Medical research

Discoveries reshape understanding of gut microbiome

The human gut is home to microorganisms that outnumber our cells by a factor of 10 to 1. Now, discoveries by scientists at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation have redefined how the so-called gut microbiome operates ...

Immunology

Researchers identify enzyme linked to colitis

An enzyme that usually stops bacterial growth in the large intestine stimulates inflammation in some people, resulting in ulcerative colitis—a chronic digestive disease that affects more than 750,000 Americans, according ...

Gastroenterology

How to repair your gut

In a world first, Monash University researchers have identified a key biomolecule that enhances the repair of your gut lining by prompting stem cells to regenerate damaged tissue.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Could the cure for IBD be inside your mouth?

While many people put off their regular trips to the dentist, recent research has shown that the consequences of doing so may go beyond cavities and root canals. From heart disease to diabetes, poor oral health is often a ...

Medical research

Scientists link ulcerative colitis to missing gut microbes

About 1 million people in the United States have ulcerative colitis, a serious disease of the colon that has no cure and whose cause is obscure. Now, a study by Stanford University School of Medicine investigators has tied ...

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Ulcerative colitis

Ulcerative colitis (Colitis ulcerosa, UC) is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Ulcerative colitis is a form of colitis, a disease of the intestine, specifically the large intestine or colon, that includes characteristic ulcers, or open sores, in the colon. The main symptom of active disease is usually constant diarrhea mixed with blood, of gradual onset. Ulcerative colitis is, however, believed to have a systemic etiology that leads to many symptoms outside the intestine. Because of the name, IBD is often confused with irritable bowel syndrome ("IBS"), a troublesome, but much less serious, condition. Ulcerative colitis has similarities to Crohn's disease, another form of IBD. Ulcerative colitis is an intermittent disease, with periods of exacerbated symptoms, and periods that are relatively symptom-free. Although the symptoms of ulcerative colitis can sometimes diminish on their own, the disease usually requires treatment to go into remission.

Ulcerative colitis occurs in 35–100 people for every 100,000 in the United States, or less than 0.1% of the population. The disease tends to be more common in northern areas. Although ulcerative colitis has no known cause, there is a presumed genetic component to susceptibility. The disease may be triggered in a susceptible person by environmental factors. Although dietary modification may reduce the discomfort of a person with the disease, ulcerative colitis is not thought to be caused by dietary factors. Although ulcerative colitis is treated as though it were an autoimmune disease, there is no consensus that it is such. Treatment is with anti-inflammatory drugs, immunosuppression, and biological therapy targeting specific components of the immune response. Colectomy (partial or total removal of the large bowel through surgery) is occasionally necessary, and is considered to be a cure for the disease.

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