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EARLY DIAGNOSIS IN RELATIVES OF CROHN'S DISEASE PATIENTS: A MULTICENTER RESEARCH PROJECT

The risk of Crohn's disease in first-degree relatives of patients is up to 13 times higher than normal. Up to about 15-20 percent of these family members can be affected by the disease. In general, Crohn's disease tends to remain silent, or asymptomatic (without showing any signs), for many years. When symptoms finally occur, there is often already irreversible damage that is difficult to treat medically. The purpose of this research, coordinated by Carilion's multi-disciplinary IBD center team and involving many other centers nationwide, is to make an early diagnosis of the disease in first-degree relatives (brothers, sisters, children, and parents). Early diagnosis can potentially allow for a much better clinical management and potentially avoid many of the serious, long-standing complications well known to Crohn's disease patients.