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This Week in Crohn's
This Week in Crohn's

Welcome to This Week in Crohn’s, a weekly roundup of the best blog posts, studies, and news about Crohn’s disease.

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This Week in Crohn’s: October 22, 2012

This week’s Crohn’s update includes Stelara use for Crohn’s treatment as well as Psoriasis, the mental health and disease connection, colonics, the future, and more.

Studying the Inflammation and Depression Connection

Depression is not uncommon for anyone with IBD to struggle with at some point in time throughout the cycle of their illness. The sadness and anxiety that follow can be crippling for most every day people, couple those symptoms with a chronic disease and you will have a very unhappy camper. Medical practitioners are starting to take a more pro-active approach to treating IBD patients with depression rather than dismissing it, however that is not enough.

The Sacramento Bee reported researchers are starting to correlate heightened inflammation levels with depression symptoms. Not only this, they also started tracking patients taking Infliximab (Remicade) to see how their inflammation markers were in comparison to their depression symptoms. Obviously Remicade is not a cure-all, but this study is a good start for researchers and patients to take a closer look at finding ways to reduce inflammation through diet to reduce or eliminate depression. Science is neat.


Great News for Patients With Resistance to Other Biologicals — Recent Study Shows the Psoriasis Treatment Known as Stelara Can Be the Next Infusion Drug for Moderate to Severe Crohn’s Disease

Ustekinuma, more commonly known as Stelara, has recently undergone a clinical study sponsored by Johnson & Johnson sub-company Janssen Research & Development and the findings for treatment of moderate to severe Crohn’s disease are promising! They were even published in the New England Journal of Medicine. For patients who over the years have developed antibodies against other biological agents such as Humira and Remicade, the options begin to dwindle, but fear not Stelara may be the answer.

Before you read this article, I want to point out that one person in the study was diagnosed with basil cell carcinoma (skin cancer) during the drug trial, but that doesn’t mean the drug caused the cancer. If a person catches a cold, breaks a bone, has a heart attack or in this case is diagnosed with cancer, it has to be reported during the clinical trial. That however, doesn’t mean the drug was directly responsible.


Get a Better Understanding of IBD Laboratory Markers Thanks to the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Library of Medicine

Inflammatory markers are used by doctors of IBD patients to predict an oncoming flare, a patient currently suffering from one or a patient in remission. These markers come from blood samples and are obtained by a much less invasive means.

The fun thing about getting blood work done (there’s got to be something positive right?) is that your results come back fairly quickly and sometimes you even get to take a gander. The only problem is that if you aren’t a healthcare professional, you probably aren’t sure about what you’re reading. That is, until now. This handy article from the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Library of Medicine helps explain why inflammatory markers are used in IBD treatment and how to better understand them.


Australian Doctor Breaks Down the Facts About Colonics

Thanks to living with IBD, many of us are sent emails about possible treatments by caring friends and family. Some are about diets, life-style modifications, and others include outside-of-the-box practices like colonics — where a tube is inserted in the anus and a high-pressure stream of water is used to flush waste out of the colon. At its surface, the practice makes sense. You are ridding the body of waste. But that doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

In this article, Dr. Graham Newstead starts off with a brief history of colonic therapy; it’s fascinating how far back this practice goes. He gets into the nitty gritty of the practice itself. Newstead, the head of the Prince of Wales Private Hospital’s Colorectal Unit, lays out the facts in a very easy-to-read and realistic way that doesn’t come across as a practitioner dead-set against a nontraditional practice.


Herbal Treatments for IBD

The main component of Crohn’s disease, as well as a variety of other chronic conditions, is inflammation. It’s no secret that herbs and certain foods can help reduce inflammation in the body. This article specifically focuses on Cinnamon and its positive contributions toward inflammatory diseases and symptom stabilization.

It’s important to note that this is not a replacement for medication; this is more of a way to help naturally stabilize your body.


If It’s Not One End, It’s the Other —Washington Times Blog Talks About the Crohn’s and Mental Health

Author of this article, Jacqueline Marshall, makes a great point, “If it’s not one end, it’s the other.” So true. She brings up the relationship between Crohn’s, the feelings of anxiety and helplessness, and the potential for depression to set in. She also points out that this is more common in Crohn’s than in other chronic illnesses. Throughout the article, Marshall examines the symptoms of depression versus Crohn’s, how you can help someone or yourself, and she discusses the potential for seeking medical help from a mental health professional. 

And guess what, ya’ll — at the end of the article Marshall even said you can “find a colossal amount of good information” on none other than Healthline!

The Annenberg Digital News’ Website, Neon Tommy Talks Living With Crohn’s Disease

It’s not often a college-run newspaper will devote an entire article to living with Crohn’s disease, but the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism’s student-run Annenberg Digital News did. The article features two young adults with Crohn’s, how the disease has affected their lives and what they are doing to guarantee they can afford treatment in the future. The article highlights two different kinds of mental struggles young adults face when they are about to age-out of their family’s insurance plans —jumping right into a career for the benefits, and trying to attain as much education as possible in hopes of getting a good job with even better benefits. It’s articles like this that help others know they are not alone in their struggles.


