSCRC Ablon Scholars Award. The JCCC–BSCRC Ablon Scholars Program is generously funded by the Wendy Ablon Trust. The physician-scientists and other researchers who are selected as Ablon Scholars will expand our understanding of stem cells and help shape future stem-cell-based treatments with an emphasis on cancer and neurological disorders. Dr. May will receive $100,000 per year, for up to three years, to support direct research costs related to population medicine in cancer.


Six things for IBD patients to keep inmind whn it comes to medication, infusions, procedures and more during COVID-19
Inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, is an umbrella term for two conditions that cause chronic inflammation of the digestive tract: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Because IBD patients are often on an immune-suppressing medication to keep their disease in remission, many want to know if they are at increased risk for contracting SARS-CoV2 -- the virus that causes COVID-19 – or of having a severe course of the coronavirus disease. Article available on UCLA Health Connect blog


Six UCLA GI physicians named Best Doctors™
Earning a place as one of the Best Doctors in America is a singular honor. Best Doctors conducts an exhaustive, peer-reviewed survey of the medical profession, polling more than 50,000 medical experts in over 450 specialties and subspecialties worldwide. Only five percent of the doctors in any country are selected to become Best Doctors. These physicians have been recognized by other doctors as being among the best in their field.

Six UCLA GI physicians named Best Doctors™

Congratulations to Lin Chang, MD, Jeffrey L. Conklin, MD, Steven-Huy Han, MD, Dennis M. Jensen, MD, Sammy Saab, MD, MPH, and Myron J. Tong, MD.


15 UCLA GI physicians named Super Doctors™
Super Doctors uses a rigorous, multi-step process to identify health care providers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Only the highest-scoring doctors are included on the Super Doctors list.

Superdoctors Southern California 2020

Congratulations to Peter Anton, MD, Lin Chang, MD, Jeffrey L. Conklin, MD, Lynn Shapiro Connolly, MD, MSCR, Eric Esrailian, MD, MPH, Viktor Eysselein, MD, Steven-Huy Han, MD, Wendy Ho, MD, Dennis M. Jensen, MD, Rome Jutabha, MD, Thomas O. Kovacs, MD, Emeran A. Mayer, MD, V. Raman Muthusamy, MD, MAS, Sammy Saab, MD, MPH, and Kirsten Tillisch, MD.


Seven UCLA GI physicians named Rising Stars™
While the selection for process for Rising Stars is very similar to Super Doctors, no more than 2.5 percent of the doctors within their respective state or region are named to the Rising Stars list, compared to approximately five percent for Super Doctors.

Superdoctors 2020 Rising Stars Edition

Congratulations to Gina Choi, MD, Kevin Ghassemi, MD, Scott A. Hahm, MD, Ara Kardashian, MD, Stephen Kim, MD, Hamed Nayeb-Hashemi, MD, and Alireza Sedarat, MD.


Hamed Nayeb-Hashemi, MD, honored with 40 Under Forty Award
Dr. Nayeb-Hashemi, health sciences assistant clinical professor of medicine practicing in Westlake Village, was honored by the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce with a 40 Under Forty Award. The list comprises the 40 young professionals and their businesses who are being recognized as leaders in both their professions and their community.


How bacteria in your gut interact with the mind and body
Kirsten Tillisch, MD, chief of integrative medicine at the Greater Los Angeles VA, contributed to an article by The American Heart Association How Bacteria in Your Gut Interact with the Mind and body. To Dr. Tillisch, the body-brain link to the gut biome is important not just for what it might do in the future, but for what anyone can do with it now.


Acupuncture ma be effective at reducing indigestion symptoms
Kirsten Tillisch, MD, chief of integrative medicine at Greater Los Angeles VA and professor of medicine in the Vatche & Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, was quoted in a Healthline article about a study finding that acupuncture can help people who have a common form of recurring indigestion.


