Fewer Colonoscopies? Yes, Please!

Grant awarded to assess usefulness of MRIs in Crohn's disease

(RxWiki News) European researchers have just been awarded a grant to study the effectiveness of MRI imaging to monitor Crohn's disease, a severe inflammatory bowel disorder.

Colonoscopy is the current standard test used to diagnose the disease. A long, flexible tube with a camera at its end is passed through the anus and into the intestine. Before the procedure, the intestines must be flushed out with the use of laxatives, making both preparation and the colonoscopy itself a very uncomfortable ordeal.

Researchers in Europe are working to develop a new method to treat Crohn's disease through a project called VIGOR++. The study will gauge the effectiveness of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in diagnosing the severity of the disease in patients by measuring the thickness of the intestinal wall, for example.

Because of patient stress and discomfort, the use of MRIs is becoming a more popular tool to diagnose and monitor patients with Crohn's disease. Figuring out how to better implement these scans will hopefully reduce the amount of colonoscopies a patient must endure.

The team involved is optimistic, having received the maximum score possible for a research proposal in Europe, where Crohn's affects around 700,000 people.

Crohn's disease is a severe inflammatory disease of the digestive tract and affects approximately half a million people in the United States. Patients with Crohn's disease often experience frequent and occasionally bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever and vomiting.

Review Date: 
January 25, 2011