Category Archives: Support Groups


Gut Fungus Suspected in Crohn’s Disease

People with Crohn’s disease may have a higher level of a certain fungus in their gut, a new study finds.
Scientists have known that gut bacteria may contribute to the development of Crohn’s, but the new study finds that this fungus may also play a role in the condition.
The findings could lead to new treatments for people with the disease, who may have such symptoms as severe abdominal pain, weight loss, fatigue and diarrhea.
“We already know that bacteria, in addition to genetic and dietary factors, play a major role in causing Crohn’s disease,” study co-author Mahmoud A. Ghannoum, director of the Center for Medical Mycology at Case Western Reserve, said in a statement. Previous research has shown that people with Crohn’s have an abnormal response to certain bacteria that live in the gut, he said. “While most researchers focus their investigations on these bacteria, few have examined the role of fungi, which are also present in everyone’s intestines,” Ghannoum added.
In the study, the researchers analyzed the microorganisms found in fecal samples from 20 people with Crohn’s, 28 of their relatives without the disease, and 21 people without Crohn’s who were not related to the 20 people with Crohn’s or their relatives. All of the participants were residents of Belgium or northern France.
The researchers found that the people with Crohn’s disease had significantly higher levels of two types of bacteria, called Escherichia coliand Serratia marcescens, and one fungus, called Candida tropicalis, compared with their healthy relatives and the other people in the study who did not have the disease, according to the study, published Sept. 20 in the journal mBio.
Although previous research in mice has suggested that this fungus may be involved in Crohn’s, this is the first time it has been linked to the condition in people, the researchers said.
Moreover, when the researchers examined these bacteria and fungus, they found that the three microorganisms worked together to form a so-called biofilm—a thin, sticky layer of microorganisms—that attaches itself to a portion of the gut. This biofilm could trigger the inflammation that causes the symptoms of Crohn’s disease, the researchers said.
The new study “moves the field forward,” said Dr. Arun Swaminath, director of the inflammatory bowel disease program at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, who was not involved in the study. “The really neat thing they have done is to show how [these microorganisms] actually interact together,” to form the biofilm, he said.
However, the study was conducted in a small group of patients in France and Belgium, and more research is needed to see if these findings would apply to patients in other countries, Swaminath said.

Credits: By Agata Blaszczak-Boxe, LiveScience


A New Care Plan for Crohn’s Disease

Combined treatments helped heal patients with Crohn’s disease

Septic perianal Crohn’s disease is a complication that has long been difficult to treat, but a new type of care plan may help.
Researchers at Penn State College of Medicine spent more than 10 years developing and testing a care plan that helps doctors decide how and when to treat patients with septic perianal Crohn’s disease.

Crohn’s disease is one of several inflammatory bowel disorders. Patients have severe abdominal cramping, bleeding and diarrhea. About 41 percent of patients with Crohn’s disease develop infected abscesses that become fistulas–open wounds that are very difficult to treat.

At one time surgery was the preferred treatment, but a medication called infliximab, know by the brand name Remicade, helped suppress the inflammatory condition in about 59 percent of patients. After a year, however, only 25 percent of the patients still experienced healing.

“What was thought to be a silver bullet of sorts for this problem really is not,” lead author Walter A. Koltun, MD, said in a press release.

Dr. Koltun is a professor of surgery at Penn State College of Medicine.

Despite the expense and possibility of significant side effects, many patients with Crohn’s disease stay on infliximab through fear the condition will become worse if they stop the medication. Dr. Koltun and colleagues have developed a care plan that helps doctors determine whether and when to continue the medication or to move to a surgical solution. The care plan is the first of its kind.

An analysis of 135 episodes of septic perianal Crohn’s disease found that 60 percent of the patients treated with the new care plan healed and remained healed for at least six months. Half of the remaining patients improved, but did not heal completely. The remainder did not heal and required surgery.

The researchers also analyzed genetic variations to see how they might affect healing, but results were not statistically significant.

“What we did with this study is look at a combined medical and surgical protocol for managing this problem, recognizing that there’s a role for the medicines, and there’s a role for the surgery,” Dr. Koltun said in the press release. “Our protocol provides a paradigm for when you perhaps should stop the drug and when to consider surgery with or without medication.”

The research and care plan were published in the June issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

Funding for the care plan was provided by the Carlino Fund for Inflammatory Bowel Disease Research.

None of the authors reported a conflict of interest.

