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PANEL ON INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE MEETS TO 'BREAK THE SILENCE' ABOUT DISEASE AFFECTING TWO MILLION AMERICANS

 NEW YORK, Aug. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Actress and former Miss America Mary Ann Mobley and Stephen B. Hanauer, M.D., a nationally known expert on Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), met today to "break the silence" about IBD, a debilitating group of gastrointestinal disorders affecting two million Americans. As a trustee of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), Ms. Mobley, who suffers from a form of IBD, has led the charge to shine the media spotlight on this illness, which is often overlooked in favor of more sensational conditions, such as cancer and heart disease.
 Also at the meeting, the first-ever computer support network for people suffering from IBD was introduced by Paul Gangi III of Prodigy Services Company. This unique network, called the "Crohn's & Colitis Forum," is available now, and offers an educational library, online communications with physicians who treat IBD and other valuable resources. Gangi, who has had IBD for eight years, drew from his own experience with the disease to co-develop the Crohn's & Colitis Forum with CCFA. The forum is supported by an educational grant from Marion Merrell Dow Inc. of Kansas City, Mo. People can access this forum through the PRODIGY network. The forum will be offered as a custom choice on the Prodigy Service, and will have an hourly connect fee of $4.80.
 According to Dr. Hanauer, chronic IBD can be divided into two categories: ulcerative colitis (UC), affecting an estimated one million Americans, and Crohn's disease (CD). Both cause debilitating and embarrassing symptoms, such as crampy abdominal pain and severe urgency to move the bowels. "The bad news about IBD is that, because of the nature of its symptoms, it causes not only physical, but emotional pain to its sufferers," Hanauer explained. "The good news is that we can treat the vast majority of people with IBD, often with medication that totally relieves their symptoms."
 Ms. Mobley, who has had IBD for almost 25 years, but whose healthy appearance conveys no clues of her disease, offered her personal story about living with IBD. Mobley's upbeat presentation included heartwarming stories about others with IBD whom she has helped in her role with CCFA. "It's important for people with IBD to know that they are not alone, that, with the help of their physician, CCFA, as well as their understanding friends and family, they can live a productive, happy life," Mobley explained.
 The briefing for reporters was sponsored by Marion Merrell Dow. For more information on IBD, contact CCFA at 1-800-343-3637.
 -0- 8/17/93
 /CONTACT: Charles F. Rouse or Tom Heapes of Marion Merrell Dow Inc., 816-966-3290/
 (MKC)


CO: Marion Merrell Dow Inc. ST: New York IN: HEA SU:

SM-OS -- NY028 -- 3458 08/17/93 10:16 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 17, 1993
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