Crohn's disease, also known as Crohn syndrome and regional enteritis, is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract from mouth to anus. Signs and symptoms includes abdominal pain, diarrhea (which may be bloody if inflammation is severe), fever, and weight loss. Other complications may occur outside the gastrointestinal tract and include anemia, skin rashes, arthritis, inflammation of the eye, and tiredness. The skin rashes may be due to infections as well as pyoderma gangrenosum or erythema nodosum. Bowel obstruction also commonly occurs and those with the disease are at greater risk of bowel cancer.
Acute treatment uses medications to treat any infection (normally antibiotics) and to reduce inflammation (normally aminosalicylate anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids). When symptoms are in remission, treatment enters maintenance, with a goal of avoiding the recurrence of symptoms. Prolonged use of corticosteroids has significant side-effects; as a result, they are, in general, not used for long-term treatment. Alternatives include aminosalicylates alone, though only a minority are able to maintain the treatment, and many require immunosuppressive drugs. It has been also suggested that antibiotics change the enteric flora, and their continuous use may pose the risk of overgrowth with pathogens such as Clostridium difficile.
Major research on disease
Recent studies using helminthic therapy or hookworms to treat Crohn's Disease and other (non-viral) auto-immune diseases seem to yield promising results. Numerous preclinical studies demonstrate that activation of the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors exert biological functions on the gastrointestinal tract. Activation of CB1 and CB2 receptors in animals has shown a strong anti-inflammatory effect. Cannabinoids and/or modulation of the endocannabinoid system is a novel therapeutic means for the treatment of numerous GI disorders, including inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's disease. A few small trials have looked at medical cannabis but further evidence is required to determine its usefulness.
The study is comprised of 26 patients with CD (age 36.6 ± 8.6 year, male:female, 16:10) and 26 patients with GITB (age 37.2 ± 9.6 year, male:female, 15:11). The following clinical variables between the two groups (CD vs TB) were significant in univariate analysis: duration of symptoms (58.1 ± 9.8 vs 7.2 ± 3.4 mo), diarrhoea (69.2% vs 34.6%), bleeding per rectum (30.7% vs 3.8%), fever (23.1% vs 69.2%), ascites (7.7% vs 34.6%) and extra-intestinal manifestations of inflammatory bowel disease (61.5% vs 23.1%). Of these, all except ascites and extra-colonic manifestations were found statistically significant by MLR. Accuracy of predicting CD was 84.62% based on the fever, bleeding P/R, diarrhoea and duration of symptoms while it was 63.4% when histology was reported as inflammatory bowel disease and 42.3% when there was recurrence of disease after surgery. Accuracy of predicting GITB was 73.1% when there was co-existing pulmonary lesions and/or abdominal lymphadenopathy; 75% when tuberculosis was reported in histology; 63.4% when granuloma was found in histology; 82.6% when TB PCR was positive; and 61.5% when smear and/ or culture was positive for AFB. Serological test was not useful in differentiation of CD from GITB. Positivity rates for CD and GITB were: p-ANCA- 3.8% and 3.8%, c-ANCA- 3.8% and 0%, IgA ASCA- 38.4% and 23.1%, and IgG ASCA- 38.4% and 42.3%, respectively