Recent research leads specialists to believe that they might have found the cause of Crohn’s disease. According to them, the main elements which trigger the disease are a particular fungus, along with two bacteria. The E. coli bacteria is related to this chronic disease of the intestines.
Crohn’s disease affects the intestines by causing inflammation, which leads to ulcers. Patients who suffer from the disease experience abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, and weight loss, as the main symptoms. More than five hundred fifty thousand patients in the United States have been diagnosed with this condition, but doctors couldn’t explain the reason why this happened.
The new study, conducted by Professor Mahmoud A. Ghannoum, was meant to determine the causes of the condition. Some of the key factors in triggering Crohn’s disease are genetics and the person’s environment, as specialists point out. So this was their starting point when analyzing the patients.
For their research, scientists compared people who suffered from Crohn’s to healthy members of their own family, in order to study the genetic features and the environment shared by the family. The patients were also compared to healthy people who were not related to them. Approximately seventy people participated in the trial.
Thanks to the comparisons, doctors were able to identify two other bacteria, apart from E. coli, which contribute to the development of Crohn’s disease. One of them is called Serratia marcescens, while the other is a fungus, called Candida tropicalis. All three bacteria were found at significantly high levels in the organisms of people suffering from Crohn’s. As opposed to them, healthy people didn’t have the bacteria in their organism, not even members of the family.
Experts observed that when the three bacteria work together, they produce microorganisms which can attach to the person’s intestines. They form a thin layer which leads to inflammation, hence the Crohn’s disease.
As far as treatment is concerned, doctors recommend a series of medicines which can help patients improve their condition. However, some severe forms of the disease can require surgery. Complications can lead to other health problems, such as colon cancer, ulcers, malnutrition, and liver diseases.
Nevertheless, doctors consider the possibility of a more effective, new treatment for Crohn’s. The discovery of the causes can significantly influence the development of the cure. In order for that to happen, further research must be carried out.
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia