Research Ideas  

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Welcome to IBD Partners Research Ideas Page!

In this area you will be able to:

  • Propose, vote on, and discuss research ideas
  • View current studies
  • View published research

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You are an active participant in  IBD Partners research prioritization process! Have you ever had a question about IBD that you wish science could answer? Tell us what research is important to you!

Here, you can submit a research idea to the community, cast your votes, and discuss research ideas proposed by other members. Please make your research question as specific as possible. Other members will vote on your research idea, and we will prioritize research ideas with the most votes.

You are allowed to vote for your own proposed research idea if you want. However, you can only vote for a total of five research ideas. If you have already cast your five votes and an idea you like even more is proposed, you can change your votes at any time to reflect your current preferences.

The research team will review all submitted ideas and provide a response to you and to the community. If your idea leads to an IBD Partners Study, you will have the opportunity to serve as a patient collaborator on the research team for that study.

We encourage you to prioritize the ideas that are most important to you, even if the research team determines that your idea is not a good fit for IBD Partners. We will share ideas labeled “Not a Good Fit” with researchers outside of our network when appropriate. We want to make sure all of your votes count!

Thanks for your participation in this important platform to help the IBD research community understand what research questions are important to patients. We are passionate about finding answers to your questions!

Published Studies

Year Publication Categories
2018
Body Image Dissatisfaction in Pediatric Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Summary

Children and teenagers with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) are at increased risk of being unhappy with their body image. This study aimed to learn more about how common body image dissatisfaction (or “BID”) is among these children and teenagers and to see if we could point to any risk factors for having BID. A total of 664 participants in the IBD Partners Kids & Teens study, ages 9-18, completed an online survey about anxiety, depression, disease activity, and quality of life. We found that about 3% of participants met the criteria for having BID by selecting the answer choices “I look awful” or “I look bad” when asked about their appearance. Young patients with BID tended to have worse disease, to be taking steroids, to be female, and to be diagnosed at an older age. These participants were also much more anxious and depressed than those who were satisfied with their appearance. Pediatric patients with BID should discuss these concerns with their physicians and healthcare teams.


Full Scientific Abstract

Keywords
body image; body image dissatisfaction; BID, anxiety; depression; mood disorder; psychosocial; pediatric; children; kids; K&T; kids & teens; IBD Partners Kids & Teens

Lifestyle, Health Maintenance, Mental Health
2017
Obesity Is Associated with Worse Disease Activity in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: an Internet Based Cohort Study

Summary

More than 1/3 of adults in the US are obese and the rates of obesity are increasing. However, relatively little is known about the prevalence of obesity in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or the impact of obesity on IBD disease activity. In this study, we reviewed patients in the CCFA Partners database to better understand these issues. We found that approximately 30% of IBD patients were overweight and an additional 20% were obese. Patients who were overweight or obese were less likely to have their IBD in remission at baseline. We also found that patients who were obese (but not overweight patients) were more likely to have a relapse of their IBD within 6-12 months compared to normal weight patients. In summary, obesity appears to be relatively common amongst patients with IBD and may be a risk factor for worsened disease.


Full Scientific Abstract

Keywords
comorbidity; obese; obesity; overweight; nutrition; patient reported outcomes

Study Updates, Lifestyle
2016
Infertility Care Among Men and Women With Inflammatory Bowel Diseases in the CCFA Partners Cohort

Summary

We studied how often women and men with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) seek care for infertility (problems getting pregnant). We also looked at reasons why individuals had trouble getting pregnant. A total of 12.5% of women in CCFA Partners went to see a doctor for problems getting pregnant. This was a little higher in women with Crohn’s disease (14.1%) than in women with ulcerative colitis (9.5%). Risk factors for needing help getting pregnant were: prior GI surgery and older age. The most common cause of fertility problems in women was blocked fallopian tubes. For men, 8.7% needed help with fertility. Age was a risk factor. The most common cause of fertility problems was a problem with their female partner. Nearly 80% of women and men who went to the doctor for fertility problems were able to get pregnant. These rates of pregnancy with fertility treatment are similar to those of people without IBD.