Genetic Testing for Crohn’s Is in Its Infancy, but a Theoretical Study Is Aiming to Provide a Model for Family History + Genetic Testing to Help Assess Risk

If you ask someone with Crohn’s if anyone in their family has it, they may not say yes right away but they are very likely to mention they think they have a family member or two who probably had it. Answers like that are not very helpful for the medical community. Because Crohn’s is such a tricky disease to deal with let alone diagnose, there are many who go untreated. Therefore, family histories are not entirely accurate. This article helps break the myth between family history and genetic testing.

In regard to Crohn’s the article explains, “For less common diseases involving many weak genetic factors, such as Crohn's disease, knowing family history seldom helps in making a risk prediction, in part, because these diseases are uncommon enough that they would rarely show up in the immediate family health history.” And it further explains, “Crohn's disease might not show up in a family history, but the risk prediction from a genetic test can be relatively more informative.”


Gut Protein “T-Bet” Discovered in British Study That May Hold the Key to a Healthy Balance Between Immune Response and Intestinal Bacteria

Although in its infancy, this study currently using mice has led researchers at the King’s College London how a protein called T-bet plays a vital role in maintaining the balance of a healthy gut. From this data, scientists have a better understanding of how a person can develop the disease. However, this information is important for the future of Crohn’s and UC patient treatments. The goal for researchers now is to figure out a way to activate T-bet in order to stop the immune response that occurs when the protein is removed from the mice. Fascinating stuff.


Get a Better Understanding of Crohn’s and What’s Going on in the World of Treatment

Recently, Healthnewsdigest.com (HND) interviewed Dr. Joel R. Rosh, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Roth reviewed with HND how exactly Crohn’s works, symptomology and how the PillCam SB is improving diagnostic results.


The Future Will Hold Lots of Things — Personalized Medicine for Crohn’s May Be One of Them

Although not available for the treatment of Crohn’s or UC yet, recent advances in medicine and science are paving the way to help map personalized treatment for Crohn’s and UC through the types of bacteria found in the gut. This type of treatment is similar to the kind used to treat certain forms of invasive breast cancers. The reason researchers were able to develop this treatment was that they were able to identify certain components unique to the disease. So it is the hopes of IBD researchers that through testing, data, and identification of all strains of bacteria found in the gut that they will be able to cater specific treatments to IBD patients. Although this process is a few years to a decade out, it is the promise of hope that keeps many of us going.


National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) Sets New Guidance Standards for Better Guidance on How to Better Manage Crohn’s Patients

From drug protocols and side effects, to patient opinions, doctors are being given a better set of standards to manage their patient care. Some of the guidance provided by NICE includes remission drug management protocols for patients, such as which drugs should be used for maintenance purposes. The standards also include that physicians should discuss specific side effects of treatments, and they need to include their patient’s concerns within medical notes. There are more guidelines and Nursingtimes.net does a great job giving the highlights. This is a big win for the Crohn’s patient community, check it out.


Looking for Ways to Raise Awareness for IBD, Help Raise Funds for a Cure, and Meet Others Who Go Through the Same Trials You Do? Get Involved! 

Here is a list of events you can get involved with to help raise awareness, funds and endorphins:

Get Your Guts In Gear (GYGIG)

Each ride averages 70 miles a day and has 2 overnight camps. During the Ride, you will receive support from GYIG staff and an all-volunteer crew. You will also get to participate in an opening ceremony, as well as be provided with meals and route support, including fully stocked rest stops, sweep vehicles, and baggage transport between camps. In order to participate in the 2-day long ride, the requirements are an $85 registration fee and fundraising of at least $1,250. For more info you can call 1-718-875-2123 or e-mail the GYIG folks at info@ibdride.org.

Team Challenge Crohn’s & Colitis

Team Challenge is the CCFA’s endurance training and fundraising challenge. Participants can run or walk 13.1 miles or train for a triathlon or cycling event while helping to find a cure for Crohn’s disease and UC. Visit the http://www.ccteamchallenge.org/ page to determine which event you’d prefer to participate in and then go from there. If you aren’t sure about forming your own team, that’s okay they can help hook you up with one. Pretty cool right?

Take Steps Be Heard for Crohn’s & Colitis 

This is another CCFA event involving walks held all over the nation. One of the great things about this event is that is usually held in the same place at the same time, every year. This means that participants can fundraise all year long; up until the very day of the walk. The CCFA provides team captains and their fellow walkers with fundraising ideas and support. So if you want to go big on your fundraising efforts you will have the help of the CCFA to guide you. To learn more about the Take Steps Walk visit their FAQ page or fill out their Request More Information Page.

Have a favorite charity that we didn't mention? Send us your suggestions at: tracyr@healthline.com 

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