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The Role of Nutrition in the Manifestation of Tuberculosis in Vulnerable Populations

Laken Edwards
Laken Edwards
Faculty Advisor(s)

Mycobacterium tuberculosis gives rise to an airborne pathogen that develops into Tuberculosis Disease (TB). As it spreads via the air, it can be inhaled as infectious particles which can infiltrate the lungs. If the infection progresses, Mycobacterium tuberculosis can enter the bloodstream and spread to vital organs including the kidneys, spine, and the brain. If an individual has a compromised immune system because of underlying health conditions such as human immunodeficiency virus or diabetes mellitus, there can be an increased risk of developing active TB. This risk may be higher in populations where there are elevated cases of malnutrition, frequent traveling to other countries, and a variation in TB screening measures among countries. The social determinants of health provide a basis for understanding the impact of malnutrition and how it can contribute to immunocompromisation, which results in an increased risk of developing active TB. A deficiency in macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals can increase TB transmission rates through immunocompromisation. This is why it is imperative to implement nutritional interventions in populations where malnutrition and TB are prevalent.


Laken Edwards is from Elkin, NC, and is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry with a minor in Nutrition. While at Salem, Laken has used her personal interests in health and nutrition to grow a knowledge base on how nutrition can deeply impact one’s health. Laken acts as treasurer to the Salem College Mortar Board Chapter, is Co-president of the American Chemical Society, is a Quest Tutor, and Exam Co-chair. She is exploring options within the medical field and plans to apply to graduate school or professional school in the future.


Laken--Very proud of you for bringing your love of literature to a science talk! Never, ever let go o your love for arts!

Submitted by Paula_Young on Tue, 04/09/2024 - 10:56 Permalink