Full Scientific Abstract

Keywords
infertility; pregnancy; sexual health; infertile; sexual function

Health Maintenance
2016
Hormonal Contraception Use is Common Among Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Elevated Risk for Deep Vein Thrombosis

Summary

People with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have an increased risk of blood clots due to having inflammation. Other risk factors can include things like smoking, using steroids, and being overweight. Most forms of hormonal contraception (birth control pills) have estrogen which can also increase clotting risk. We studied whether people with IBD that had risk factors for clotting were also put on birth control pills. This could be an opportunity for prevention (as other birth control options are available that do not increase clotting risk). Over 3000 women with IBD completed surveys asking about birth control methods and other risk factors for clotting. Birth control pills were used in over 30% of women with IBD. Women with risk factors for clotting (smoking, steroids, obesity) still had the same rates of birth control pill use as those without these risk factors. Based on this study, it is important for GI doctors to ask patients about birth control use and find out whether they also have other risk factors for a blood clot. By changing the form of contraception, this could prevent a complication of a blood clot in the future.


Full Scientific Manuscript

Keywords
Blood clots; Deep Vein Thrombosis; DVT; hormonal contraception; contraception; women’s health; birth control pills

Women's Health
2016
Role of Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs in Exacerbations of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Summary

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, medications such as Advil, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.) may cause GI inflammation in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD patients are often told to avoid these medications. We looked at patients in CCFA Partners in who were in remission (with few to no symptoms) and asked about regular NSAID use. We then looked at whether they flared 6 months later. A total of 791 patients were included, of these, 40.6% reported ever using NSAIDS at baseline. Patients with Crohn's disease (CD) who regularly used NSAIDS (at least 5 times/monthly) had a 65% increased risk of later flare. No effect of regular NSAID use was seen for ulcerative colitis (UC). Those with CD who used acetaminophen (Tylenol) also had a 72% increased risk of later flare. Lower doses of NSAIDs had no association with flare. Therefore, regular NSAID use or acetaminophen use may increase the risk of flare in CD, but not UC. This may be related to effects of the medications. It is also possible that those people with IBD who require pain medications at baseline may not be in as full a remission, which may increase the risk of later flare.


Full Scientific Manuscript

Keywords
active disease; nonsteroid; NSAID; anti-inflammatory; drugs; flare; risk; prevention

Medications
2015
Keep or Destroy? Attitudes of Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Diseases on Biospecimen Handling at Biobank Closure

Summary

A biobank is a collection of samples from patients (including spit, stool or blood). Biobanks are important for understanding risk factors for developing disease or for severity of disease. The purpose of this study was to understand how patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) feel about the continued use of their samples after the biobank has closed. A total of 26 CCFA Partners members participated in a phone interview about the risks and benefits of their samples being used for research, and the results of these conversations were used to create a survey. The survey included three primary themes: 1) degree to which samples remain an individual’s property after donation; 2) samples are a good that can be sold; and 3) the belief that results from sample analysis could lead to discrimination. About 1,000 CCFA Partners participants completed the survey online. Most participants expressed the desire to know what would happen to their samples and genetic information if the biobank closed. Most were comfortable with the samples and genetic information being destroyed. Most were also comfortable donating their samples and genetic information to IBD research. Most participants were not comfortable with selling their samples and genetic information after the biobank closes. We learned that it is important for researchers to create a plan for samples if the biobank closes and to communicate this plan to the participant at the beginning of the study.


Full Scientific Abstract

Keywords
biospecimen; biobank; biobanking; specimen; biospecimen handling; consent; informed consent; genetic testing

Research Methods
2015
Avoidance of Fiber is Associated with Greater Risk of Crohn's Disease Flare in a 6 Month Period

Summary

Dietary fiber is found in plant foods such as fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Past studies found that dietary fiber can affect bacterial colonies in your stomach and intestines. However, there is limited information about how dietary fiber affects inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) symptoms. In this study, we looked at fiber consumption and whether it was associated with flares in adults with IBD. A total of 1619 participants in CCFA Partners completed a diet survey and a follow-up survey 6 months later. We found that participants with Crohn’s disease who reported eating the most fiber were less likely to have a flare within a 6 month period. In addition, participants with Crohn’s disease who told us they did not avoid high fiber foods were about 40% less likely to have a flare than participants who told us they avoid high fiber foods. Interestingly, we did not find an association between fiber consumption and disease flares among participants with ulcerative colitis. In summary, eating foods high in fiber may help reduce risk of flares among patients with Crohn’s disease.


