Researchers Use Blood Test to Identify DNA Changes, Improve Diagnosis in IBD Patients

Researchers Use Blood Test to Identify DNA Changes, Improve Diagnosis in IBD Patients
Using a simple blood test from patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), a team of international researchers were able to identify specific chemical changes in the DNA that could improve the disease diagnosis. The study, “Integrative epigenome-wide analysis demonstrates that DNA methylation may mediate genetic risk in inflammatory bowel disease,” was published in the journal Nature Communications. The team believes their findings can show how IBD develops and may lead to progress in new treatment approaches. IBD is a group of inflammatory conditions of the colon and small intestine. Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (UC) are the principal types of IBD. Evidence from genome-wide associated studies (GWAS) has demonstrated that about 200 genes are associated with IBD, but not all people who inherit these genes will develop the disease. Several environmental factors are known to influence the development and course of disease, particularly smoking, diet, and gut microbiota. Results from the new study could help explain why some people have inherited these genes but not others. The researchers, led by scientists at the University of Edinburgh, analyzed the differences in DNA in 240 newly diagnosed IBD cases and 190 healthy people, or controls. They found that epigenetic changes, the chemical signatures
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