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    IBD Conference PhotoStony Brook Medicine Offers Free Conference for Patients and Families on Inflammatory Bowel Disease

    Event features physicians and researchers from Stony Brook Digestive Disorders Institute

    STONY BROOK, N.Y., April 24, 2012 – Stony Brook Medicine is teaming with the Long Island chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America to provide patients and families with the latest information about Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

    The two organizations are co-sponsoring “Living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): What You Need to Know,” on Saturday, April 28, from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the Charles B. Wang Center on the Stony Brook University campus. The event is free and open to the public. Registration is required.

    Led by conference co-directors Ramona Rajapakse, MD, and Robert Richards, MD, physicians and researchers from Stony Brook Digestive Disorders Institute will address a variety of topics, including:

    • What Is IBD, presented by Ramona Rajapakse, MD
    • Current Therapies for IBD, presented by Robert Richards, MD
    • The Role of Surgery in IBD, presented by Paula Denoya, MD
    • Treating Kids, Tweens, Teens and Parents, presented by Jeffrey Morganstern, MD
    • IBD, IBS or Both – How to Tell the Difference, presented by Isabelle von Althen, MD
    • Coping with IBD, presented by Leighann Litcher-Kelly, PhD
    • The Role of Bacteria in IBD – Antibiotics and Probiotics, presented by Ellen Li, MD

    The event will conclude with a question-and-answer period with a panel of subject matter experts from 11 am to noon.

    “Whether you think you might have IBD, are newly diagnosed or have been living with IBD for years, this conference is designed to provide the answers and support patients and families needs,” said Dr. Rajapakse. “It is also a chance to connect with other people who have similar concerns and learn about resources available to help you cope. It promises to be a day that is educational, enlightening and fun.”

    Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis (UC) are inflammatory diseases of the bowel, broadly categorized as inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD. As many as seven out of 100,000 people in the U.S. develop Crohn’s disease, and 10-15 people out of 100,000 develop UC.

    IBD can present with a variety of symptoms, depending on whether it is Crohn’s disease or UC, and depending on the area of bowel that is affected. Some common symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, loss of appetite, weight loss, fevers and anemia. UC and Crohn’s disease can also present with extraintestinal manifestations such as joint pains, skin rashes, eye problems, liver problems and anemia.

    The exact causes of IBD are unknown. However, according to Ellen Li, MD, who is a leading researcher into the causes and treatment of IBD, “Over the past several years, significant strides have been made in understanding genetic associations, as well as the immunological cascades involved in the response of the gastrointestinal tract to environmental triggers. It is currently believed that IBD is caused by an abnormal immune response of the GI tract to an environmental trigger (possibly bacteria in the gut) in a genetically predisposed individual.”

    In addition, said Dr. Richards, “There is no single test that can diagnose IBD. Making an accurate diagnosis is crucial so that a person can receive the most effective treatments. Gastroenterologists at Stony Brook Digestive Disorders Institute have extensive experience in both diagnosing Crohn’s and UC, as well as in choosing the right medication for the disease pattern and monitoring the medication and side effects.” There is no cure for IBD as yet, but with good medical therapy, remission can be maintained for many years.

    More information about the presenters at the IBD conference is found here. To register, visit For more information, call (631) 632-6320.


    About Stony Brook Digestive Disorders Institute:

    Stony Brook Digestive Disorders Institute,  part of Long Island’s premier academic medical center, provides an expert team of board-certified gastroenterologists and hepatologists who perform both routine and advanced diagnostic tests and procedures using the latest technology and state-of-the-art techniques. More than 13,000 endoscopic procedures are performed annually. The Institute comprises three specialized centers: Interventional Endoscopy Center, Gastrointestinal Motility Center and Gastrointestinal Women’s Center. It has been designated as a “Recognized Endoscopy Unit” by the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE). For more information, visit


    About The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America:

    The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America is a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to finding the cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. It was founded in 1967 by Irwin M. and Suzanne Rosenthal, William D. and Shelby Modell, and Henry D. Janowitz, MD. Four decades ago, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation created the field of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis research. Today, the Foundation funds cutting-edge studies at major medical institutions, nurtures investigators at the early stages of their careers, and finances underdeveloped areas of research. Educational workshops and symposia, together with our scientific journal, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, enable medical professionals to keep pace with this rapidly growing field. For more information, visit