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D. Researchers Strive to Better Understand Crohn's Disease

Narrator: This is Science Today. Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory disease, which primarily causes breaks in the lining of the small and large intestines and it affects more than half a million Americans. Dr. Michael Karin, a professor of pharmacology at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, says people with Crohn's disease are considered at high risk for colon cancer.

Karin: Our understanding of the disease has not been all that great, but a few years ago, two large consortia have identified mutations in a gene called NOD-2 that account for about fifty percent of the Crohn's disease cases in Western populations.

Narrator: Karin explains that having these mutations does not mean everyone will develop the disease, nor does it mean a person develops it as soon as they are born.

Karin: Most Crohn's disease starts showing up in teenagers, so fourteen, fifteen years, they are healthy and all of a sudden, they start complaining of symptoms of these disease.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.