Sunday, 28 October 2007

New diet to help with Chrons Disease and ulcerative colitis.

Dr Richard Gearry who is a senior lecturer at Otago Universitys Christchurch School of Medicine in New Zealand, has been working on a new low carbohydrate diet that could help people who suffer with Chrons disease and those with ulcerative colitis, both of which are forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

The low carbohydrate diet meant cutting back on wheat, onions, milk, ice cream, apples, honey and stone fruits. Legumes were also found to cause abdominal pain and diarrhoea. This study was carried out using 100 people from the at Box Hill Hospital in Victoria in Australia, who had a form of IBD (either crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis)

What happens sometimes is that some of the sugars and carbohydrates are not absorbed into the bowl as they pass though and the get into the colon where they can ferment and produce gas and thus pain. In the study the patients were put onto the diet for six to eight weeks. An important factor with this diet is that the taste is not too bad and it is easy to follow and so many people are able able to go through with it.

The findings from this study were presented to the Australian Gastroenterology Week conference in Perth and it is hope that it will help people who suffer with chrons disease and ulcerative colitis but other factors like exercise and stress may also be important.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Chrons Disease expert to talk to patients in the UK

One of the top experts in chrons disease is to hold an open meeting in London's East End.

National Association for Colitis and Crohn's Disease will hold the chrons disease meeting, which is scheduled for October 20 and is aimed at people who have crohn's disease and their families and the speaker, Dr Nilukshi Wijesurlya from the Royal London Hospital will talk about what happens to your biopsies and operation specimens

The meeting starts at 2pm at the Wingate Institute in Ashfield Street, Whitechapel, behind the hospital, very close to the Whitechapel Underground station.

There are about 150,000 people with Colitis and Chrons disease in the UK.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Chrons Disease Books and DVD's

Apart from loads of research on the internet, and talking to people who also have chrons disease, one of the best ways I have found in gathering information on Chrons Disease is through books.

The Chrons disease DVD's for sale (see below) are interesting and I must confess I haven't seen them yet, although I have ordered them. I would love to have any comments back from anyone who has watched them.

If you have read any really good books that have helped you with your chrons disease symptoms, please leave a comment and I will add it to the slide show below and hopefully others can benefit from your experience.

These books and DVD's on Chrons Disease are available from in the US

Chrons Disease Weight Gain with Infliximab

In a study at the University of North Carolina people treated with infliximab who have chrons disease experience weight gain which so far can not be explained.

Some chrons disease patients put on as much as 75 pounds. This is far more than any weight gain that had been witnessed in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and treated with infliximab.

Cristal Brown, a clinical research fellow at the University said that chrons disease patients were often malnourished and that this could help if the fight against crohn's disease, the difficult question to ask is that what if they were to push chrons disease sufferers into obesity and all the associated problems that come with that?

Chrons disease patients gained almost five times as much weight as patients with arthritis (4.97 kg versus 1.1 kg) and some Crohn's patients gained as much as 20 to 30 kg. There was no difference in weight gain between patients with luminal versus fistulous disease or by steroid use, baseline body mass index, smoking status, or chrons disease activity. These findings were based on the records on 92 people with Chrons disease and 51 rheumatoid arthritis patients. All of whom were at least 18 years old and who had received three or more infusions of infliximab.

Many Chrons disease patients would probably benefit from a small weight gain as the disease often led to some degree of undernourishment, but there is a need for a larger study to determine the cause of this weight gain and the role of leptin in the weight gain.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Stress and Chrons Disease

Many people often ask if stress can make the symptoms of Chrons disease worse?

To start off with, there is no hard evidence that stress can cause chrons disease in the fist place. It is true to say though that people who suffer with chrons disease do often experience the increased stress in their lives, mainly due to having to cope with a chronic illness.

There are also reports that people with Crohn’s disease have flare ups more often when they are going through a particularly stressful situation in their lives. The best advice if you feel that you feel that is a connection between your stress level and a worsening of your chrons disease symptoms, is to use relaxation techniques like slow breathing and possibly even meditation. Also as always, make sure you eat well, and correctly and get enough sleep.

Some books on chrons disease that I have found useful:

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Chrons Disease and Smoking

A study that was published in May 2007 in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, has shown a link between smoking and Chrons Disease.

The research seems to show that smoking may determine which part of your intestinal tract is affected in people who have Chrons disease. This is very important as where the chrons disease is situated often determines if the patient will need surgical treatment or not.

The research showed that people with chrons disease and who smoke, the crohn's disease seems to appear more often in the small intestine and not the colon. Chrons disease located in the small intestine is often more penetrating causing more damage and thus has to be treated by surgery more often. This research does ask a few important questions like why does smoking effect the different parts of your intestine in different ways.

There is a theory that the physical differences in small and large bowel may explain the differences in location of chrons disease in smokers. Whatever the case this seems to suggest that more research needs to be done on the effects of smoking and Chrons Disease.

Immune deficiency the likely cause of Ulcerative Colitis

Experiments being carried out on mice in the US at the Harvard School of Public Health have identified an immune deficiency as the most likely cause of ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis is a severe inflammatory disease of the colon and is similar to Chrons Disease. For the differences between Chrons Disease and Ulcerative colitis, take a look at my post on Is Chrons disease different to ulcerative colitis?

