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Scientists Discover Major Cause Of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Researchers have identified a prime culprit behind inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, an incurable disorder that causes abdominal pain, diarrhea and weight loss from malnutrition. The discovery also reveals a pathway to treatment, scientists report today in the journal Cell Reports.

“We were able to block the inflammation, basically block IBD,” said Ze’ev Ronai, a biologist at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla, California, who led the new research.

IBD Digestive Discomfort

At least three million people across the U.S. suffer from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, the two main types of inflammatory bowel disease. The disorders affect the digestive tract and lining of the gut, where inflammation causes cramps, constipation and rectal bleeding. Fever, fatigue and appetite loss often accompany the conditions. Although there is no cure, scientists think genetics, the gut microbiome and the immune system may all play a role. But a clear cause eluded them until Ronai and his team landed on a suspect while examining an unrelated phenomenon.

Ronai’s lab studies the processes cells use to bounce back from stress. Since a gene called RNF5 is a key player in these activities, the scientists suspected that disrupting its function in mice would reveal major new insights. So, a decade ago, the team created mice that lack RNF5.

“To our great surprise, these mice did not appear to have any significant [traits],” said Ronai. “We even called them ‘the boring mice’.”

But the researchers did notice that the intestines of these mice were inflamed — not enough to cause big problems, but enough to keep an eye on. That baseline inflammation led the scientists to ask what would happen if they triggered more inflammation in the animals’ guts, similar to how dairy or fried and spicy foods can elicit inflammatory bouts in people with IBD.

Ze'ev Ronai of Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute

Ze’ev Ronai led the team behind the IBD breakthrough. (Credit: Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute)

Ze’ev Ronai led the team behind the IBD breakthrough. (Credit: Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute)

Inflamed Intestines

So, the researchers added a compound that causes gut inflammation in mice called DSS to the rodents’ drinking water. The drug usually causes mild intestinal inflammation in healthy mice and they recover within a couple of weeks. But the mice without RNF5 responded much more severely. They developed acute colitis with all the symptoms people have. Close to 50 percent of the animals died within a few weeks.

“These animals are super sensitive to inflammation,” Ronai said.

RNF5’s usual job is to flag cellular garbage for disposal. When the researchers went looking for proteins in intestinal cells RNF5 might mark as trash, they found one called S100A8, an FDA-approved marker for measuring severe colitis. The mice without RNF5 not only had high amounts of S100A8 in their intestinal cells, but also in their blood.

And then when Ronai and team gave the mice antibodies that neutralize S100A8, the rodents’ IBD symptoms disappeared.

What’s more is that the ratio of low RNF5 and elevated S100A8 levels in mice matched that in human patients with IBD ,meaning doctors could use the protein levels as a blood test to identify patients for whom the treatment would work best.

The results “provide the justification and rationale to develop drugs against S100A8 that go to the clinic,” Ronai said


stay safe

Having been under virtual house arrest for some time, it’s easy to get carried away with the excitement of a short break, post Covid-19. You’re taking in new sights, sounds, smells and tastes. It’s an adventure for the soul. But rich foods and drinks, lack of exercise and the stress of travel, particularly with young children, can take a toll on your health. To avoid paying for it later on, take a few steps to remain healthy.


A holiday after such a stressful period for everyone might be much welcomed, but don’t neglect your sleep patterns. Aim for six to nine hours a night and take a short nap in the afternoon if you need it.


Stop germs in their tracks. Remember: wet, lather, scrub, rinse, and dry. This isn’t just good advice in a pandemic, it’s important every single day of your life. Practice it frequently throughout the day to prevent spread of diarrhea and respiratory disease, too. PACK SMART While it’s great to finally be free to enjoy a break, beware of the holiday cheer. Many hotels offer complimentary drinks, snacks or cakes. The result can be hard on your system. Pack Udo’s Choice Ultimate Digestive Enzyme Blend, to aid your digestion. A unique blend of seven plant-based digestive enzymes assist in the breakdown of proteins, fats, carbohydrates and fibre. Udo’s Choice Super 8 Microbiotic is a hi-count microbiotic blend that contains eight strains of lacto and bifido bacteria. Each daily capsule contains 42 billion ‘friendly’ bacteria. Both products can be found in your local health food store or pharmacy.


