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Colitis patients diagnosed later in life tend to have better disease outcomes
Date:8/2/2010

kers, compared with only 13.5 percent of the younger patients. Smoking is a well-known risk factor for colitis.

"We know from research by other investigators that as people age their immune systems tend to quiet down, and the results from our study may reflect that finding," Ciorba says. "Ulcerative colitis is driven by an over-active immune response in the gut, so it makes sense that people whose immune systems are less active might have better outcomes. Conversely, younger patients are more likely to have robust inflammatory responses, so their disease is harder to quiet down."

Both younger and older patients received the same treatments, mainly 5-ASAs and steroids. About 63 percent of early onset patients and 68 percent of late-onset patients received either oral or intravenous steroids within the first year of treatment.

"Steroids have long been used as a therapy, but they are a 'dual-edged sword' in many cases," he says. "They improve symptoms, but we are not sure that they actually promote healing in the colon. The good news is that for many patients, regardless of their age at disease onset, aggressive, early therapy is related to relatively high remission rates."

Ciorba's team says more research is needed into the environmental and genetic factors that differentiate late- versus early onset disease. That work could help determine whether older or younger patients may respond better to different therapeutic combinations or newer investigative therapies.


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Contact: Jim Dryden
jdryden@wustl.edu
314-286-0110
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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Colitis patients diagnosed later in life tend to have better disease outcomes
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