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Journal of Crohn's and Colitis: 9 (5)

Editor-in-Chief

Laurence J. Egan, Ireland

Associate Editors

Maria T. Abreu, USAShomron Ben-Horin, IsraelSilvio Danese, ItalyPeter Lakatos, HungaryMiles Parkes, UKGijs van den Brink, NLSéverine Vermeire, Belgium

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A tale of two diseases: The history of inflammatory bowel disease

Daniel J. Mulder , Angela J. Noble , Christopher J. Justinich , Jacalyn M. Duffin
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.crohns.2013.09.009 341-348 First published online: 1 May 2014

Abstract

‘Inflammatory bowel disease’ (IBD) sounds like a straightforward term — a disease of inflammation in the bowel. However, the history of IBD reveals a story of a nefariously complex set of idiopathic conditions. IBD defies definition, in part because its pathophysiology is not completely understood. For the same reason and despite substantial advances in research, IBD also defies cure. At best, IBD can be defined as a disease of disruption — disrupted physiology, microbiology, immunology and genetics. The term ‘IBD’ is most often used to describe two separate conditions: ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD). This paper reviews the history of IBD, considering the ever-evolving understanding of both UC and CD. Beyond its intrinsic interest, the history of IBD exemplifies a pattern that is becoming increasingly familiar in the 21st century — the story of a chronic, incurable disease that defies the best efforts to treat it.

Keywords
  • Crohn's disease
  • History
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Abbreviations
    5-ASA
    5-aminosalicylic acid
    6-MP
    6-mercaptopurine
    CD
    Crohn's disease
    GI
    gastrointestinal
    IBD
    inflammatory bowel disease
    RCT
    randomized controlled trial
    TNF-α
    tumor necrosis factor alpha
    UC
    ulcerative colitis
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