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New understanding could improve fight against Crohn's disease

Category: Autoimmune Diseases

A new breakthrough in studying Crohn's disease may be able to provide the starting point for better treatments for the autoimmune disorder. Prior to the current research, the origin of Crohn's disease was fairly mysterious, but now that an understanding has been gained, new treatments may be developed.

The origins of Crohn's disease
The new research, done by the University of Cambridge and Harvard University and published in the journal Nature, may have tracked down the source of Crohn's disease. New evidence suggests that the disease is closely related to Paneth cells, which may be causing much of the inflammation. While the new evidence may not be able to prompt a cure, the researchers were hopeful that it might be able to provide better treatments.

"If we are able to break down Crohn's disease into subsets by understanding the underlying mechanisms, which we have done here, we hope to develop much more targeted, effective treatments," said Arthur Kaser, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Cambridge and lead author of the study.

The study also found that autophagy, the breakdown and reuse of cells in the body, is also linked to Crohn's, according to lab tests. By inducing autophagy, researchers hope to help to control the swelling of the intestines, which can often be interrupted due to stress in the endoplasmic reticulum.

The results of the study show that Crohn's can be better understood if it is separated into different categories. Each subset of the disease can be treated differently, so identifying as many as possible can be beneficial, noted Medical News Daily.

Typical Crohn's case
Crohn's disease is an autoimmune disease that affects the intestines of those diagnosed with it. The disease causes the body to attack beneficial bacteria in the intestines that regulate digestion, which causes cramping, diarrhea and other digestive issues.

Those diagnosed with Crohn's through a lab test online or other means can sometimes face nutritional deficits, since the walls of the intestines are damaged. This can cause complications in adults and more severe problems with the development of children, according to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America.

Those exhibiting signs of Crohn's, such as the digestive issues above and consistent fever and nausea, should seek out a diagnosis so that effective treatments and therapies can begin. The regulation of a specific diet and lifestyle can greatly reduce the symptoms of the disease.

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