About 10%, or 100,000 of the estimated 1 million Americans who suffer from IBD (either Crohn's Disease, or ulcerative colitis) are under 18, according to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. CCFA said IBD has been has been detected in infants as young as 18 months and can be particularly hard to diagnosis in children.
Initial symptoms may be nonspecific weight loss or delayed growth. The average delay in diagnosis is three years from the onset of symptoms in children.
About 60%-90% of children with Crohn's and 15% of children with ulcerative colitis experience growth failure, CCFA statistics indicate.
In addition to weight loss and/or delayed growth, other IBD symptoms, which range from mild to severe and life-threatening, include any or all of the following:
1. Persistent diarrhea
2. Abdominal cramps
3. Rectal bleeding
4. Intermittent fever
5. Arthritic-like inflammation of the joints
6. Inflammation of the skin or eyes, and
7. Skin nodules and ulcers
Researchers Xiaonan Han, Erin Bonkowski and Lee Denson of the Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Cincinnati Childrens Hospital, Ohio, reported the results of their study "Growth hormone reduces STAT3 activation and modulates cellular apoptosis and proliferation in murine colitis" at an IBD translational conference sponsored by the American Physiological Society.
Dr. Denson's laboratory has been investigating ways to improve the actions of growth hormone in IBD. Recently, utilizing an animal model of IBD, they determined that growth hormone itself is able to directly reduce inflammation in the diseased