Drink lots of water. Spending hours travelling can dehydrate you. Carry a large bottle of water to have throughout your journey, and pack Manuka Lozenges with vitamin C for an added immune boost and try to choose caffeine free drinks throughout the day.


If you’re staying by the sea, eat lots of fresh grilled fish. Oily fish –including sardines, fresh tuna, salmon and mackerel – is particularly good as it’s rich in Omega 3, which keeps your skin hydrated and encourages healthy digestion as well as weight loss. Try to eat a variety of different coloured fruits and vegetables – oranges, red peppers, green courgettes, yellow sweet corn – to get a wide range of antioxidants.


Lying in the sunshine feels great but you only need 10 minutes of unprotected sun to get your daily dose of vitamin D. After that you should use sunblock. As we get older, the collagen in our skin breaks down more rapidly, leading to lines, wrinkles and discolouring. To prevent the breaking down of collagen, eat lots of purple fruits, such as fresh blackberries, blueberries and black grapes.

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Experts support COVID vaccines for Inflammatory Bowel Disease patients

British Society of Gastroenterology Inflammatory Bowel Disease Section and IBD Clinical Research Group release statement supporting COVID-19 vaccines.

You will be able to have the coronavirus vaccine if you are immunosuppressed; you need the coronavirus vaccine if you are immunosuppressed; and you will be prioritised because you are immunosuppressed.Dr Nick PowellClinical Reader and Consultant in Gastroenterology

The statement, co-written by the Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction’s Dr Nick Powell, Dr James Alexander and external colleagues, strongly supports SARS-CoV2 vaccinations for patients with IBD, while underscoring the risks of taking the vaccination in IBD patients are anticipated to be very low.

Patients with IBD may have increased susceptibility to infectious diseases. The main concerns around IBD patients taking the vaccine are related to the theoretical risk of sub-optimal vaccine responses rather than vaccine side effects. Even if vaccine effectiveness was reduced it would still likely offer some protection from the virus. The one thing for certain is that if you don’t have the vaccine you will remain at high risk of getting the virus

Dr Powell has spoken about potential side effects, stating: “The risks of vaccination are very low, and are mostly confined to short-lived, mild side effects, like headache or fatigue. On the other hand, the risks of COVID-19 infection are sadly all too familiar. More than 1 in 1000 people in the UK have already lost their lives to this deadly virus. Vaccination is the best way of protecting IBD patients from COVID-19 and will be the most important route for us to get back on track with our lives”.

The team has been working on a number of projects and events around public and patient engagement with the vaccines. At the end of last year, Dr Powell was one of a number of experts on a panel discussing covid vaccines for people with Crohn’s or Colitis. The panel answered patient questions and alleviated potential fears they may have about being vaccinated. Catch up on the event here.

With the Pfizer/BioNTech and the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines already receiving MHRA approval, and the Moderna vaccine approval expected shortly, it is recommended that IBD patients accept whichever approved SARS-CoV2 vaccination is offered to them.

Speaking about the vaccines, Dr Powell said: “Vaccination against SARS-CoV2 holds the key to beating this deadly disease. It is especially important in vulnerable patient groups. We have engaged extensively with our patients and have found that there are significant concerns and worries about the vaccines. The IBD experts of the British Society of Gastroenterology unanimously agree that vaccination is by far the best option for IBD patients, and indeed other patient groups needing to take immunosuppressive drugs.”

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Hand Sanitiser Handrub Formulation -100ml

> MSDS / REACH compliant – see safety data sheet on request

> EU Manufactured

IF IN EYES: Rinse cautiously with water for several minutes. Remove contact lenses, if present and easy to do. Continue rinsing. If eye irritation persists, seek medical advice/attention. If medical advice is needed, ensure product container or label is at hand.

Ingredients: 80% alcohol, Glycerine, Hydrogen Peroxide

Danger: Highly Flammable liquid and vapour. Causes serious eye irritation. Keep out of reach of children. Keep away from heat, hot surfaces, sparks, open flames and other ignition sources. No smoking

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