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Crohn’s disease can be detected in blood tests eight years before diagnosis

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Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease for which there is currently no cure, but it can be managed to some extent. Scientists from the UK’s Francis Crick Institute and Denmark’s Aalborg University demonstrated that now the disease can be detected much earlier than before, opening up more treatment opportunities. The study was published in Cell Reports Medicine.


The scientists analyzed test results from 20,000 patients suffering from Crohn’s disease, recorded before they were diagnosed. The experts spotted small changes in 17 different biomarkers in the human body, including markers of inflammation and levels of minerals such as iron.

The researchers studied a large amount of data and were able to notice minor changes that would otherwise have been missed. According to the experts, the changes started some eight years ahead of diagnosis for Crohn’s disease, and three years ahead of diagnosis for ulcerative colitis, which is another type of inflammatory bowel disease.

Despite the fact that the identified biomarkers have only a “modest” ability to predict the development of this type of inflammatory bowel disease, they show how early these diseases can start affecting the human body, which is a significant step towards tests for earlier and more accurate diagnosis. The scientists believe that further research can help explore which therapy or preventative measures can reduce the impact of inflammatory bowel diseases or even stop them from developing at all.

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