Breastfeeding is important for the development of the immune system of the infant. Emerging data suggest that vitamin D plays an important role in immunity as well. Exclusively breastfeeding mothers and their infants will be studied in a 3-month (4-study visit) pilot study of vitamin D supplementation versus placebo. Longitudinal effects of vitamin D status on breast milk composition and on the infant's immune system will be examined.
Additionally, exclusively breastfeeding mothers who are currently on vitamin D supplementation will be studied at a single visit, at which mothers will provide a single breastmilk sample and have a single blood sample obtained. These samples will be used to examine effects of vitamin D supplementation on breast milk composition.
Keloid disease predominantly affects African Americans, Hispanics and some Asians. Keloid disease is characterized by an overgrowth of an area of the skin following some injury to that same skin area. It is unknown why this occurs. However, we believe that differences in Vitamin D along with dysfunction in certain immune system receptors can lead to keloid disease. To further understand this process we intend to study the cells (fibroblasts) in the skin that are affected by Vitamin D and examine the specific immune proteins.
The Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) in Gullah Health, or SLEIGH, study is an observational study enrolling African Americans from the Sea Island communities of South Carolina and Georgia. We are enrolling patients, family members of patients, and unrelated community members. SLE is a potentially severe disease that can affect the entire body. SLE is more common in African Americans than Caucasians. The main purpose of this study is to find genes that, along with factors from the environment, result in the development of SLE. Volunteers in SLEIGH will be asked to answer questions about their health and have blood and urine collected for tests. After the first visit there may be one additional visit 2 or more years later. This is not a drug study.