One thing I love to do when I’m avoiding work is to research stuff online–I can waste entire evenings (or days!) researching some obscure historical fact or strange disease (just ask me anything about Munchausen by Proxy!). When I started my latest graduate program, one thing I was particularly pleased about was my newly acquired access to the university’s online medical journals, which gives me an entirely new avenue for “research” (or, as some would call it, “procrastination”). My current pet project is researching diseases related to tnf-alpha overproduction because two of my siblings suffer from Crohn’s Disease, which also has a genetic component. My daughter’s father suffers from psoriasis–also believed to be caused by tnf-alpha overproduction, and his brother suffers from Crohn’s Disease. In other words, my daughter may have a genetic predisposition to developing a disease related to tnf-alpha overproduction (which explains my research on the topic). Last summer, I discovered a journal article that noted a negative correlation between vegetarian diets and diseases caused by tnf-alpha factor. Since my daughter has been vegetarian since she was two and vegan since she was fourteen, I was greatly relieved by this information.
However, in my reading this evening, I came across a recent article from The World Journal of Gastroenterology that suggested that a semi-vegetarian diet has proven very promising in preventing relapse in patients currently in remission (through the use of drugs such as Remicade). Both of my CD siblings are in remission because they’re on Remicade. However, the drug could stop working at any time: this study will offer them an avenue (within their control) to extend their remission. Here are the highlights of the study:
AIM: To investigate whether semi-vegetarian diet (SVD) has a preventive effect against relapse of Crohn’s disease (CD) in patients who have achieved remission, who are a high-risk group for relapse.
CONCLUSION: SVD was highly effective in preventing relapse in CD.
Innovations and breakthroughs
The SVD was highly effective in preventing relapse in CD. Remission rate with the SVD was 100% at 1 year and 92% at 2 years. This is the best result in relapse prevention. The concentration of C-reactive protein, an indicator of inflammation, was normal at the final visit in more than half of the patients on the SVD, which indicated that more than half of the patients who continue the SVD will be free from relapse as long as they maintain the diet.
The SVD in this study was a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet in which eggs and milk were used. Fish was served once a week and meat once every 2 wk, both at about half of the average amount.
This is an excellent paper with clear scientific data in a clinical area of extreme importance.”
Now, if only I can convince my siblings to join me in my plant-based-diet experiment. Not bloody likely (I say with a fake British accent).