Nutritional formula used to treat children with IBD possibly shows negative effects

6/22/2009

NEW YORK Medication used to treat patients with inflammatory bowel disease showed possible negative side effects in children and teens dealing with the disease.

Research by Raanan Shamir of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine and Schneider Children’s Medical Centre was inspired by the problem of malnutrition and growth retardation in children battling IBD. Steroids and other biological agents, the most common treatment for IBD, were having an adverse affect on the children’s growth, despite their effectiveness in adult patients.

The answer was a specially designed powder that contains all the daily nutrients a person needs. Aboard spacecrafts, astronauts dine on this nutritional powder mixed with water. The study showed that such a nutritional formula that was first developed for astronauts could be another path to treating IBD in children. This supplement puts 60% to 70% of children with Crohn’s disease, a common IBD disorder, into remission, a success rate similar to that of traditional steroid-based drugs, but without side effects.

The next step in his research, said Shamir, is to "define exactly the role of nutrition in inducing remission in these patients, and the role of nutrition in maintaining remission."

Dr. Shamir recently reported his research in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition.

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