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News

Body-mass changes consistent with cachexia in pediatric Crohn's

Children and young adults with Crohns's disease have significant deficits in lean mass but preserved fat mass, which is consistent with cachexia, reports August's issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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Crohn disease in children is associated with low body mass index, poor growth, and delayed maturation.

However, alterations in lean and fat mass, are poorly characterized.

Dr Jon Burnham and colleagues quantified lean and fat mass in children and young adults with Crohn's disease.

The researchers also enrolled healthy control subjects, relative to height and pubertal maturation.

The research team conducted a cross-sectional study assessing whole-body lean and fat mass by using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.

The patients included 104 subjects with Crohn's disease and in 233 healthy control subjects aged 4 to 25 years.

The team used linear regression was used to determine the effect of Crohn's disease on body composition.

The mean lean mass-for-height z scores in the subjects with Crohn's disease was -0.6
American Journal of Nutrition

Gender-specific standard deviation scores, or z scores, were also generated for lean and fat mass relative to height.

The researchers noted that subjects with Crohn's disease had lower height-for-age and body mass index-for-age z scores than control subjects.

Crohns' disease was associated with significant deficits in lean mass after adjustment for height, age, race, and Tanner stage.

The researchers did not observe deficits in fat mass.

The team found that the mean lean mass-for-height and fat mass-for-height z scores in the subjects with Crohn's disease were -0.6 and -0.04, respectively.

Within the control group, the team noted that fat mass-for-height was positively correlated with lean mass-for height.

In addition, the team found no association between fat mass-for-height with lean mass-for height in the subjects with Crohns' disease.

Dr Burnham's team concludes, “Children and young adults with Crohns's disease had significant deficits in lean mass but preserved fat mass, which is consistent with cachexia.”

“Further research is needed to identify physical activity, nutritional, and antiinflammatory interventions to improve body composition in persons with Crohn's disease.”

Am J Clin Nutr 2005: 82(2): 413-20
11 August 2005

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