Contact person:
Ann-Cathrine Bramhagen
  • Malmö University - Faculty of Health and society
Responsible at MaU:
Ann-Cathrine Bramhagen
Collaborators :
  • Professor dr.sc. Želijko Krznarić - Dep. of Gastroenterology at University Hospital Centre Zagreb
  • Professor dr.sc. Darija Vranešić Bender - Dep. of Internal Medicine At University Hospital Centre Zagreb
  • Professor dr. sc. Adriana Vince MD; University Hospital of Infectious Disease at Dr Fran Mihaljevic
Time frame:
01 December 2021 - 01 December 2023

About the project

It is well known that Inflammatory Bowel Disease, IBD, is a common chronic illness among children and young people, and that prevalence is increasing globally. Being young and having to deal with a life with a chronic disease such as IBD, can be challenging due to risk for periods of abdominal pain, diarrhoea, gastrointestinal bleeding, growth failure and anaemia which demand lifelong medical treatment. Consequently, IBD might have a negative impact on their life.


The overall aim of this project is to investigate in an international context, young people’s experiences of living with inflammatory bowel disease and their health from different perspectives.


The first study, which will be a pilot study, will be conducted in Zagreb, and later on other countries in the Balkan region and Sweden will be included.

Qualitative design

Through individual interviews we intend to explore young people’s experiences regarding living with IBD with a focus on their i) physical health ii) mental health and iii) sexual health. We also aim to interview professionals working with this group of young persons.

Quantitative design

Our quantitative part will focus on IBD in relation to i) diet ii) technology iii) mental health and iv) sexual health. Diet will be investigated by conducting a Randomized Controlled Trail, RCT, where the intervention group, IG, will receive food packages with a specially composed diet and the control group, CG, will receive ordinary diet.

The food packages will be blinded, and the selection of diet for the IG will be adjusted to promote the recovery of intestinal mucosa by providing a balanced, anti-inflammatory food with, e.g., modified levels of fat, carbohydrates, sugar and protein, adjusted to specific IBD condition.

This part will last for three months. During these months the participants will wear health/activity tracking gadgets, e.g., smartwatches. Together with the basic heart rate measurements, information regarding activity level, diet, sleep pattern, etc., will also be collected, as well as blood oxygen saturation will be regularly monitored. In addition to this, an App for the smartwatches will also contain questions addressing sexuality and mental health.

The quantitative part will also include blood and faeces collection for analysis of heamoblogin, total iron, and calprotectin.