Dirk Gevers, Ph.D., of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and his teamcompared the microbiome of early-onset Crohn’s patients, who were treatment naïve, with patients who do not have inflammatory conditions. They found in a forthcoming study that the microbiome of these Crohn’s patients had an increased abundance in certain bacteria and a decreased abundance in other bacteria. Interestingly, they also found that antibiotic use actually amplifies these bacterial changes, introducing even great imbalance.

In another forthcoming comparison study, Govind Makharia, M.D., looked to see if there were any differences between the gut microbiota patients with celiac disease who had not received treatment and their parents, siblings or other first-degree relatives. He saw that, in celiac patients, there was a reduction in the richness of the bacteria and an increase in disease-causing bacteria.

The data from these treatment naïve studies show great promise for patients with Crohn’s and celiac. If we are able to take these types of findings and develop more effective treatments for digestive diseases, patients will be able to lead more normal lives.

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