FactSheet – Inflammation and Vitamin D

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Assignment 1

Requirements: Your task, using a maximum of 1 x A4 page (front and back) and no more than 1000 words is to prepare a ‘FACT SHEET’ which reviews the evidence linking obesity with systemic inflammation and the potential treatment of this inflammation with vitamin D.

Your fact sheet is aimed at a busy healthcare professional and so it needs to be both factual and succinct. Picture a GP sitting down at their desk to eat a 15 min lunch between patients – and they pick up your factsheet…

The factsheet can be divided into two parts:

Part 1: Review and describe the link between obesity and inflammation.
The basis of this link is discussed within the first lecture and associated resources.
Within part 1 you are also asked to briefly review the following biomarkers:
• Macrophages (focus on macrophage infiltration into obese adipose tissue)
• TNF alpha
• Nitric oxide production
• T cell function
These can be listed and described using a table format.

Part 2: Provide evidence on the effectiveness of treating inflammation with vitamin D Following a review of the literature you are asked provide evidence as to whether increasing vitamin D levels in an obese person might improve the functioning of the biomarkers described in part 1. The improvement may be the result of a variety of factors including weight loss. You are also asked to provide 3 tips/hints as to how vitamin D might be increased by an obese person. You can certainly refer to peak health bodies such as NSA, heart foundation or the Department of Health. Make your recommendations achievable and safe for the individual…the aim is to help the health professional help their patients and so the suggestions need to be “real”.

Learning outcomes of this assignment:

• When you have completed this first assignment you will have gained foundation knowledge of how obese adipocytes affect our entire body. You will learn that the body responds to adipocytes and nutrients as if they were pathogens. This response is called inflammation which you will also learn about in the first lecture.

• You will gain a good understanding of the basic mechanisms behind inflammation and the major phases of this response (described in the first lecture).

• You will learn that chronic inflammation increases a person’s risk of a huge range of diseases including CVD, diabetes, hypertension and cancer. This is why obesity is such a major problem in the health of modern civilization.

• The effect of vitamin D on the body is extremely complex and relatively poorly understood. In this assignment you will synthesize the current scientific knowledge regarding the role of vitamin D in obesity and inflammatory disease.

• You will also learn how to write technical content in a concise manner to a particular target audience. This is critical for writing the second assignment and also for your future career. Writing fewer words is significantly harder than writing more!

How to approach this assignment

Step 1.

Prepare your own FACT SHEET targeted towards a health care practitioner (i.e. nurse, medical practitioner, health promotion officer or dietician).

• Please note – the maximum page and word limit must also include all references

• Any pages in excess of the stated requirement will not be marked and you will also be penalized for not following the formatting instructions.
• No coversheet is required

Because your audience has a working knowledge of key concepts and terminology, you will not need to define all terms (such as “CVD”, “cancer” or “obesity”). However, people reading your factsheet have not considered how obesity might elicit a systemic immune/inflammatory response. Although the reader will have an understanding of vitamin D they will definitely benefit from reading the latest information about its role in these pathologies. They will also benefit from reading suggestions as to how to help their clients include more vitamin D in their diet (if that is indeed appropriate).

A note on referencing: Because space and words are limited I don’t require full referencing. Rather, I require enough information that anyone reading the fact sheet can find the article itself. Typically this means you need only include the first author, journal name (you can use the abbreviated journal name), publication date and first page. A DOI number is not enough. These can often be incorrect which then leaves the reader with no information for an independent search for the article (e.g. using the details provided to search through google).

Guide to assessment weighting

Markers will be using the rubric to assess your work. The following information is presented as a guide to the importance placed on each component of the factsheet.

1. Overview, aims and background (25%). Is the scope and purpose of the Fact sheet appropriate and well described? Does the background highlight the need for understanding the subject matter

2. Analysis (25%). Does the Fact sheet provide a succinct and accurate synthesis of current knowledge in this area? Are the experimental and clinical studies robust and described sufficiently?

3. Discussion/ Conclusion (25%). Does the main content of the factsheet bring together the key themes and provide valid recommendations to the reader? Based on aim of the factsheet are appropriate conclusions and the take home message(s) provided?

4. References (10%). Have the key studies been identified and included? Marks will be deducted if unsubstantiated, personal opinion or nutritional?supplement company webpages are used in the Fact sheet, as a source of factual information.

5. Presentation (15%). Is the formatting and presentation easy to read and visually appealing? Does the Factsheet make appropriate use of diagrams, graphs or tables that enhance the text?

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