"Breakthrough" in Cause of IBD

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Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2009
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   Posted 12/19/2009 9:56 PM (GMT -7)   
I have edited your post to just show the link.  10. No posts of lengthy articles.


Sounds like it might resolve the debate about whether IBD is due to an overactive vs. an underactive immune system. I imagine GEs would still like to do colonoscopies though to see exactly where IBD is occurring.

Post Edited By Moderator (Nanners) : 12/20/2009 10:56:03 AM (GMT-7)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 1070
   Posted 12/20/2009 10:51 AM (GMT -7)   
Sounds interesting.  They keep saying that part of the problem is that we are too clean.  I wonder how many on this forum remember being raised in an overly clean home?  Now I know that my mother was, and still is obsessed with clorox and boiling hot water but I also remember getting free salt from a steet vendor and licking it off my filthy hand as a small boy etc..  I also remember that my first being aware that I was using a lot more toilet paper than normal people was at age fifteen while working on a dairy farm with all the dirt involved with that.  I was not a kid who worried much about washing his hands before grabbing a sandwich or picking my nostrils.  So was my lack of exposure to "dirt" detrimental when I was too small to go out on my own?  Is dirt exposure too late at age four and up?  Did the country dirt set off my ibd since I had grown up with city dirt and had not been exposed to it before?  I have a lot of allergies and hay fever.  Working on the dairy probably gave me my heaviest exposure to allergens I have ever had.  Since allergic reactions are similar to what the paper above proposes is the cause of Crohn's, could this constant exposure to hay, horses and cows and dogs and pollen have triggered my crohn's?   Does this strike a note with anybody with their own first symptoms of ibd?
I am suspicious of some other possibilities like the chemical they line tin cans with? 
What do you all think?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
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   Posted 12/20/2009 2:06 PM (GMT -7)   
I was outdoors all the time as a kid, in the dirt, swimming in a  pond, etc. I just don't see a single cause for IBD. I think the consensus of research to date is correct -- we have a genetic setup, involving a number of possible gene markers (I have heard as many as 25) and when we come in contact with a pathogen that triggers the immune response in the gut -- again probably dozens of possible triggers -- it sets off a cascade of over-response that goes into a runway situation. It seems to ge the same with allergies . . . also an overactive immune response. In most people there are literally dozensof allergens, from dust to pollen to mold to pet hair. I see the same process reacting in Crohns, and in fact both allergies and IBD are treated in the same basic way, with steroids and other anti-inflammatories to tone down that immune response.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Mar 2003
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   Posted 12/20/2009 2:24 PM (GMT -7)   
My mother kept a clean house, but she wasn't ridiculous about it. I crawled on the floor, played in the mud and kissed the dog.

Maybe they're talking about the relative lack of parasites in the more "developed" countries?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 1058
   Posted 12/20/2009 2:24 PM (GMT -7)   
I was deathly ill when I was less than 1 year old and as a kid, I spent all day outside playing in the dirt, climbing trees and all the rest. I don't think that my mom would think that I was too clean.....

The article seems to take a rather simplistic approach to the problem. Too many cells of this type, so kill some off; too few cells of another type, so make more. No question of why this is happening. There is a real lack of an overview of the factors involved. Just looking at the range of problems that people here talk about should tell you that there is a lot going on and the complexity is a big part of the reason that there is poor progress in treating Crohn's. It's like they are counting the mosquitoes when they should be draining the swamp.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
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   Posted 12/20/2009 6:37 PM (GMT -7)   
Nicely said keeper. I wonder if I encountered a pathogen (MikeB) on that dairy farm that I never encountered in the city and it started the process. I may have had problems before that But I sure don't recall them. I have a terrible memory though. The more I think about it though, that was when it started.

Post Edited (FunGuy) : 12/20/2009 6:54:48 PM (GMT-7)

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 253
   Posted 12/20/2009 6:46 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm not sure whether I'd say my home is overly clean. Being that I was a kid relatively recently (actually, I still am) I'm pretty sure things have just been getter cleaner and cleaner and I'm one of a generation who is totally antibacterialized at every chance. I've always carried around hand sanitizer even before I was sick and have been pretty cautious/ a bit of a hypochondriac.
I'm going to be PO'd if it turns out the kids who licked desks and stuff are better off.
female 19, diagnosed crohns december 2008
entocort/pentasa previously, now prednisone & imuran, probiotics, calcium w/d, digestive enzymes & prenatal multivitamin

