Crohn’s disease affects roughly 700,000 individuals in the US alone. Until now, scientists were unsure how to treat the illness because they had no clue on what caused the disorder. However, a team of scientists from Case Western Reserve University managed to find the cause of the mysterious illness, thus taking the first step towards finding a cure.
Crohn’s disorder causes weight loss, diarrhea, fatigue, and excruciating abdominal pain. There is no cure for the illness, as researchers were not even sure if the cause is genetic or environmental. However, now that a team of scientists managed to pin the cause, there is hope that a treatment is devised.
The underlying cause of the syndrome was unknown until now, some researchers believing that it may be linked to a defective immune system or genetic malformations. Currently, the researchers believe that bacteria are somehow involved in the severe inflammation of the small intestine and sigmoid colon.
According to Mahmoud Ghannoum and his team, both bacteria and fungi play a major role in the development of the disease.
In order to reach these results, Ghannoum and his colleagues analyzed samples of fecal matter originating from three different sources. The “providers” of the samples were people who suffered from the syndrome, their family members who were not affected by it, and their neighbors.
The goal of the research was to find all of the differences, or similarities, between the various microbiomes present in the stool samples.
The results showed that the participants who suffered from Crohn’s disease carried a larger amount of Candida tropicalis, E-coli, and Serratia marcescens than those who did not.
Given the fact that they eliminated the possibility of environmental influence by also analyzing the stool of family members and neighbors, the researchers concluded that the two types of bacteria and the fungus were somehow responsible for triggering the disease.
After pinpointing these three possible culprits, the scientists conducted a series of laboratory tests in order to determine the way in which they interacted. It seems that, when put together, the three organisms can create a biofilm which may be responsible for the triggering of Crohn’s symptom.
Now that the scientists know the cause of the disease they can focus on working on a cure.
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