An article from dailyrxnews, by Matt Wilson


Crohn’s disease: Potential treatment to prevent fibrosis uncovered

Scientists from the University of British Columbia in Canada have found a mutation that switches off a hormone receptor, which prevents mice from developing fibrosis. This discovery could lead to potential treatments to prevent fibrosis in people with Crohn’s disease.

Crohn’s disease is a long-term condition that causes inflammation to the lining of the digestive system. While the disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, the most commonly affected areas are the end of the small intestine (the ileum) or the large intestine (colon).

One of the main complications of Crohn’s disease is the development of fibrosis, which is where the intestines become blocked – by thickened and scarred connective tissue – and so narrow that food and feces are unable to pass.

Fibrosis takes place due to an overproduction of proteins – including collagens – that are usually involved in the tissue healing process.

Mutation turns off hormone receptor, prevents fibrosis

While there has been some success in treating the inflammation associated with Crohn’s disease, there are no effective drugs to treat fibrosis. Understanding how fibrosis occurs can help scientists to develop new medicines to treat patients.

Surgery and repetitive surgery is common and often required to restore proper digestion. Around 70 percent of people with Crohn’s disease will eventually need surgery. Approximately 30 percent of individuals who have surgery for Crohn’s disease experience recurrence of their symptoms within 3 years, and up to 60 percent will have a recurrence within 10 years.

Scientists infected mice with a type of salmonella that imitates the symptoms – including fibrosis – caused by Crohn’s disease.

The team found that a particular mutation prevented the mice from developing fibrosis and, furthermore, the mutation had switched off a hormone receptor that is responsible for inducing part of the body’s immune response – inflammation.

“We found what we think are the inflammatory cells that drive fibrosis,” says co-author Kelly McNagny, professor at the Department of Medical Genetics and co-director of the University of British Columbia (UBC) Biomedical Research Centre (BRC).

“The gene that was defective in those cells is a hormone receptor, and there are drugs available that may be able to block that hormone receptor in normal cells and prevent fibrotic disease,” he adds.

Reversing fibrosis may promote tissue regeneration

McNagny and colleagues indicate that their breakthrough could also be applied to other tissue types that experience fibrosis.

McNagny notes that the potential fibrosis prevention method could be used for conditions that result in tissue fibrosis such as liver cirrhosis, chronic kidney disease, scarring from heart attacks, and muscle degeneration.

“We think that we can potentially block complications of all these age-related fibrotic diseases by dampening these particular inflammatory cell types,” concludes McNagny.

Future work by McNagny and team will focus on testing drugs to observe if fibrosis can be stopped or reversed in mice.

This article published on by Hannah Nichols



IBD and Support

20140517_165353One thing I have learned from getting Crohn’s Disease is that you can not go through it alone.  For many years I went ignorant of what I had so when I had issues, I had no one to really talk to.  Growing up I didn’t know anyone that had IBD and worse, the people around me had no clue what IBD was. I can’t blame them since I had the disease and didn’t really know what it was either. Continue reading

A New Normal

603515_3678145960639_647107342_nHi! My name is Alicia and I am the Multimedia Director for Girls With Guts.  I have had UC/Crohns for almost 10 years now.  I have a complicated and LONG history with IBD but I’ll try and spare you with the gritty (and bloody) details. Continue reading

The Challenge of Acceptance

IMAG0836At 16, I was finally diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease after years of consistent symptoms.  My family took me to specialist after specialist to try to find a cause for my frequent “stomach upset” and chronic vomiting, but we never got an answer until my symptoms became so severe they almost killed me.

When I was 15, I had my first full-on IBD attack.  I use the word attack vs. flare because that’s what it felt like. It happened frighteningly fast. I lost control of my bowels and was passing nothing but blood and mucus, in addition to the Exorcist-style vomiting that left me dangerously dehydrated.  It wasn’t until a year later, when I started passing blood again that I had a series of tests that diagnosed me with severe Ulcerative Colitis.  Continue reading

Girls With Guts

GWG--527A picture frame sits on my desk at work and in it are the faces of my best friends. From left to right you’ll find Liz Jordan, Alicia Aliello, myself (Jackie Zimmerman) and Casey Greenwood, 4 of the 5 board members for Girls With Guts. Girls With Guts is a small non-profit that I founded in 2012 that supports women and children with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and ostomies. Our mission is simple, we don’t want anyone to feel alone on this journey. Continue reading