Researchers trying to find the key to a mysterious group of digestive ailments have located a number of biomarkers for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Their discovery could lead to earlier diagnoses and intervention for individuals still asymptomatic.

A team of scientists from the University of Cincinnati analyzed data from the Department of Defense Serum Repository (DoDSR), a collection of biological information, according to ScienceDaily. Its more than 50 million specimens of serum come mainly from members of and applicants to the uniformed services.

The two primary types of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America reports that about 1.4 million Americans suffer from IBD, with roughly equal numbers attributed to Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.

According to, the cause of IBD remains unknown.

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