Full Published Manuscript

Keywords
active disease; fiber; flare; prevention; risk; Crohn’s disease; Crohn’s; CD

Diet, Alternative Therapies, Lifestyle, Health Maintenance
2015
Exercise Decreases Risk of Future Active Disease in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Remission

Summary

Little is known about how exercise impacts disease activity in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This study explored the relationship between exercise level and disease activity in a large group of patients with IBD in remission. A total of 1,857 patients from the CCFA Partners cohort participated by answering online questions about their exercise level and disease activity at the beginning of the study (in remission) and then again after six-months. We found that participants with Crohn’s disease who reported higher levels of exercise at the beginning of the study were significantly less likely to report active disease six-months later. We also found this association among participants with ulcerative colitis (UC) and indeterminate colitis (IC), but the results were not significant. Results of this study suggest that for patients with Crohn’s disease (and possibly for patients with UC and IC) who are in remission, higher levels of exercise may reduce the risk of developing active disease in the short-term.


Full Published Manuscript

Keywords
active disease; flare; prevention; risk

Exercise, Lifestyle, Alternative Therapies, Health Maintenance
2014
Perceptions of Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases on Biobanking in the CCFA Partners Cohort

Summary

A biobank is a collection of samples from patients (including spit, stool or blood). Biobanks are very important for understanding risk factors for developing disease or for severity of disease. We wanted to understand more about why patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) would or would not participate in a biobank. We first did a series of interviews over the phone with patients who were participating in the CCFA Partners study. This helped us to understand the important concerns about biobanks and develop a survey for use in CCFA Partners. We then sent a survey to over 800 people with IBD in CCFA Partners. We did a total of 26 phone interviews. Patients doing the interviews told us that they had concerns about how samples would be collected/stored; who would be allowed access; whether these samples would be used for other things (not only research); and whether this would affect whether they could get life insurance. Most people were not that worried about using the blood for genetic studies. People thought that that biobanks were important for research, that they might lead to a cure; that by donating they would be helping others or family members with IBD; and hoped that they might personally benefit, although most understood that they likely would not. These themes aided in the development of a survey instrument to assess perceptions of biobanking. A total of 476 people initially finished the survey. Almost 40% said that they would 'definitely yes' donate samples, 56.0% would 'probably yes' donate, 5.1% 'probably no' and 0.7% 'definitely no'. There were no factors that made someone more likely to donate (reported donation rates were not different for Crohn's disease (CD) versus ulcerative colitis (UC), remission versus active disease, or education level. People were most willing to donate spit, followed by blood and lastly stool. Knowing these important thoughts on sample donation/biobanks will help researchers to develop consents for IBD biobanks and design educational materials on biobanks for IBD A biobank is a collection of biological samples, such as saliva, blood, and stool, from individuals with a common condition such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Biobanks are important for understanding risk factors for developing disease or for severity of disease. We wanted to learn more about IBD patients’ understanding of and willingness to participate in a biobank. We first did 26 phone interviews with patient volunteers participating in the CCFA Partners study. Those interviews helped us better understand concerns related to biobanks. Patients doing the interviews told us that they had concerns about how samples would be collected/stored, who would be allowed access, whether these samples would be used for anything other than research, and whether participation in a biobank would affect life insurance eligibility. Most patients were not that worried about using blood for genetic studies. Participants thought biobanks were important for research, that they might lead to a cure, that by donating they would be helping others or family members with IBD, and hoped that they might personally benefit. These results from the phone interviews were used to develop an online survey instrument to assess perceptions of biobanking. In a larger sample, a total of 1,007 people with IBD completed the online survey. Almost 40% said they would ‘definitely’ donate samples, 56.4% would ‘probably’ donate, 3.6% ‘probably not’, and 0.6% ‘definitely not’. There were no differences in willingness to donate specimens based on disease type (Crohn’s vs. ulcerative colitis) or on disease activity (in remission vs. currently active disease). People were most willing to donate saliva specimens, followed by blood and lastly stool samples. Knowing these important attitudes and beliefs about sample donations and biobanks will help researchers develop consents and educational materials related to biobanks that will encourage wider involvement.


