Researchers from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) and The University of Nottingham are inviting patients with Crohn's disease to take part in a revolutionary study which could help prevent weight loss.
Crohn's disease is a long-term condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system. The symptoms of Crohn's disease vary depending on which part of the digestive system is inflamed, but common symptoms include a loss of appetite leading to unintended weight loss.
Dr Gordon Moran, Gastroenterologist at NUH and Clinical Associate Professor at The University of Nottingham, is leading the study. He said: "Appetite and eating behavior are controlled through a hormonal link between the bowel and the brain. Cells, known as enteroendocrine cells, sense food in the stomach and tell the brain when a person is full. People with Crohn's disease produce more of these cells, secreting more hormones that tell a person they are full when in fact they are not. This can lead to unintended weight loss as a result of a loss of appetite."
Using an MRI scanner researchers will look at how the brain responds to a standard meal in patients with active Crohn's disease, compared to healthy volunteers. The comparison will help researchers identify which hormones released from the stomach lead to a loss of appetite for people with Crohn's disease.
Dr Moran added: "This study will help us improve our understanding of what goes wrong in the eating behavior of people with Crohn's disease and identify which hormones lead to a loss of appetite. Once this is established we hope to be able to develop medication that stops these hormones from working, allowing people with Crohn's disease to return to their normal eating habits. It is also our hope that findings from this study will be useful for people with other diseases such as anorexia and cancer."
The study, taking place at the NIHR Nottingham Digestive Diseases Biomedical Research Unit based at the Queen's Medical Centre, is aiming to recruit 120 people. It is being funded by The Medical Research Council and the Broad Medical Research Program at Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America.
Adam Nowak, Senior Research Nurse at NUH, said: "Here in Nottingham we have over 4,000 patients with inflammatory bowel disease and over 250,000 patients nationwide. The involvement of patients and healthy volunteers is crucial to this study's success.
"We want to take big steps forward in the understanding of Crohn's disease and without the support of our patients and volunteers we simply will not achieve this."
Find out more
For more information about the study and to find out if you are suitable to take part please contact Natalie Jones:
Tel: 0115 970 9966
About Crohn's disease
Every 30 minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis - the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
At least 250,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with IBD which are chronic conditions that can cause ulceration and inflammation in the colon (Ulcerative Colitis) or any part of the digestive system (Crohn's Disease).
Symptoms can include diarrhoea (often with blood), severe pain, extreme fatigue, and dramatic weight loss. At present there is no cure for Crohn's and Colitis, but drugs and sometimes surgery can give long periods of relief from symptoms This means that 1 in 200 people are living with these unpredictable, life-long and potentially life-threatening conditions.
For more information about Crohn's disease and Ulcerative Colitis, visit www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk
Posted on Wednesday 18th November 2015