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Program Update: UCLA Pediatric IBD Expert care for young patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease


Program Update: Inflammatory Bowel DiseaseIBD: Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

While the cause of IBD is not known, both genetics and environmental factors contribute, resulting in an inappropriate immune response to the presence of bacteria in the digestive tract.

Crohn’s disease may progress from initial inflammation through swelling, scarring and, finally, narrowing of the small intestine or colon. Ulcerative colitis causes similar inflammation, leading to bloody diarrhea.

UCLA Pediatric IBD: A Wealth of Resources

We gather gastroenterologists, pediatric surgeons, a nutritionist, psychologist, social and worker to help patients achieve the best possible outcomes.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) most commonly develops in patients during adolescence, becoming a lifelong condition requiring long-term medical care. UCLA Pediatric IBD offers a full range of expert care and related services to set young IBD patients on course to successfully manage their disease without letting their IBD slow them down.

Advanced Imaging

While most specialists continue to rely on fluoroscopic X-ray technology that has been the standard of care for decades, UCLA has developed protocols for using MR (magnetic resonance) enterography to provide highly detailed images of the intestine and colon without the radiation exposure associated with the older imaging technique.

This state-of-the art technique enables UCLA physicians to detect early very subtle changes in inflammation.

Program Update: IBD TreatmentIBD Treatment

The goal in treating IBD is to detect and intervene early, preventing a progression of disease that could lead to the need for, often repeated, surgical removal of scarred intestine in Crohn’s disease, or removal of the colon in ulcerative colitis.

Medical treatment is custom-tailored to each patient, first to bring the disease under control and then to maintain remission. Physicians use an array of medications targeted to the activity of the disease.

Psychosocial Care

IBD symptoms — including abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea — and treatments that require daily medication and restricted diets can be trying for children. A psychologist and social worker help patients, and families, understand that their disease should not limit their activities.

A UCLA transition-of-care program helps older pediatric patients move seamlessly into the care of adult gastroenterology specialists. Teens are encouraged to take responsibility in making doctor appointments, having blood drawn for lab work and taking their medications. UCLA gastroenterologists in Westwood and Santa Monica collaborate in the transition program to ensure that these patients continue to receive outstanding care as they move into adulthood.

Program Update: ResearchResearch

IBD researchers at UCLA enjoy the advantages of being part of a major research university, collaborating with colleagues in a number of different disciplines. In exploring new means of IBD diagnosis and treatment, they have made advances that have helped create standards of IBD care.

Current research includes study of the role of vitamin D deficiency as a possible contributor to disease development, and supplementation as a means of modulating the immune system. Physician-scientists also investigate the intestinal bacteria present in IBD patients and ways of influencing how the body recognizes and reacts to these bacteria. UCLA researchers are also developing new PET/CT (positron emission tomography/computed tomography) imaging modalities that will detect very early signs of an immune response to allow earlier intervention. New medications are being evaluated and a pediatric IBD program study coordinator helps enroll appropriate patients in clinical trials of promising new drugs before they are widely available in the community.

Participating Physicians

David Ziring, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Pediatric Gastroenterology
Director, UCLA Pediatric IBD

Jorge Vargas, M.D.
Professor of Pediatric Gastroenterology

Martin Martin, M.D.
Professor of Pediatric Gastroenterology

UCLA Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology

12-383 Marion Davies Children’s Center
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1752
Information (310) 206-6134
Appointments (310) 825-0867

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