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Have Researchers Finally Figured Out Crohn's Disease?


Photo: CC--Bilal Kamoon

Celiac.com 10/24/2016 - A team of researchers led by Mahmoud A Ghannoum, PhD, professor and director of the Center for Medical Mycology at Case Western Reserve and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, has made a breakthrough in understanding Crohn's disease.

The researchers were the first to document the role of a fungus in the human gut as playing a major role in Crohn's disease. As part of their efforts, their research team assessed the mycobiome and bacteriome of patients with Crohn's disease, their Crohn's-free first degree relatives in 9 families in northern France and Belgium, and in Crohn's-free individuals from 4 families in the same region.

For their study, the team analyzed fecal samples from 20 Crohn's patients, and from 28 Crohn's-free patients from nine families, and of 21 Crohn's-free patients from four nearby families. The team found that people with Crohn's disease showed strong fungal-bacterial interaction. Specifically, in Crohn's, two bacteria, Escherichia coli and Serratia marcescens, acted in unison with the fungus Candida tropicalis.

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Family members with Crohn's showed substantially higher numbers of all three microbes, as compared to their healthy relatives, suggesting co-action between the bacteria and fungus in the gut. The team's lab tests confirmed that the three work together by E. coli cells fusing to the fungal cells, while S. marcescens acts as a bridge to connect the microbes. This produces what is called a biofilm, a thin, slimy layer of microorganisms that, among other things, coats part of the intestinal tract, triggering the inflammation seen in Crohn's disease.

Researchers had previously found the fungus in mice with Crohn's, but this is the first time any fungus has been linked to Crohn's in humans. The study is also the first to document S. marcescens as a main factor in Crohn's.

The team also found that Crohn's patients suffer from substantially reduced numbers of beneficial bacteria, which corroborated earlier study findings. These findings could lead to helpful new treatment approaches to the traditionally stubborn condition that is Crohn's disease.

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I went into menopause at age 42. I didn't know I had celiac until I was 56. Now I know why my menopause was so early.

Have been dealing with splinter hemorrhages on three of my toe nails since February. I did go to my doctor who rightly so did a very complete blood work-up ruling out other diseases such as lupus and RA and referred me to several other doctors to make sure that it was not cancer, endocarditis, or something serious. I went to the doctors. I have done some research on vitamin deficiency and it seems that some link splinter hemorrhages to vitamin C deficiency. For the past 2 1/2 weeks I have been eating 3 clementines a day (in addition to the usual multivitamin that I take) and it seems to be helping the splinter hemorrhages. One has grown out and not returned. Visited my GI doctor today and talked about malabsorption of nutrients as a potential issue. We are doing more blood work and checking nutrient levels. I have to believe it has something to do with the celiac. Sorry I don't have a better answer, but like you am trying to figure this out. Please let me know if you find any answers, and yes, be sure to check with your doctor to rule out anything serious.

You only need one positive on the celiac panel. I tested positive only to the DGP IgA and had a Marsh Stage IIIB intestinal damage. Good luck!

Welcome to the forum. First, you need to get copies of your celiac test to confirm you actually had it done and what the results were. Second, to confirm a diagnosis, you must obtain biopsies via an endoscopy. Were the doctors gastroenterologists? Third you need to research celiac disease. Yes, you can be asymptomatic, but could still have instestinal damage as the small intestine is vast. here is a good place to start: http://www.cureceliacdisease.org/screening/ You might think you are a silent celiac, but ever been anemic? Had your bones checked?

That's good to know about Texas Children's, unfortunately I don't believe they accept our insurance. Our former pediatrician joined with one of their medical groups and we had to find a new one due to insurance. I'll check out their site though.