Edinburgh - May 02, 2007 -- A new study in The American Journal of Gastroenterology suggests that smoking may determine which part of the intestinal tract is attacked in those who suffer from Crohn's disease. Where the disease is located often determines whether the patient will eventually require surgical treatment.
"In patients who smoke, Crohn's disease tends to appear more frequently in the small intestine, rather than the colon," says study author Dr. Marian Aldhous. "Our data shows that when Crohn's disease is located here, it tends to cause more penetrating or obstructive damage, which would have to be treated by surgery."
The results of this study raise interesting questions about why smoking would affect different parts of the intestine in different ways. "Fundamental differences in small and large bowel physiology may explain the differences in location of Crohn's disease in smokers," says Aldhous. "The effects of smoking should be further investigated, to understand why smoking has a differential effect on different parts of the bowel."
This study is published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marian Aldhous, Ph.D., is affiliated with the Gastrointestinal Unit at the University of Edinburgh's Molecular Medicine Centre, Western General Hospital. She can be reached for questions at email@example.com.
To speak with Joel Richter and Nicholas J. Talley, editors-in-chief of AJG, about this article and topic, attend Digestive Disease Week from May 19 - May 24 in Washington, D.C.
If you are interested in other gastro studies related to smoking, please see a study published in the March issue of AJG on how the smoking habit and load influence the age at diagnosis and disease extent in ulcerative colitis. Researchers examined data on smoking habits, smoking load, age at diagnosis, surgery and disease extent from 499 patients with ulcerative colitis. Researchers found smoking habit influences the age at diagnosis and changes in disease extent in ulcerative colitis. Read the abstract.
The American Journal of Gastroenterology meets the day-to-day demands of clinical practice. Aimed at practicing clinicians, the journal's articles deal directly with the disorders seen most often in patients. The journal brings a broad-based, interdisciplinary approach to the study of gastroenterology, including articles reporting on current observations, research results, methods of treatment, drugs, epidemiology, and other topics relevant to clinical gastroenterology. For more information, please visit www.blackwellpublishing.com/ajg.
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