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Lower Risk of Surgery Than Thought for Kids With Crohn's

More study needed on early treatments to alter the course of the bowel disease, researchers say

FRIDAY, Sept. 3, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of bowel surgery for children with Crohn's disease is much lower than reported in previous studies, according to new findings.

Crohn's disease involves chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. The exact cause is not known, but the condition is often associated with an immune response problem. Some recent studies have found that the risk of bowel surgery is as high as 34 percent one year after diagnosis and as high as 47 percent five years after diagnosis.

This new multi-center study included 854 children under 16 years of age who were newly diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which consists of two main conditions: ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Over five years of follow-up, the researchers found that the risk of bowel surgery in these children was nearly two times lower than reported in previous studies.

However, they did find that children diagnosed with Crohn's disease between ages 13 and 16 had an increased risk of bowel surgery.

The researchers also found that starting treatment at diagnosis with immunomodulator therapy -- which balances and improves the body's immune response -- did not affect the risk of surgery. Neither did race, gender or family history of inflammatory bowel disease.

The study appears in the September issue of the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

"Our study findings indicate that changing disease behavior over time influences the risk of surgery, and treatments focused on early intervention to alter the natural course of the disease will need to be assessed in studies that ideally involve randomized controlled trials," wrote senior author Dr. Neal LeLeiko, director of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition at Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, R.I., and colleagues.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about Crohn's disease.

SOURCE: Hasbro Children's Hospital, Sept. 1, 2010, news release
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