A link between a bug found in some fresh milk and Crohn's disease has been established by breakthrough research.
The discovery could bring demands to change milk production methods - perhaps following the common European practice of Ultra Heat Treatment (UHT). It could also provide the key to antibiotic treatments for the condition, which affects approximately 150,000 Britons.
Doctors have long claimed that a bug called Mycobacterium paratuberculosis (MAP), which is found in cattle and some milk, causes Crohn's. But the dairy industry has never accepted the link and researchers had failed to prove a connection.
Now scientists at Liverpool University have identified how MAP weakens the body's defence mechanism and so allows other harmful bugs, specifically e.coli, to thrive.
This e.coli, which is known to be present within Crohn's disease tissue in increased amounts, is believed to cause inflammation and sickness.
Crohn's leads to chronic intestinal inflammation, pain, bleeding and diarrhoea. It is a particularly distressing condition among children.
Professor Jon Rhodes, whose work was published in the journal Gastroenterology, said: "MAP has been found within Crohn's disease tissue but there has been much controversy concerning its role in the disease."
Source - Daily Mail