Bleeding, kissing the toilet seat with your gluteus maxer for hours on end, running to the pharmacy to fill that latest prescription, and filling up on toilet paper is all a part of living with UC. We can probably all agree on that. Even if you don’t have UC but made it to this site…I’m thinking you probably agree as well. This is mostly colon related thinking. And sure, it’s a darn important organ. But there are folks, many who have shared their stories on iHaveUC who don’t even have a colon anymore. And they’re doing just fine… Check out our Southern Cali rockstar Curtis(here’s the interview I did with him a ways back – video clip), it’s safe to say he’s a normal camper without his final poop pipe right? (The answer’s a big fat “YES”, if you paddle-board in the waters off San Diego…you’ve probably seen him flying around with the sealife, Way to Go Big Curtis :)
But have you ever wondered…
What is ulcerative colitis doing to my brain?
(Or your kid’s, husband’s, sister’s, co-worker’s, neighbor’s brain…)
It’s a tuffy question to think about. I don’t even think the author of my second favorite book “Brain Rules” would have the final answer. Dr. John Medina, you world class neurologist, what’s the answer señor? Hook the UC’ers of the world up por favor!
****UPDATE: January 26th…Dr. John Medina responded to my email regarding this post, his response is below in the comments section***!!!
Let’s Get to the Facts – And there’s Some Great News!
If you’ve been following PubMed, there was a recent study released just a few days ago and I think we should all be pretty relieved.
But, before I get into that…can you guess where this study was conducted…HINT HINT: here are the names of the doctors/scientists who conducted it:
Let’s see if your brain is working now…which country is responsible for this study?
A) Germany B) United States C) Japan D) Italy
(Answer is at the end of this posting)
Change in the Gray Matter?
The title of their study is:
And, as you might have guessed, they tried to determine if patients with ulcerative colitis have something different going on with parts of the brain compared to “normal” folks or “controls” as they usually call them in these types of studies.
Hey Italianos…good job for checking into this for us! I’d love to buy you a cappuccino or some pasta next time we run into each other. Or maybe some of those crazy sunglasses you all seem to like so much…
After getting through the nitty gritty, or the details of their study, I was breathing a definite sigh of relief. And I think you will be too. It appears that between the 18 UC patients and 18 healthy “controls”, there was very very little difference in the variables they were examining within the brain. Awesome right!!
Way to go Luigi and Mario!
So for sure we should celebrate this news. And more than that, they have a pretty interesting follow up request which we all could use some clarification on too. What they figured afterwards was that to make their study results even more meaningful, they need to do more investigating with a slightly difference audience.
For example, the UC patients who were part of their study all were in remission or Very minor states of active ulcerative colitis symptoms. And these patients in remission were studied while in remission. That’s all great right, but for the gang of us who have UC for a long time, or even just a short while, we know that life can be quite different while in the middle of active symptoms. So here’s the final line of their study in the conclusion part,
Further research involving patients with different degrees of disease severity or during flares could shed more light on potential brain structural changes in UC.
So once again, big congrats to the work being done to shed more light on our disease. There’s lots more work happening and even more in the pipeline, so keep in tune. I’ll try to keep you all up to date on news regarding this particular topic and more, mainly through the site’s newsletter and similar postings from time to time.
If you have any questions or comments, most definitely write a comment below. I’m going to forward the link to this posting on to Alessandro Agostini who was the main contact for the study, and who knows, maybe he has an update for us on what to expect next.
If you’d like to read the full study, please check it out here:
or you can read the abstract (short version) on pubmed here:
I wish you all the very best in the coming days, and may your brain have a great week along with your colon,
the answer earlier was……..”D” — Italy…(yay, relax…your brain is working just fine:)
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I started site and the eNewsletter(you can join that below) shortly after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in October of 2008 with severe pancolitis (when my whole colon was inflamed).
For me, it was a very rough start with severe symptoms. Getting bounced from medication to medication was not easy or too helpful. But, I did meet another UC’er, changes several parts of my diet, and of course the rest is history.
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