Challenges in pediatric inflammatory bowel disease

Athos Bousvaros, Francisco Sylvester, Subra Kugathasan, Eva Szigethy, Claudio Fiocchi, Richard Colletti, Anthony Otley, Devendra Amre, George Ferry, Steven J. Czinn, Judy B. Splawski, Maria Oliva-Hemker, Jeffrey S. Hyams, William A. Faubion, Barbara S. Kirschner, Marla C. Dubinsky, Marjorie Merrick

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


It is estimated that of the >1 million individuals in the United States with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), ≈100,000 are children. IBD that begins in childhood affects the individual at a critical period of growth and development. Children with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis may experience complications such as growth failure, school absence, and depression. In addition, because children with IBD have fewer environmental confounders such as smoking, children may be an excellent population to study microbial and immune interactions. Despite these opportunities, the discipline of pediatric IBD investigation is still in its infancy.In September of 2005, a group of investigators with expertise in pediatric IBD met in Boston (Massachusetts) to review the current status of childhood IBD research and to develop research priorities that warranted funding from the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. The group included pediatricians, internists, basic scientists, clinical investigators, and members of the administrative staff and board of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. The research needs in respective areas were outlined by the heads of 10 focus groups, each with expertise in their respective fields (genetics, psychosocial issues, epidemiology, microbiology, immunology, quality improvement, pharmacogenomics, nutrition, growth and skeletal health, and clinical trials). Before the conference, heads of the research focus groups developed their proposals with experts in the field. At the end of the conference, members of the focus groups and members of the steering committee rated the proposed areas of study in terms of feasibility and importance. It was recommended that the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America focus its initial efforts in pediatric IBD in 5 areas: the effects of inflammation on growth and skeletal development, the genetics of early-onset IBD, the development of quality improvement interventions to standardize and improve clinical care of children with IBD, the immunology of childhood IBD, and the diagnosis and treatment of psychosocial sequelae of childhood IBD. At the conclusion of the meeting, investigators discussed the formation of a multicenter collaborative network to advance clinical and basic research in the field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)885-913
Number of pages29
JournalInflammatory bowel diseases
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Anxiety
  • Bone
  • Child
  • Crohn's disease
  • Depression
  • Epidemiology
  • Genetics
  • Growth
  • Immunology
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Microbiology
  • Nutrition
  • Osteopenia
  • Pediatric
  • Pharmacogenomics
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychosocial
  • Quality improvement
  • Ulcerative colitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Gastroenterology


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