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Another Study Links Bacterial Infection to Crohn's Disease.

Sep 17, 2004

Crohn's disease causes severe inflammation in the digestive tract, usually in a part of the small intestine called the ileum, however inflammation can occur anywhere in the digestive tract. The most common symptoms of Crohn's disease are abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, fever, and weight loss. Over the years a number of studies have connected Crohn's disease to various infectious organisms. One of these in particular, Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis, or MAP, a relative of the tuberculosis bacteria has been implicated in a number of studies. The problem has been that MAP is very difficult to grow in a lab; so proving that patients with Crohn's disease had an infection with MAP was particularly difficult, until now. Saleh Naser, Ph.D. associate professor of molecular biology and microbiology at the University of Florida, Orlando, developed a new and easier way to culture MAP in the lab. His findings show that 50% of the patients with Crohn's disease have MAP infection in their blood, 22% of the patients with ulcerative colitis (a severe inflammatory condition of the colon) have it, and none of the patients free of inflammatory bowel diseases have it.

MAP causes an intestinal illness in cattle, goats, and sheep called Johne's disease. Recently live MAP bacteria have been found in pasteurized milk in a supermarket in Wales indicating it is a very tough bacteria. MAP also can pass from mother to child in breast milk. Apparently some people exposed to the bacteria may be genetically susceptible to inflammatory bowel diseases, and others may not develop Crohn's disease because they are not genetically susceptible. The study appears in the September 18th issue of the journal The Lancet.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

If you are diagnosed with Crohn's disease, maybe you shouldn't just settle for the typical treatment of corticosteriod-anti-inflammatory medication, The antibiotic Biaxin can kill MAP.

Vitamin D May Build Strong Muscles in the Elderly

In a study of 4,100 ambulatory elderly individuals aged 60 to over 90, In elderly individuals with the highest levels of active vitamin D in their blood versus those with the lowest, their walking time was 27% faster. They could stand quicker and easier from a sitting position (67% faster). In both active and inactive people over the age of 60, higher blood levels of vitamin D are associated with stronger muscles, better physical performance, and this translates to better ability to stay on their feet and function. The study is published in the September 2004 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.PH.

On June 30th I posted a study connecting low blood levels of vitamin D to a big jump in the risk of developing severe periodontal disease. That same day I posted a study connecting lower levels of vitamin D to an increased risk of developing diabetes. On August 4th I posted a study showing that supplementing with vitamin D, 600 IU to 4,000 IU every day starting in summer and throughout the winter prevented the development of SAD in these Canadian subjects. SAD is seasonal affective disorder or the winter blues, a form of depression suffered by about 11,000,000 Americans. Other studies we have reviewed on air include a combination of vitamin D and calcium supplementation decreasing the risk of colon cancer, vitamin D supplementation benefits patients with MS, vitamin D may help prevent arthritis, and vitamin D lowers the risk of certain cancers.