Relatives at risk of Crohn's?


An Israeli study has discovered that it is possible to identify first-degree relatives who have a probable increased risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) by using profiles incorporating the combined results of several different blood tests.

The study, reported in the journal Mediators of Inflammation, set out to ascertain whether first-degree relatives of Crohn's patients might have specific blood markers which could indicate the start of an inflammatory disorder.

The investigators studied blood samples taken from 30 patients with Crohn's disease, 90 of their first-degee relatives and 28 unrelated healthy individuals.

The Crohn's patients were found to have significantly higher blood levels of C-reactive protein, white blood cells and other markers that indicate inflammation than the unrelated healthy participants. They also had lower levels of haemoglobin and lymphocytes than the controls.

The results from the first-degree relatives showed varied blood levels of these substances but it was possible to identify 10 individuals whose blood profiles were significantly different from the healthy participants and more closely resembled those of the patients with IBD.

Whilst further research is needed to confirm these findings, it appears that analysis of the blood profile and C-reactive protein level might prove to be a fast and reliable tool to identify first-degree relatives who are at increased risk of developing IBD.

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First Piblished in January 2007

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