Full Published Manuscript

Keywords
biobanking; sample collection; sample storage, confidentiality; HIPAA; community; population

Research Methods, Study Updates
2014
Prevalence of a Gluten-free Diet and Improvement of Clinical Symptoms in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Summary

Patients with celiac disease (an autoimmune disorder where eating gluten can damage the small intestine) benefit from a gluten free diet (GFD). Few data are available to tell us if patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) may also benefit from this diet. Individuals with GI symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue and nausea can have non-celiac gluten sensitivity, for which a GFD can be beneficial. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity can also co-exist with IBD. We therefore asked patients enrolled in CCFA Partners whether they have ever tried a gluten free diet (GFD), whether they followed this diet closely, and whether it helped with any symptoms. A total of 1647 people took the survey on GFD. A total of 314 (19.1%) reported that they had ever tried a GFD and 135 (8.1%) were currently following the diet. Overall, 206/314 (65.6%) trying a GFD reported improvement in any GI symptom while on this diet. Over a 1/3 of people (38.3%) felt that they experienced fewer or less severe flares while on the diet. Improvements in clinical symptoms were reported for bloating (56.5%), diarrhea (42.6%), abdominal pain (41.5%), fatigue (27.5%), and nausea (26.3%) while on a GFD. Fatigue was significantly improved with excellent adherence to the diet. Because many patients had improved symptoms on the GFD, it is possible that patients with IBD could suffer from non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Fewer people who felt better on a GFD were taking biologics medications, suggesting that flare symptoms in those with more severe disease may not respond to a GFD. Future studies are needed to understand the benefits of this diet in IBD patients, and the mechanism of improvement with this dietary intervention.


Full Published Manuscript

Keywords
Gluten Free Diet; GFD; flare; active disease; risk; prevention

Diet, Lifestyle, Alternative Therapies, Health Maintenance
2013
Sleep Disturbance and Risk of Active Disease in Patients With Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

Summary

People with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, tend to have poor quality of sleep. In this study of over 3000 people with IBD, those with more disease activity, depression, female gender, a history of smoking, or those currently taking corticosteroids or narcotics were more likely to have sleep disturbance. Of people with Crohn's disease who were in remission at the beginning of the study, those with sleep disturbance were twice as likely to have a flare in 6 months. No effect was seen for ulcerative colitis. These results suggest that sleep is important for maintaining remission in IBD.


Full Published Manuscript

Keywords
active disease; sleep; flare; risk; prevention; Crohn’s Disease; Crohn's; CD; Ulcerative Colitis; UC; colitis

Lifestyle
2013
Risk Factors for Depression in the Elderly Inflammatory Bowel Disease Population

Summary

Depression is common among patients with inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD. This study showed that as many as 1 in 4 elderly patients with IBD may suffer from depression. Depressed elderly patients with IBD were more likely to have more severe disease activity. They were also less likely to take their medication correctly all of the time.


Full Published Manuscript

Keywords
depression; screening; detection; prevention; comorbidity; geriatric; elderly; age; population; community; medication; adherence; compliance

Mental Health
2013
Symptom Worsening During Pregnancy and Lactation is Associated with Age, Body Mass Index, and Disease Phenotype in Women with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Summary

In a study of over 300 women with inflammatory bowel disease who reported at least one pregnancy after their IBD diagnosis, more than half reported that their disease symptoms improved during pregnancy, while about 20% said that their disease symptoms were worse during pregnancy. Younger women and women with ulcerative colitis were more likely to have increased disease symptoms during pregnancy. Of the nearly 200 women who breastfed, 14% said that symptoms improved, 13% said symptoms got worse and about 40% said their symptoms did not change during breastfeeding Those with worsening symptoms during breastfeeding were younger and had a lower body mass index than those whose symptoms remained the same or improved.


