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Study underway to find an alternative cure for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
Date:6/16/2008

CHICAGO Two research studies evaluating dietary changes and complementary medicine for the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) have been launched at Rush University Medical Center. Funded by the National Institute of Health, one study will look at the impact of mind/body medicine on patients suffering from ulcerative colitis (UC) and the other will assess how diet impacts patients with Crohn's Disease.

There are two main types of IBD, Crohn's disease and UC, which afflict approximately one million Americans. These diseases cause chronic inflammation of the intestinal tract, causing a variety of symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea and rectal bleeding.

"Both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are due to an autoimmune response to the bacteria or bacterial antigens inside the intestines," said Dr. Ali Keshavarzian, director of digestive diseases and nutrition at Rush and principal investigator and co-investigator on the studies. "Basically, the immune system is having an abnormally aggressive reaction to the bacteria."

"We want to control flare-ups of the diseases," said Keshavarzian. "Unfortunately, the treatments for IBD can be toxic and risky. There are increased risks of cancer, infection and even death as a result of IBD treatment. That's why we're looking at how diet as well as stress relate to the flare-ups. It may be that if we can lower stress and get the right diet, we may be able to control these illnesses."

Mind/Body Alternatives for Treating Ulcerative Colitis

One study is looking for participants suffering from UC in order to find out if complementary and alternative medicine techniques may help reduce the effects when conventional medicine has not been successful.

"We're looking at the relationship between stress and ulcerative colitis flare-ups," said Dr. Sharon Jedel, clinical psychologist in the section of gastroenterology at Rush and the study's co-investi
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Contact: Deb Song
deb_song@rush.edu
312-942-0588
Rush University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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