ECCO News keeps ECCO Members up-to-date on what is going on within the organisation and reports on IBD activities taking place within Europe. Since Spring 2006, ECCO News has maintained the flow of information between Members of the organisation.
ECCO News is an important part of the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation’s ambition to create a European standard of IBD care and to promote knowledge and research in the field of IBD. ECCO Members automatically receive this publication four times a year.
The growing arsenal of therapies available for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is improving IBD physicians’ ability to target remission. However, risk of infectious complications associated with immunosuppression is a reality that weighs in the minds of physicians and patients alike, affecting the acceptability of these treatments . Both treatment- and patient-related risk factors for infection have been identified in observational studies. Systemic steroids and combination anti-tumour necrosis factor (anti-TNF) and immunomodulator therapy are particularly associated with increased risk of infection, while non-modifiable patient factors include older age and non-IBD comorbidities [2–4]. Accordingly, this perceived risk results in reduced use of effective therapies in older people, despite risk of disease progression and a need for surgery similar to that in young people [5,6].
As explained by Kochar et al., however, chronological age does not capture the physiological heterogeneity in older populations, possibly leading to treatment being unnecessarily conservative in some. Furthermore, reliance on chronological age may lead to underappreciation of risk in younger people. Accordingly, more accurate tools for risk stratification of patients in the setting of immunosuppressive therapies are required.
How the world has changed during these last couple of months!
I hope you are all doing well despite the circumstances and are coping with the changes in workload, day-to-day activities and research that the pandemic has forced upon us. Also, many Y-ECCOs will have seen their educational programmes and training placed on hold. In Denmark, we have started opening society again since May and the number of infected persons is decreasing. However, there is still a lot of uncertainty about the consequences for society and the health care system. How are things in your country?
Dietary advice in the management of IBD has evolved in recent years from having gastrointestinal symptom reduction as a goal to a more pathogenesis-focussed approach [1–4]. At present, dietary recommendations in adult Crohn’s Disease (CD) are limited to increasing dietary fibre by means of fruit and vegetables and decreasing processed foods . The nutrition debate has long divided adult and paediatric CD care, from international guidelines all the way through to service provision arrangements, with growth failure being a common feature in paediatric CD and dietetic support being a mainstay of care in many children’s hospitals [5–7].
As the new chair of the H-ECCO Committee, it is my pleasure to introduce our two newly elected members for 2020, Ann Driessen and Pamela Baldin, who are both Belgian pathologists. Thus, the current members of the H-ECCO Committee are: Monika Tripathi (Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, UK), Francesca Rosini (Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK), Ann Driessen, Pamela Baldin, and myself, Gert De Hertogh (University Hospitals KULeuven, Belgium).
D-ECCO is committed to promoting the essential role of dietitians within the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Multidisciplinary Team (IBD MDT). Specialist IBD dietitians in IBD units are integral to the MDT, but not all IBD units have a specialist dietitian. Dietetic services and clinical roles are likely to differ slightly from country to country, but the core roles will remain the same. The European Federation of the Associations of Dietitians (EFAD) has adopted the International Congress of Dietetic Associations (ICDA) definition of the role of the dietitian: “A person with a qualification in Nutrition & Dietetics recognized by national authority(s). The dietitian applies the science of nutrition to the feeding and education of groups of people and individuals in health and disease.”
Everyone would agree that IBD specialist nurses do an incredible amount of work to help patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Over the years we have learnt that patients with IBD require access to our services when they need them, rather than simply at their next scheduled appointment in the clinic. Patients also think that one of the most important things that IBD specialist nurses can provide is high-quality advice and information, especially when they feel unwell.
ECCO offers Research Grants for IBD Nurses in order to promote innovative scientific research in the area of IBD Nursing across Europe. The N-ECCO Research Grant provides nurses with a great opportunity to gain economic support, and this year a total of EUR 20,000.- will be awarded.
The N-ECCO Research Grant aims to enhance the opportunities for IBD Nurses to become involved in international research projects across Europe. The goals are to enable IBD Nurses less experienced in research to engage in research activities, with mentoring by senior researchers; to promote IBD-related basic and clinical research; and to foster interaction and productive collaboration among European research groups working in the IBD field.
At the ECCO Congress 2020, 15 representatives from 11 countries gathered to discuss the ECCO GuiCom Topical Review on Refractory IBD. This project is being led by Tim Raine (United Kingdom) and Garret Cullen (Ireland). The aim of the project is to bring together evidence and recommendations on how to approach the patient with active Crohn’s Disease (CD) or Ulcerative Colitis (UC) who has not responded to all licensed treatment options.
I would like to thank my predecessor, Peter Irving, for championing the role of ECCO e-Learning Ambassador and now passing the baton on to me. I am honoured to take on this responsibility and thrilled to be able to reach out to you with the latest news regarding the e-CCO Learning Platform.
Change is the cornerstone of the innovation that drives science forward. Of many expressions that capture change, ‘out with the old, in with the new’ expresses well what occurs when the composition of committees alters. As members step down and new members take their place, fresh ideas and different perspectives are heard, leading to renewed enthusiasm that will drive the agenda for the future. Against this backdrop, EpiCom welcomes Sophie Restellini while bidding a sad farewell to Marieke Pierik.