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Crohn's and Colitis in Children Study


The incidence of Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis (collectively known as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, IBD) are increasing in New Zealand and occurring more in young people.

These conditions are life-long and can impact on children and adolescents in many different ways. The conditions include symptoms (pain and diarrhoea), impaired growth and interruptions to normal activities, such as school. IBD requires specialised medical therapies and sometimes hospitalisation or surgery.

The Study

The purpose of this study is to obtain information on diagnostic features, presentation patterns and family history in children diagnosed with IBD in the South Island. Children will also be asked to join the study following diagnosis. In addition, the study will soon include children diagnosed across all NZ.

Children will undergo a baseline assessment after recruitment. Each child will be reviewed three-monthly for the first year of follow up and then every six months. Each review will include measurement of faecal inflammatory biomarkers along with assessment of disease activity, progress and outcomes.

Current available biomarkers for assessment of IBD are non-specific and poorly sensitive. We wish to establish more reliable biomarkers by gathering serial stools from these children. These samples will be used to ascertain the predictive value of specific novel faecal markers in regards to disease progress and outcomes in these children.

The Future

This study will clearly define the patterns and impact of IBD in NZ children and adolescents. Better tools for the ongoing assessment of gut inflammation should lead directly to improved outcomes for children with IBD. The establishment of these faecal biomarkers may help us predict the risk of relapse and disease complications.  This would permit customization and optimization of therapy.

Further Information

Laura Appleton
Assistant Research Fellow
Department of Paediatrics, University of Otago, Christchurch
PO BOX 4345, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand
Tel: 64 3 372 6718


Professor Andrew Day
Professor and Head of Department
Department of Paediatrics, University of Otago, Christchurch
PO Box 4345, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand
Tel: 64 3 372 6718