Full Scientific Abstract

Keywords
community; population; pregnancy; hormone; hormonal; hormone influence; hormone fluctuation; lactation; age; BMI Disease phenotype; BMI; phenotype; flare; active disease; risk; women; women’s health; female; feminine; symptom

Lifestyle
2013
Inflammatory Bowel Disease Symptom Severity is Influenced by Hormone Fluctuations in Many Women with IBD

Summary

In a study of over 1200 females with inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, more than half reported worsening disease symptoms during menstrual periods. Women who reported worse symptoms during menses were younger than those who did not. About 10% said that hormonal contraceptive agents improved their symptoms, but about 8% said that hormonal contraceptive agents made their symptoms worse. Among women who had reached menopause, an older age of IBD onset was associated with worse symptoms after menopause. This study shows that symptom severity is influenced during times of hormone changes in many women with IBD and that duration of IBD may play a role in hormonally mediated symptoms.


Full Scientific Abstract

Keywords
hormone; hormonal; women; women’s health; female; feminine; hormone influence; hormone fluctuation; ovulation; menarche; menses; menopause; age; active disease flare; risk; community; population

Lifestyle
2013
Immunization Rates and Vaccine Beliefs Among Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease: An Opportunity for Improvement

Summary

Treatment for inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, puts patients at risk of other infections, like influenza or the "flu", which could be prevented by vaccines. In a study of nearly 1000 patients with IBD, not enough said they were getting the vaccines they needed. Patients with a primary care physician and those taking immunosuppressive medications were more likely to get vaccines. The researchers recommend educating patients and encouraging gastroenterologists to ask and counsel patients on vaccines.


Full Published Manuscript

Keywords
vaccine; vaccination; immunization; immunotherapy

Alternative Therapies, Lifestyle, Health Maintenance
2012
Dietary Patterns and Self-Reported Associations of Diet with Symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Summary

People with inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, often say that specific foods make their symptoms better or worse, but there is no good scientific evidence to support a specific diet. In this study, nearly 7,000 patients with Crohn's disease or ulcerative completed a survey about the their diet and IBD symptoms. Yogurt and rice were most often reported to improve symptoms. Vegetables, fruit, spicy foods, fried foods, milk, red meat, soda, popcorn, dairy, alcohol, high fiber foods, fatty foods, seeds, coffee and beans were most frequently reported to worsen symptoms. In general, patients with ulcerative colitis ate more fruit, vegetables, beans and popcorn than patients with Crohn's disease. Crohn's disease patients with an ostomy tended to eat more cheese, sweetened beverages, milk, pizza and processed meats than Crohn's disease without an ostomy.


Full Published Manuscript

Keywords
active disease; flare; prevention; risk

Diet, Lifestyle, Alternative Therapies
2011
Status of Prevention in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases within the CCFA Partners Cohort

Summary

Patients with inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, may be more likely to develop weak bones, infections like influenza and tuberculosis and certain cancers of the skin, cervix and colon, depending on the type of medications they use. Fortunately, there are simple activities that can prevent these from occurring. In a survey of over 7000 patients with IBD, only about half had a bone density scan or took calcium or vitamin D supplements to promote bone health. Only 40% reported having a skin exam and 16% reported always wearing sunscreen to prevent skin cancer. Less than two thirds had an influenza (flu) vaccine. These results show that not enough patients are doing simple activities to prevent weak bones, infections and cancers that may be related to IBD.


Full Scientific Abstract

Keywords
preventive; care; active disease; flare; prevention; risk; educational interventions; intervention; education; outreach; community; population

Research Methods, Health Maintenance

Active Studies VIEW ALL
Genetic and Environmental Risks for Inflammatory Bowel Disease Study

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