Improving care for children with inflammatory bowel disease

C.S. Mott Children's Hospital IBD TeamChildren and young adults who have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) like Crohn’s disease, indeterminate colitis, or ulcerative colitis require careful and diligent medical management to minimize and prevent flare-ups of symptoms, complications, surgeries, and days spent in the hospital.

IBD is a challenging disease to have because right now there is no cure, and symptoms tend to wax and wane over time. For children especially, this can mean they look “normal” on the surface to their peers, but they may be struggling off and on with abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue that prevent them from participating in the activities they would like to pursue.  As a result, IBD can be uncomfortable, discouraging, and socially isolating.

IBD is relatively common, affecting about 1 million Americans; the majority of cases are diagnosed in people less than 30 years old. Here at the pediatric GI program at University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, we take care of approximately 500 children and young adults with inflammatory bowel disease.

Helping end a symptomatic flare of IBD and stay in remission can be a process of trial and error, but it is important to get right so children with IBD can live normal and healthy lives. We believe there is always room for improvement, and there’s so much more we want to know about how we can help manage pediatric IBD more effectively.

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What’s new in treating IBD?

FDA approves Entyvio, other drugs in development for treating IBD

86804105People with inflammatory bowel disease rely on medication to keep them feeling well. Because of the complexity of IBD, knowing what medication will work is often accomplished by trial and error.

Even then, many patients will find success with one medication for many years until the medication stops working for them.

The exciting news is that research is helping us better understand IBD, and has led to many new drugs in development which are now becoming available to patients. Continue reading

How changes in gut bacteria boost the growth of a common hospital-acquired infection

Nature study reveals shifts in the gastrointestinal metabolome that facilitate C. difficile infection

Antiobiotic-induced shifts in bacterial makeup allow C. difficile to grow.

Antibiotic-induced shifts in bacterial makeup allow C. difficile to grow.

One of the most common antibiotic-related illnesses, Clostridium difficile, also known as “C. diff,” poses a threat to thousands of Americans hospitalized each year. While most hospital-acquired infections are declining, C. diff is on the rise and causes diarrhea linked to 14,000 American deaths each year.

Major risk factors for getting this infection include staying in the hospital and taking antibiotics.

A new study by the University of Michigan Medical School reveals how antibiotics not only change the bacterial makeup of the gut but also foster the availability of metabolites, which C. difficile can use for germination and growth.

“The findings in our paper are not only vital to the development of new-targeted therapeutics for combatting C. difficile infection but could aid in understanding other gut inflammatory and metabolic diseases, including diabetes, obesity and inflammatory bowel disease, where changes in the gut microbiome could be intimately related to the chemical and nutrient environment,” says lead author Casey Theriot, Ph.D., Research Investigator in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Michigan Medical School.

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