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Paratuberculosis and Crohn's Disease: Got Milk?
by Michael Greger, MD
Updated January 2001

Johne's Disease

Crohn actually didn't discover Crohn's disease. The first person to give it a clear description was a Scottish surgeon named Kennedy Dalziel in 1913.[23] He wrote, "I can only regret that the etiology [cause] of the condition remains in obscurity, but I trust that before long, further consideration will clear up the difficulty."[42] Eighty-eight years later and the scientific community is still not sure what causes Crohn's, but Dalziel had a hunch which a growing number of prominent scientists now think may be correct.

About two decades earlier in 1895, German doctor H.A. Johne was the first to describe the cause of a disease in cattle characterized by chronic or intermittent profuse intractable diarrhea.[190] Clinically, the disease in cattle was virtually identical to that which we now know as human Crohn's disease.[25] The gross pathology of the infected cow's intestines likewise had the same cobblestone appearance; microscopically, the Crohn's diseased intestines and the diseased cattle intestines were dead ringers.[23] Dalziel wrote that the tissue characteristics were "so similar as to justify a proposition that the diseases may be the same."[42] He theorized that the disease in cattle and the disease in people were the same entity.

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