Clinical Programs

Clinical Programs

Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of several so called functional GI disorders lacking a reliable diagnostic biomarker and diagnosis currently relies on symptomology (chronic abdominal pain associated with altered bowel habits) meeting Rome IV criteria. Based on an extensive amount of scientific and epidemiological evidence, the syndrome is now recognized as a disorder of gut-brain interaction characterized by altered bidirectional interactions between gut and brain, with a modulatory role of the gut microbiota and female sex hormones involving multiple possible etiologies. Recent evidence suggests substantial interplay of gut motility and sensation, epigenetic, gut microbial, and possibly immune mucosal disturbances, along with altered central processing of visceral signals from the gut and psychosocial aspects.

Experienced clinicians in the Vatche and Tamar Manoukian UCLA Division of Digestive Diseases at UCLA provide a patient-centered care with a comprehensive, state-of-the-art evaluation and treatment approach. Patients are primarily seen in Westwood but also at the other UCLA Health outpatient GI clinics in the greater Los Angeles area.

Mental Health and Pain Management

The importance of mental health for both children and adults has never been clearer than in recent years. Nor has the importance of discovering new approaches to prevent and alleviate suffering from the wide range of mental health problems that confront our community. In a similar way the devastating costs of inadequately treating chronic pain have become a national tragedy and have spurned new efforts to understand and develop pain therapies. The Mental Health and Pain Research Program of the Goodman-Luskin Microbiome Center is involved in cutting edge research in these areas and is part of the wider UCLA Health System programs for both mental health services and pain management. The Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA is widely considered to be the premier psychiatric hospital in the western United States and along with its affiliated specialty programs provides comprehensive inpatient and outpatient services for all types of mental health issues, from serious mental and neuropsychiatic disorders to more common anxiety and stress related issues. The UCLA Comprehensive Pain Center is located in the Anesthesiology Department and offers pain treatment services from diagnosis to interventional pain procedures to behavioral interventions. 

Obesity, Metabolic Disorders and Eating Behavior

The prevalence of obesity has risen to its highest levels in history. Obesity and its related comorbidities are the leading medical problems of developed countries worldwide. Unfortunately, there is a paucity of efficacious and easily adaptable treatment options to combat this growing epidemic. One reason is because research is still underway to help explain the pathogenesis of obesity. Recent evidence suggests a substantial role of the gut, its microbiome, and the brain in the development and progression of obesity. The brain gut microbiome system is this interconnected network between the brain and the gut microbiome and its related-metabolites and hormone signaling. Research has shown the brain gut microbiome system to be integral in the development of food addiction, weight gain, metabolism, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, metabolic syndrome, and insulin resistance. 

Experienced clinicians at UCLA Health have partnered with seasoned researchers to explore the field of the brain gut microbiome system and how it effects obesity and obesity related comorbidities. Research and clinical care is focused on helping patients have better understanding and control over their weight. Patients can be seen at the Center for Obesity and Metabolic Health (COMET). Patients are primarily seen in Westwood but also at the other UCLA Health outpatient GI clinics in the greater Los Angeles area including the West Los Angeles Veterans Affair Hospital System.