IBD Research Roundup – September


Here at the Crohnology blog, we spend a lot of time reading research articles about inflammatory bowel disease. Some of those articles are important enough to deserve whole posts, some get lumped into topical posts, and some we catch wandering off on their own. This last bunch ends up in the Research Roundup:

  • In an article that should be titled, “Western Medicine 1, Chinese Medicine 0”, Chinese researchers compared azathioprine to a traditional herbal remedy, Trypterygium – “thunder god vine” – in preventing recurrence of Crohn’s disease. Azathioprine won, but it’s still awesome the researchers went to the effort of putting Trypterygium through a randomized trial. Eventually, more and more of these sorts of remedies will be put to the test, so we can learn more about those that work – and why: Zhu, et al.  “Tripterygium wilfordii Hook. f. versus azathioprine for prevention of postoperative recurrence in patients with Crohn’s disease: A randomized clinical trial.” Digestive and Liver Disease 47:1 January 2015 (free article)
  • If you are interested in the research on fecal microbiome transplant (FMT or ‘poop transplant’), an easy-to-digest article in the World Journal of Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology is a good starting point: Malnick, S. & E. Melzer, “Human microbiome: From the bathroom to the bedside”. World J. Gastrointest. Pathophysiology 6:3, August 15, 2015. (free article)
  • A British study looked at ‘mindfulness’ training as a way for dealing with the stress and depression that often accompany IBD, as a pilot project for a larger randomized controlled trial. The results were promising for depression and some anxiety, but the training made no difference in disease activity or disease-related quality of life. Shoultz, M, et al. “Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for inflammatory bowel disease patients: findings from an exploratory pilot randomised controlled trial”. Trials 16, 2015. (free article)
  • While nobody believes ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ (in fact, an apple once sent me to the ER!), a study of ‘apple polysaccharide’ extract shows it may help protect against cancer associated with colitis. It would be interesting to know whether some apples have more than others, and whether it’s present in other fruits like pears or crabapples, but the article is paywalled: Zhang, et al. “Apple polysaccharide reduces NF-kb mediated colitis-associated colon carcinogenesis.” Nutrition and Cancer 67:1, 2015. (abstract online)

Photo “Cattle Drive” by Flickr user Anne Worner under CC license

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