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Advancements in IBD care: Natural supplements, disease monitoring via sweat and more

Get a first look at the latest IBD research to be presented at this year’s Crohn’s & Colitis Congress®.
Crohn's & Colitis Congress 2024 graphic
Crohn's & Colitis Congress 2024 graphic

Las Vegas, NV (Jan. 25, 2024) — The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation® and the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) are proud to host the annual Crohn’s & Colitis Congress®, taking place on Jan. 25-27, 2024, in Las Vegas. The Crohn’s & Colitis Congress convenes researchers, clinicians, and other professionals involved in the care of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to share the latest research breakthroughs and treatment advancements in IBD. During this premier meeting, we’ll review the latest advancements in IBD care that aim to improve the lives of the millions of Americans living with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Below is a summary of the top studies being presented at Crohn’s & Colitis Congress. To speak with the study authors or to review all 195 abstracts being presented, please email [email protected]. 

Herbal Chinese medicine effective in maintaining remission in UC 
Study title: Maintenance efficacy of oral indigo naturalis for ulcerative colitis: A single-center, open-label, randomized, controlled study 

Presented by Yuichi Matsuno, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan 

Summary: Indigo naturalis is an herbal medicine used in Chinese medicine that has previously been shown to be very effective in inducing remission in patients with ulcerative colitis. In this randomized controlled study, patients taking indigo naturalis for at least one year were enrolled and then randomized to either continue or discontinue indigo naturalis therapy. At 52 weeks, the remission rate was 90% for the patients still taking indigo naturalis. For the patients who discontinued indigo naturalis, the remission rate was only 20%. This study showed that indigo naturalis seems to be very effective in maintaining remission in patients with ulcerative colitis. 

Sweat offers an accurate measurement of IBD inflammation and disease activity 

Study title: Continuous monitoring of CRP, IL-6 and calprotectin in inflammatory bowel disease using a perspiration-based wearable 

Presented by Shalini Prasad, University of Texas, Dallas and EnLiSense  

Summary: Patients with IBD were given a proprietary wearable sensor device to measure their perspiration for biomarkers of inflammation and disease activity, which included C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and calprotectin. Serum and stool samples were also collected from patients. The levels detected in perspiration were similar to the serum and stool levels for both patients with active disease and those in remission. This study showed that perspiration can be a potential noninvasive alternative for measuring inflammatory disease markers in patients with IBD. 

The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, through IBD Ventures, is funding research to support EnLiSense in the development of a wearable sensor that monitors biomarkers of inflammation in a patient’s sweat.  

Concurrent depression and PTSD predict chronic opioid use among adolescents and young adults with IBD  

Study title: Developing a scoring system to predict chronic opioid use among adolescents and young adults with inflammatory bowel disease  

Presented by Salva Balbale, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine  

Summary: Twenty percent of adolescents and young adults with IBD may be chronic opioid users. Researchers found that the following risk factors were most associated with chronic opioid use: public insurance coverage, undergoing a non-GI related surgical procedure, and having concurrent diagnoses of depression and PTSD. With this data, researchers developed a practical scoring system that can be used to predict chronic opioid use and create targeted opioid reduction interventions for this population. 

Additional abstracts you may be interested in covering: 

  • Can alcohol reduce Crohn’s disease complications? This study found that alcohol use was associated with a decreased risk of developing a Crohn’s disease-related fistula or abscess. 
  • Step therapy harms: This study of over 2,000 patients showed that medication denial led to a nine-fold increase in the likelihood of an IBD-related surgery. 
  • Saffron supplements lowering inflammation: The findings from this study showed that saffron added to standard-of-care treatment may positively benefit patients with ulcerative colitis. 
  • To review these abstracts or see the full abstract book, email [email protected].   


All abstracts presented at the meeting will be published in online supplements to Gastroenterology and Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. All data presented at Crohn’s & Colitis Congress is embargoed until the start of the Congress, 8:30 a.m. PST on Thursday, January 25, 2024. 

About the Crohn’s & Colitis Congress®
The Crohn’s & Colitis Congress®, taking place from Jan. 25-27, 2024, in Las Vegas, Nevada, combines the strengths of the nation’s leading IBD patient organization, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, and the premier GI professional association, the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA). Together we are committed to convening the greatest minds in IBD to transform patient care. The Crohn’s & Colitis Congress is the must-attend meeting for all IBD professionals. Learn more at   

About the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation
The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization focused on both research and patient support for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), with the mission of curing Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and improving the quality of life for the millions of Americans living with IBD. The Foundation’s work is dramatically accelerating the research process, while also providing extensive educational and support resources for patients and their families, medical professionals, and the public. For more information, visit, call 888-694-8872, or email [email protected]. 

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About the AGA Institute 
The American Gastroenterological Association is the trusted voice of the GI community. Founded in 1897, AGA has grown to more than 16,000 members from around the globe who are involved in all aspects of the science, practice and advancement of gastroenterology. The AGA Institute administers the practice, research and educational programs of the organization.   

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