Related topics: inflammatory bowel disease

Scientists sleuth out proteins involved in Crohn's disease

( —University of Delaware researchers have identified a protein, hiding in plain sight, that acts like a bodyguard to help protect and stabilize another key protein, that when unstable, is involved in Crohn's disease. ...

Scientists use nanotechnology to hunt for hidden pathogens

Researchers at the University of Central Florida have developed a novel technique that may give doctors a faster and more sensitive tool to detect pathogens associated with inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn's disease.

Vitamin D supplements could fight Crohn's disease

( -- A new study has found that Vitamin D, readily available in supplements or cod liver oil, can counter the effects of Crohn's disease. John White, an endocrinologist at the Research Institute of the McGill ...

Crohn's disease

Crohn's disease (also known as granulomatous colitis and regional enteritis) is an inflammatory disease of the intestines that may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract from anus to mouth, causing a wide variety of symptoms. It primarily causes abdominal pain, diarrhea (which may be bloody), vomiting, or weight loss, but may also cause complications outside of the gastrointestinal tract such as skin rashes, arthritis and inflammation of the eye.

Crohn's disease is an autoimmune disease, in which the body's immune system attacks the gastrointestinal tract, causing inflammation; it is classified as a type of inflammatory bowel disease. There has been evidence of a genetic link to Crohn's disease, putting individuals with siblings afflicted with the disease at higher risk. It is understood to have a large environmental component as evidenced by the higher number of cases in western industrialized nations. Males and females are equally affected. Smokers are three times more likely to develop Crohn's disease. Crohn's disease affects between 400,000 and 600,000 people in North America. Prevalence estimates for Northern Europe have ranged from 27–48 per 100,000. Crohn's disease tends to present initially in the teens and twenties, with another peak incidence in the fifties to seventies, although the disease can occur at any age.

There is no known pharmaceutical or surgical cure for Crohn's disease. Treatment options are restricted to controlling symptoms, maintaining remission and preventing relapse.

The disease was independently described in 1904 by Polish surgeon Antoni Leśniowski and in 1932 by American gastroenterologist Burrill Bernard Crohn, for whom the disease was named. Crohn, along with two colleagues, described a series of patients with inflammation of the terminal ileum, the area most commonly affected by the illness. For this reason, the disease has also been called regional ileitis or regional enteritis.

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