Study on Crohn’s disease in Ashkenazi Jews

Professor Lovat, an experienced consultant gastroenterologist who practices at the London Gastroenterology Centre in Harley Street, London, was involved in a recently published a report that studies the genetic complexity of Crohn’s disease. The report examines why Ashkenazi Jewish families are seemingly the most commonly affected by the disease.

What is Crohn’s disease?

Crohn’s disease is a long-term gastrointestinal condition that causes inflammation in the lining of the digestive system. It can also be referred to as ileitis or enteritis.

The disease can affect any part of the digestive tract, all the way from the mouth down to the anus. Most commonly, it is the small intestine that is affected.

Symptoms of Crohn’s disease

Crohn’s disease has a number of painful and uncomfortable symptoms, including:

  • Ulcers in the intestines
  • Inflammation
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhoea

According to the NHS, 1 in 1500 people suffer from Crohn’s disease in the UK affecting both males and females equally with most patients noticing the initial symptoms of the disease between the ages of 15 and 40.

Why is Crohn’s disease common with the Ashkenazi Jewish population?

Evidence shows that Ashkenazi Jews are approximately four times more likely to develop Crohn’s disease than non-Jews living under the same circumstances. This is due to a genetic predisposition passed down within families from generation to generation.

The study, which Professor Lovat played a part in, found that the genetic basis of the disease is particularly complex, with a role for both common and rare genetic variations. The findings show the value of family studies and the importance of the innate immune system in the development of Crohn’s Disease within Ashkenazi Jewish families.

For more information, download the full report.

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