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Thursday 8 July 2021

UCLan to research effects of Covid-19 on gut diseases

Professor Morris Gordon has received national funding to investigate the management of inflammatory bowel disease during and after the pandemic

A University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) professor has received national funding to investigate the management of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Professor Morris Gordon has been granted £100,000 to undertake a year-long systematic reviews into how patients suffering with lifelong gut inflammation disorders managed without their usual access to face-to-face specialist clinics.

He will also research the effectiveness of using biologic and immunosuppressant therapies for people suffering with Crohn’s Disease and the usefulness of supplements to the diets of IBD patients.

The Professor of Evidence Synthesis and Systematic Review in UCLan’s School of Medicine, said: “The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the NHS was there for all to see but for many patients will chronic illness, it meant the closure of in-person clinics and a switch to using video or telephone technology. It also led to an increase in demand for patient education to support self-management.”

"The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the NHS was there for all to see but for many patients will chronic illness, it meant the closure of in-person clinics and a switch to using video or telephone technology"

Professor Morris Gordon, UCLan's Professor of Evidence Synthesis and Systematic Review

IBD affects 1 in 125 people in the UK and most commonly presents as Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. When active, IBD causes debilitating symptoms such as diarrhoea, weight loss, an urgent need to use the toilet, pain and extreme tiredness.

Professor Gordon commented: “With an increasing range of biologic options for Crohn’s Disease, an up-to-date study is needed to compare the full range of options. However, biologics have also been a key concern during the pandemic, as there is a recognised infection risk with their use, and that’s why patients on these biologics were put on the Government’s shielding list.

“There is also much interest in testing of drug levels to balance the benefits and side effects risk for IBD drugs while many patients are interested in dietary supplements to change their symptoms.”

The research project, funded by the National Institute for Health Research’s Evidence Synthesis Programme Grants Programme, will take advantage of completed clinical trials to carry out the systematic reviews.

Professor Gordon added: “Our reviews will give people with IBD and their healthcare team high quality evidence on care options, allowing informed decision making and patient choice.”