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Crohn's disease may be linked to food poisoning: Study

By
Ryan Maass
Levels of adherent-invasive E. coli remained high in mice after clearing food-poisoning infections. Photo by Patho.
Levels of adherent-invasive E. coli remained high in mice after clearing food-poisoning infections. Photo by Patho.

HAMILTON, Ontario, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- People who have been infected by bacteria associated with food poisoning may be at a higher risk for developing Crohn's disease later in life, a study suggests.

The research was was led by scientists at McMaster University, and published in the journal PLOS Pathogens. According to the authors, who used a mouse model to study the pathogens, acute infectious gastroenteritis caused by food-poisoning bacteria accelerates the growth of adherent-invasive E. coli, the bacterium associated wth Crohn's disease.

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During the study, mice were infected with food-poisoning bacteria. After the mice cleared the infection, researchers noted high levels of AIEC remained in the gut, resulting in worsened symptoms over time. Senior author Brian Coombes says the findings reaffirm the need to pursue more thorough treatments that target the disease at its source.

"The need to understand the root origins of this disease -- and to use this information to invigorate a new pipeline of treatments and preventions -- has never been more pressing," Coombes said in a press release.

Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory disorder in the digestive tract characterized by abdominal pain, diarrhea and often weight loss.

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"This is a lifelong disease that often strikes people in their early years, leading to decades of suffering; an increased risk of colorectal cancer; and an increased risk of premature death," Coombes added. "Compared to the general population, quality of life for those with Crohn's disease is low across all dimensions of health."

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