Alcohol abuse agitated by COVID-19 sitrring liver concerns
Medscape featured Sammy Saab, MD, MPH, in an article about concerns among clinicians that alcohol-related liver problems are increasing due to people drinking more while isolated at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Saab is head of outcomes research in hepatology and a professor of medicine and surgery in the Vatche & Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases.


Kirsten Tillisch, MD, continues to generate discussion with mindfulness-based stress reduction improves IBS symptoms article in Neurogastroenterology & Motility
Dr. Tillisch’s original article appeared in Neurogastroenterology & Motility on April 7. The research concluded that mindfulness-based stress reduction training was associated with robust improvements in GI symptoms and associated problems in participants with IBS. The study continues to be referenced in Health CentralEurekAlert!Science Daily and Head Topics. Dr. Tillisch is the chief of integrative medicine at Greater Los Angeles VA and professor of medicine in the Vatche & Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases


After years on the decline, hepatitis C is returning - primarily among millenials
Sammy Saab, MD, MPH, head of outcomes research in hepatology and a professor of medicine and surgery in the Vatche & Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, was quoted in a Discover Magazine story about the rise of hepatitis C among millennials.


UCLA Health Zone -  Colon cancer in younger adults
On May 2, Rimma Shaposhnikov, MD, spoke on colon cancer in younger adults, following the recent announcement that Baltimore Orioles outfielder Trey Mancini, 28, is being treated with chemotherapy for stage-III colon cancer. The UCLA Health Zone Show on iHeart Radio, with Dr. Phil Cohen, airs Saturdays, from 8 – 10 am on 570 AM. Dr. Shaposhnikov is an assistant clinical professor of medicine in the Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases.


A Bill of Rights for IBD patients
Berkeley Limketkai, MD, PhD, director of clinical research for the UCLA Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, was quoted in a Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News article by lead author David Rubin, MD, University of Chicago Medicine, that calls for a formalized document to bring together patient, provider and payor to help advance patient-centered care.


Meet the Master – Bennett E. Roth, MD – VideoGIE, April 2020 (Volume 5, Issue 4)
V. Raman Muthusamy, MD, MAS, medical director of endoscopy for UCLA Health, interviews Dr. Roth in a Meet the Master video, discussing his career in gastroenterology and his many significant contributions to the field. Dr. Roth is perhaps best known for his teaching and technical innovations, most visibly for the development and production of the Roth Net retrieval device, which continues to be an important endoscopic accessory used around the world. He was president of the ASGE from 1994 to 1995 and a member of the Governing Boards of the ASGE and ASGE Foundation. He has been the recipient of several awards and honors, including the Distinguished Service Award from the ASGE in 1999. He has published numerous articles, book chapters, and guideline statements and has given over 150 invited lectures and symposia. Read more and watch Dr. Roth's interview on Video GIE, the official video journal of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy


UCLA Robert G. Kardashian Center for Esophageal Health celebrates one-year anniversary
In recognition of April as Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month, UCLA Newsroom took a look at the work of the UCLA Robert G. Kardashian Center for Esophageal Health one year after its launch. The center specializes in holistic treatment, research and education for disorders of the esophagus. The center is named in memory of Robert G. Kardashian, a prominent Los Angeles attorney who died of esophageal cancer in 2003. UCLA Newsroom | People Magazine


UCLA Health Zone Show – Zantac recall
The UCLA Health Zone Show with Dr. Phil Cohen, which airs Saturdays on 570 AM, featured Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, director of the Melvin & Bren Simon GI Quality Improvement Program and researcher at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, on the Zantac recall and other ways to control acid reflux.


