Can you predict who will experience pain in Crohn’s and Colitis?



If we can better understand why some patients with Crohn’s and Colitis are more likely to experience chronic pain we’ll be better able to manage and treat it.

Professor Qasim Aziz
Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry

What the researchers will look at

The researchers will be investigating pain in Crohn’s and Colitis. Firstly, they will use data from the IBD BioResource (a database of clinical samples and information of over 25,000 people with Crohn’s and Colitis) to see how common pain is in Crohn’s and Colitis (the prevalence of pain). They will also look for other pain conditions that patients suffer from – such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or arthritis.

Secondly, the researchers want to better understand who is likely to develop pain as a symptom of their Crohn’s or Colitis. To do this, they will look for the characteristics of pain in people with newly diagnosed Crohn’s and Colitis. They will use questionnaires, physiological measurements, and mobile phone apps to collect information about psychological and physiological wellbeing (in the context of pain) over 18 months.

When they’ve collected all of this data, the researchers will use machine learning techniques (artificial intelligence) to find risk factors that are linked to developing pain. Then they’ll see if they can predict who will develop chronic pain in a group of newly diagnosed people with Crohn’s or Colitis.

What the researchers think this could mean for people with Crohn’s or Colitis

Pain is a common symptom in people with Crohn’s or Colitis, even when the conditions are in remission (when disease is inactive). Chronic (ongoing) pain is linked to fatigue, depression and a lower quality of life in people with Crohn’s and Colitis.
The researchers aim to better understand pain and to find risk factors linked to the development of pain. If they can spot people who are likely develop pain early (potentially even when newly diagnosed), pain can be better managed and, for some, may even be prevented. This will lead to a better quality of life for people with Crohn’s and Colitis.

Who is leading this research: Professor Qasim Aziz, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry
Our funding: £114,993.00
Duration: 36 months
Official title of application: Identification of risk factors for the development of chronic abdominal pain in patients with inflammatory bowel disease