The research also showed that once mice had the disease, it could then be passed from mother to their offspring and even between adult animals. They also linked ulcerative colitis in mice to a deficiency of a molecule in the immune system, which would normally prevent harmful bacteria in the large intestine from breaking the bowel's protective lining and thus allow the damaging inflammation. A shortage of a protein called T-bet which usually regulates the harmful bacteria. This then allows the bacterial attack on the intestinal wall. This then causes the inflammation we know as ulcerative colitis that's identified by the open sores throughout the colon.

The details of this study is posted online in the journal Cell.

It is hoped that better understanding of Ulcerative Colitis will also lead to a better understanding of Chrons Disease and one day a possible cure.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Chrons disease treated with cancer drugs

US researches have said that treatment with new cancer drugs could help regulate body's immune system and thus help fight Chrons disease. The new cancer drugs, known as histone deacetylases inhibitors, or HDACs might work very well at blocking overactive immune systems in people with chrons disease and other autoimmune diseases.

The Chrons disease treatment would improve the immune system’s ability to regulate itself, according to Wayne Hancock of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In one study that has already been conducted on mice, the drug helped reverse and even prevent inflammatory bowel disease. This drug also prevented the rejection of heart transplants in other mice.

So far, the drug has mostly been used in studying cancer, but that could change and more tests could soon be done for diseases like Chrons disease.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Perianal Fistulas in Chrons Disease

What is a Fistulas?
Fistulas are pretty common is people who have Chrons disease, so what are they? Well basically they are abnormal connections or passageways between organs or vessels that should not normally connect to each other.

What Are Perianal Fistulas?
A perianal fistula is an abnormal connections (fistula) between the anus and rectum with another organ or vessel such as the skin or the vagina. This can be a very debilitating condition, and can lead to a big drop in the quality of life for anyone who has Perianal fistuals and Chrons disease as they can cause anal incontinence and / or infections.

According to research about 12 percent of people with chrons disease have Perianal fistulas, this is a huge amount as there are said to be at least half a million people with Crohn's disease in the US alone.

How are Fistulas treated?
Current treatments rely mainly upon surgery, which unfortunatly has a pretty poor success rate and is obviously very invasive. Anti TNF-alpha, is also used which only has a sucess rate (complete absence of fistulae) of only 36%.
So there is a huge need for another more effective and less invasive treatment for people who have chrons disease and fistulas.

Help with Fistulas on the way?
Possibly! A product with the catchy tilte of Cx401, is in development and is to be used for the treatment of perianal fistulas common in people with Chrons disease.

What is Cx401?

Cx401 uses stem-cells not derived from embryo's to treat perianal fistulas in Chrons and also non Chrons Disease patients. There has already been a Phase 2 clinical trial which has shown the effectiveness and the safety of Cx401. The Patent application has been submitted, and fingers crossed for all people with Chrons Disease who have perianal fistulas, if it is granted it could provide protection until the year 2025!

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Chrons Disease and Pregnancy

A few people have asked me to do a little research on the effects of having Chrons disease whilst pregnant, crohn's disease often affects women of childbearing age so it is a common problem. Here are my findings:

Risk of Preterm Birth
Recent studies have shown that having active chrons disease during your pregnancy raises the risk of having a preterm birth. I guess by "active" they mean that you are having a flare up? This risk was shown to be three times higher in women with active chrons disease.

This research was carried out at the Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark by Dr. Bente Norgard and colleagues. They examined the impact of chrons disease in 71 women with low to moderately high active chrons disease during their pregnancy and another 86 women with inactive Chrons disease during pregnancy (I guess this means remission?).

Good news
The good news is that the women with the active chrons disease during their pregnancy, were shown the risks of giving birth to a child of low birth weight and congenital abnormalities were not increased, compared to the women with inactive chrons disease.

SOURCE: American Journal of Gastroenterology, September 2007.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Chrons Disease Flare Up's

So what is a Flare-up in Chrons Disease?
Chrons disease is both a chronic and relapsing condition. The Chronic part means that it is ongoing and Relapsing means that occasionally your symptoms will flare-up (relapse). During the time that you have no or only a few symptoms, chrons disease is said to be in remission. The frequency of flare-ups and the amount of time chrons is in remission, varies from person to person. Often the first flare up is the worst, so atleast ther is some good news!

Tips on getting through a flare up
Flare ups can make you generally very ill especially in severe cases and should not be taken lightly and I would highly recommend that you go to a hospital or at least see your doctor.

If you can't get to either for some reason (If like someone I know was working in a remote location). The first thing you need to do stop what you are doing and get into a bed. In order to recover, your body needs rest, and by that it must be total rest. Dont do the washing, clean the kitchen or anything else. Obviously to do this you will need the total help of your friends or family.

You also need to go onto a clear liquid diet again you have to be strict with this one. Your stomach needs the rest in order to recover from the flare-up and go back into remission.

So what is a clear liquid diet?
Non-carbonated drinks. Carbonated drinks agrivate the intestines. It is VERY important to keep your body hydrated at all times so drink plenty of water, ideally you should sip water all through the day. At least once and preferably twice a day you should drink an energy drinklike Gatorade or Propel as these will help your body replenish electrolytes. Soup Broth, Jelly (Jell-O) and Popsicles (lollies). Dont eat pudding or ice cream.

After you are in bed, resting and fully hydrated you need to get someone to get you help from a doctor as you will need antibiotics and other medication. Chrons disease can be difficult to live with and manage and because you have an autoimmune disease, your life does sometimes have to revolve around the disease but you can help to try and maintain a healthy body and stomach by eating correctly, keep a positive mental attitude and keep chrons disease in remission.