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Bowel disease link to dementia

Thursday June 25th 2020

Inflammatory bowel disease is significantly linked to a raised risk of dementia, according to a new analysis.

The study also found that patients with inflammatory bowel disease are diagnosed with dementia on average seven years earlier than people without the condition. In addition, the risk of dementia appeared to rise with increasing severity of inflammatory bowel disease.

Dr Bing Zhang of the University of California, San Francisco, USA, and colleagues examined the link because evidence is increasingly supporting a strong communication pathway between the central nervous system and the intestines - the ’gut brain axis’.

“Recent findings suggest a connection between inflammatory bowel disease and development of Parkinson’s disease,” they write in Gut.

They looked at the role of the condition in dementia, using a Taiwanese national database. They compared 1,742 patients with inflammatory bowel disease against 17,420 people without, taking into account sex, health care access, income and dementia-related comorbidities.

After up to 16 years, this showed that the rate of dementia among patients with inflammatory bowel disease was 5.5%, versus 1.4% for people without. This equates to a 2.54 times higher risk of dementia.

Inflammatory bowel disease patients were diagnosed with dementia at an average of 76 years, compared with 83 years for those without.

The authors report that dementia risk did not appear to be linked to sex or subtype of inflammatory bowel disease.

They write: “These findings highlight the need for future research to elucidate the relationship between inflammatory bowel disease and dementia.”

Zhang, B. et al. Inflammatory bowel disease is associated with higher dementia risk: a nationwide longitudinal study. Gut 24 June 2020 doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2020-320789

https://gut.bmj.com/lookup/doi/10.1136/gutjnl-2020-320789

Tags: Brain & Neurology | Gastroenterology | North America

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