The AGA Research Foundation offers its flagship grant, the AGA Research Scholar Award, to the most promising early career investigators. Kyle Staller, MD, MPH, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, is no exception. We’re thrilled to highlight Dr. Staller – a 2016 AGA Research Scholar Award winner — as our AGA Research Foundation researcher of the month.
The Staller lab’s AGA-funded project is specifically focused on the risk factors for fecal incontinence, which have not been well studied. One in 10 women over age 80 suffer from this debilitating condition. Dr. Staller looked at the lifestyles and dietary factors of female study participants in research databases to determine whether they were predisposed to developing fecal incontinence beyond the usual risk factors such as childbirth, which can cause injury to the pelvic floor, and diabetes. Dr. Staller believes that understanding and modifying risk factors could decrease the chance, or even prevent, women from developing this condition.
With his AGA Research Foundation grant, Dr. Staller found that consuming dietary fiber in higher quantities, and increasing moderate exercise up to a point, lowered the risk of developing fecal incontinence. “This tells us that not only is fiber healthy but also preventative to fecal incontinence,” he said.
Dr. Staller says that he became interested in this area of study after patients, who were getting excited about their impending retirement or enjoying their retirement years, developed this life-altering condition. His compassion for his patients inspired him to study the factors leading to fecal incontinence, which will likely become more prevalent as the U.S. population ages.
Dr. Staller is using the baseline data from his AGA Research Foundation grant to support his application for a 5-year NIH grant designed to help young investigators learn new research skills to further their careers.
Read more and get to know Dr. Staller by visiting.
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