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 1879
   Posted 12/20/2009 7:08 PM (GMT -7)   
I don't think my childhood was overly clean. I heard I ate crickets as a baby. lol... However, I've always had allergies so it wouldn't surprise me if my immune system reacted to food as well even though I have never tested positive for foods in standard allergy tests. It is a good theory but they really didn't have a true study with it to back the theory up.
diagnosed 1/09 with "diverticular colitis" ?? location: sigmoid colon
localized scleroderma & IBS, low thyroid,claritin, advair, singulair, lisinopril, progesterone, colazal, fish oil, synthroid, zoloft, wellbutrin, VSL#3 probiotic, Vit. D
Blood test positive for Crohn's via prometheus ibd serology panel

Elite Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20577
   Posted 12/20/2009 10:31 PM (GMT -7)   
I grew up in a spotless home and keep mine that way as well...however, I apparently ate gum off the road when I was little, and recall believing my sisters when they told me their mud pies tasted just like chocolate so I have definitely been "exposed" to dirt and germs....I am the only sibling out of 5 others that have an IBD, my mom has UC.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 3141
   Posted 12/21/2009 6:07 AM (GMT -7)   
Well...Mom would not have liked me saying this, but my house was not spotless growing up. I am the youngest of her 7 kids and grew up pretty much handling things myself after age 5. I played in a radioactive creek from the time I was a baby, played trucks with my brothers in the dirt, dug carrots in the garden. My bedroom was always a mess. So I did not grow up too antiseptically (boy I am so much cleaner now). I had symptoms back to around kindergarten age so I can't tell you what difference may have triggered me---I never left my neighborhood until age 12 except for a trip to NJ at 1 and annual trips into Ontario CA. I lived the same life as my sister (except she did not get to play in the creek as much). She is 10 years older than me and her CD signs were not apparent until her 20s.
So if environment plays a part...why did mine show up sooner, my sis later and my other sis (between our ages) not at all??? I am sure that this article has oversimplified the thought process for my family.
Dx'd '90 (emergency rupture), symptoms ignored long before that, '03 fistulas and bad flagyl reactions, B12 weekly, Pentasa [until I surrender to the bigger meds]
I'm riding on the escalator of life....

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 656
   Posted 12/21/2009 7:06 AM (GMT -7)   
Like everybody else, I'm fairly skeptical about this theory. My mother kept the house clean and tidy, but I played in the mud, swam at lakes and beaches, shared Cokes with all the other kids on the block, rode my bike all over the neighborhood (and fell off), went to summer camps where the cabins were never cleaned, took a summer archaeology class in high school--where we dug in the locust-covered dirt for artifacts, and spent my entire youth with my face deep in well-used public library books. And I had no hesitation about eating things that had fallen on the ground, either. I'm over 60 and definitely wasn't raised in an antiseptic environment--and I had every communicable childhood disease and almost died from spinal meningitis at age 5. It's an interesting theory, but way too easy to disprove.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 1885
   Posted 12/21/2009 7:16 AM (GMT -7)   
My daughter not only played in the dirt and dirty sandbox, but also was diagnosed with pinworms twice when she was between the ages of 4 and 6 - probably from the park's sandbox. 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 1070
   Posted 12/21/2009 9:59 PM (GMT -7)   
It doesn't look like the "clean house" theory is holding much water. that was only a part of the theory above though. Does seem to be that our immune systems are over reacting to something. I would eat pretty much raw ANYTHING, to have a normal body.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 12/22/2009 10:42 AM (GMT -7)   
I grew up all over (California, Germany, etc.), and I was always outside in the dirt. Once we moved back to Tennessee my siblings and I were always outside playing on my Aunt's farm. My mother is a neat freak, but she definitely believed in a healthy amount of exposure to germs.

I'm still of the mind that my immune system is over-active, however. I've been sick once in the past 4-5 years, and that was only because my University was going through a widespread swine flu outbreak. Even then, I was only sick for less than a week and back on my feet as good as new afterward.

I'm sure this theory could account for some cases though! I don't believe we all get this disease in exactly the same way as far as external environment goes. I do believe that our genes count for quite a bit though. It just really depends, as always with Crohn's.

Thank you for posting this though! It's definitely interesting.
Diagnosed with Crohn's in May of 2008.
Currently taking: Prednisone, pentasa, omeprazole, and humira. Using probiotics and a multivitamin.
Learning how to live again.
"He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how."

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