IBD:It’s a family Affair CCFA April Conference Review

I attended the conference IBD:It’s a Family Affair CCFA Conference in Long Island NY yesterday.  It was a gathering for adults and parents with their children who are dealing with Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and Crohn’s Disease (CD).

This was an opportunity to hear from physicians, researchers and nutritionist on the latest information regarding these conditions.  Topics ranged from how to manage your medication information (risk and rewards), research on the effects of levels of bacteria, nutrition considerations and surgery as part of treatment (I was not present for this discussion).

Here is what I took from it.  We are at a time in the treatment of UC and CD that is looking at how to address these conditions to assist patients with managing the disease while finding opportunities to lessen their effects.  The lecture on medications was forthright, and honest.  The presenter spoke about how different medications can affect your body by breaking it down into categories of GI track, absorbs in bloodstream and works in GI track and those that are not absorbed in the bloodstream.  It was nice to get a picture of what medications target.

The lecture on antibiotics and probiotics introduced that research is on its way looking at the role of bacteria in IBD.  Chief players in this are the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Washington University St. Louis Missouri and Stoneybrook University School of Medicine.

The lecturer described how they are looking at genes on white cells.  How these genes react to inflammation that could be caused by the presence of certain strands of bacteria in our bodies.  This leads into question whether people with these conditions can’t  fight off aggressive bacteria or have bacteria that is trying to help and our bodies are just overreacting.  We can conclude that each person’s body is different and therefore treatment options using bacteria would need to be specific to individual.

Probiotics that were mention as possibly effective for UC were lactobacillus GG available over the counter, and E coli which is currently in research in Germany and not available yet.  For more information google UC and lactobacillus GG.

An interesting study/trial is the Microbial Fecal Transplant which looks at how transplanting fecal matter from a healthy person may alter the bacteria in a person with UC or CD.  To participate in the trial certain qualifications need to be met.

The role of nutrition was welcomed in the lecture series.  The presenter described how from his own account how important we consider what we take into our body when managing UC and CD.  Suggested review of one’s dietary practices was encouraged along with medication to address symptoms of the disease.  Emphasis was placed on omega 3 fatty acids as helpful in decreasing inflammation.

Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in flax meal & oil, canola oil, green veggies, fish oil and seafood.  Factors to consider avoiding in your diet were grains, corn, dairy, carrageenan (food addititves), saturated fat and microbiota (things in food that affect bacteria in the gut).  A balanced diet that included good protein along with carbs, fat and macro and micro-nutrients to keep good levels of minerals in your body was recommended.

I was overall pleased with the presentations that were made and the information given.  It was a nice opportunity to sit in a room with others such as myself managing their condition.  We are not alone and there are people who are willing to support us as friends and loved ones but also in the medical profession to find ways to manage our conditions.  I encourage everyone to reach out and get the support they may find within their community.

The link to the conference brochure is here.  To learn more contact your CCFA local chapter office regarding this conference.

In health,



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