The impact of chronic idiopathic constipation on women
Healio featured Lin Chang, MD, vice-chief for the Vatche & Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, in a story about a national survey finding that chronic idiopathic constipation has a negative effect on women’s daily lives.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar donates 900 safety goggles to UCLA Health
As UCLA Health rallies the community to step up to support doctors, nurses and staff on the front lines combating COVID-19, NBA legend and UCLA Health ambassador Kareem Abdul-Jabbar answered the call in a very personal and generous way, donating 900 pairs of safety goggles. Eric Esrailian, MD, MPH, chief of the Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, accepted the donation from Abdul-Jabbar. Dr. Esrailian has been a leader in UCLA Health’s effort to raise funds for supplies, equipment and innovative research during this COVID-19 crisis. He has created two COVID-19 funds: one to help patients and a second to help first responders. The story was carried on KNBC-TVKCBS-TVESPN, and more than 100 other outlets.


Video GIE – Dennis M. Jensen, MD
Dr. Jensen is internationally recognized for his research in diagnosis and endoscopic hemostasis of GI hemorrhage, primary and secondary prevention of GI bleeding, GI outcomes and health service studies, and technology-assessment research related to endoscopy and GI bleeding. Dr. Jensen has successfully mentored many young clinical, outcomes and endoscopy investigators in research and career development for over 35 years. In May 2012, Dr. Jensen was awarded the Rudolf V. Schindler award, the highest award of the ASGE. Read more and watch Dr. Jensen’s interview on Video GIE, the official video journal of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy


Kirsten Tillisch, MD, and Arpana “Annie” Gupta, PhD, publish book chapter in The Microbiome and the Brain
The newly discovered pivotal role of the intestinal microbiome in brain health, functionality, and resistance to disease is revolutionizing neuroscience. Through the contributions of some of the most forward-thinking researchers and clinicians in the field, The Microbiome and the Brain comprehensively reveals the leading edge of our understanding of the fundamental role of gut microbes and their metabolites in a wide array of diverse brain issues including Alzheimer’s disease, autism, multiple sclerosis and mood disorders. Mechanisms defining the brain-gut relationship are explored and the interpretation of relevant laboratory assessments are also discussed. Finally, novel therapeutic opportunities derived from this exciting science are presented. Drs. Tillisch and Gupta, from UCLA’s G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience, authored the chapter on the microbiome in mood.


Ulcerative colitis may be linked to missing gut microbe
Emeran A. Mayer, MD, director of the G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience, was quoted in a Healthline article about a study finding that ulcerative colitis may be tied to a missing gut microbe.


How do the bacteria in my gut affect my sleep?
Emeran A. Mayer, MD, director of the G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience, was quoted in an Everyday Health article about how gut bacteria affect sleep.


If you really want to optimize your diet, focus on fiber
Berkeley Limketkai, MD, PhD, director of clinical research for the Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, was quoted in an Elemental article about the importance of including fiber in your diet.


FDA says Boston Scientific’s new single-use scope a step forward
V. Raman Muthusamy, MD, MAS, commented in a Star Tribune story about a new single-use duodenoscope approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Muthusamy is a professor of clinical medicine and medical director of endoscopy at UCLA Health. More than 40 other media outlets carried the story.


Your body can regulate its own pH
Emeran A. Mayer, MD, director of the G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience, was quoted in Elemental about how the body can regulate its own pH (the level of acidic and basic compounds in the blood).


A patient's guide to hepatitis B
Sammy Saab, MD, MPH, professor of medicine and surgery and head of outcomes research in hepatology, was quoted in a U.S. News & World Report patient guide to hepatitis B.


Eight signs you should see adoctor about stomach pains
Priyam V. Tripathi, MD, MPH, UCLA gastroenterologist, was quoted in SELF about abdominal pain and when to consult a physician.


Berkeley Limketkai, MD, PhD, quoted in Time Health, Fall 2019
The lead article for the Fall 2019 issue of Time Health asked, “Are our guts getting worse?” There are many evidence-backed theories for why IBD is on the rise, but the broad adoption of the Western diet – replete with heavily processed, additive-laden and sugary foods – is one of the likeliest drivers, says Dr. Limketkai, director of clinical research for the UCLA Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. “The standard American diet has a high inflammation profile, and we know it causes or contributes to a range of conditions, including obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.”