Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

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IBD is Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. They come in two main forms – Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis – but both are caused by excessive inflammation in the gut. Very few patients have an overlap of both diseases called IBD unspecified (IBDu). The disease can cause bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain and urgency to have a bowel movement. Untreated, IBD has a significant effect on both health and lifestyle, and disproportionately affects young people.

We know that IBD is a result of excessive inflammation – the same immune response you get when you have an infection, but in the absence of any recognizable danger. Current research shows the involvement of not only the immune response, but also the intestinal lining, the gut bacteria, and the genetic background; all acting together.

Most treatments involve reducing the inflammation, and trying to reduce any recognizable danger that make the disease worse. These triggers are very different from person to person.


To see a presentation on Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Update 2020 - For Patients - by GHN Director Michael Schultz, please click here.

IBD Risk Genes

There is no specific gene for IBD – some people have no genetic association at all. However, scientists have found a large number of genes that may be involved separately or in combination, in some people.

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Prof. Michael Schultz, MD PhD

Director; Gastroenterologist, Head of Department of Medicine, Professor (Gastroenterology), University of Otago


Prof. Roslyn Kemp, PhD

Professor, Immunologist, Assoc. Dean of Research, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Otago


Prof. Murray Barclay MD FRACP

Clinical Pharmacologist and Gastroenterologist, Clinical Pharmacology, University of Otago, Christchurch


Prof. Andrew Day, MB ChB MD FRACP AGAF

Professor, Pediatric Gastroenterologist, Head of Department, Cure Kids Chair of Pediatric Research, University of Otago Christchurch


Dr. Andrew Highton

Research Fellow, Immunologist, Dept. of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Otago


Dr. Safina Gadeock

Research Fellow, Epithelial Physiologist, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Otago, New Zealand.