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23andMe Inflammatory Bowel Disease Study

When I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, I had never even heard of it before. In the 2 1/2 years since then, I’ve made quite a few friends who also have Crohn’s Disease. It’s nice to have a group of friends who have the same disease you do, and thanks to them, I’m usually kept very up to date on new studies, treatments, and other Crohn’s-related news pieces (I was sent this article about cannabis being an effective Crohn’s treatment about a dozen times, which kind of made me giggle). My buddy Rhys Morgan alerted me to the new 23andMe Inflammatory Bowel Disease study. (For those who are unaware, Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are both considered Inflammatory Bowel Disease, since they are similar diseases.)

I’ve been interested in 23andMe since I saw Jen McCreight mention it in a talk at Skepticon in 2011, but I found the cost prohibitive. However, if you have either Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis, you can participate in the Inflammatory Bowel Disease study for free! On 23andMe’s page, they describe their goal in doing this study:

To find a better way to treat IBD through genetics. By partnering with Pfizer (a manufacturer developing new drugs to treat IBD) on this first study, we will work together to learn how your genes and your environment could play a role in IBD drug treatment, and how they relate to IBD risk and progression.

Our research objective is to understand the genetic associations found between IBD patients’ DNA and their disease, and apply this understanding to Pfizer’s drug development efforts.

The author holding up a box from 23andMe.If you participate, you get the $99 kit for free, which includes their “Personal Genome Service,” as well as receiving your raw genetic data (I’m not 100% sure what that means, but I guess I will find out very soon!).

My kit showed up today, and all I have to do is spit into a test tube (gross, but it’s for science!) and answer a short survey about my treatment history. Unfortunately, only US residents can participate. I’m not entirely sure why people from other countries cannot participate (seems like it’d be better to get data from around the world), but my guess is that it may have something to do with laws regarding mailing bodily fluids internationally.

If you have Inflammatory Bowel Disease or know someone who has it, let them know about this study! Once I get results, I’ll be sure to post about them. I’m very interested to see what they say! Hopefully doing this study by mail will help get more data from people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to participate in a study like this.

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Sarah is a feminist, atheist vegan with Crohn’s Disease, and she won’t shut up about any of those things. You really need to follow her on Twitter (and probably Google+, just to be safe).

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