Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
June 24, 2020
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IBD associated with higher dementia risk

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
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Patients with inflammatory bowel disease were at greater risk for developing dementia, according to research published in Gut.

Yen-Po Wang, MD, of Taipei Veterans General Hospital, and colleagues wrote that psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression are common in IBD, but the relationship between IBD and dementia is not as well explored.

Infographic on the relationship between IBD and dementia.
Patients with inflammatory bowel disease were at greater risk for developing dementia.

“Characteristics of IBD include disrupted intestinal epithelial barrier, gut dysbiosis and chronic inflammatory burden, all of which likely contribute to the development of dementia,” they wrote. “Therefore, it is plausible that compared with the general population, patients with IBD are predisposed to neurocognitive impairment and dementia.”

Researchers analyzed data from the Taiwanese National Health Insurance Research Database to compare the risk for dementia between patients with IBD aged at least 45 years (n = 1,742) and matched controls (n = 17,420). After matching controls for sex, access to healthcare and dementia-related comorbidities, researchers followed patients for a dementia diagnosis for 16 years.

Zhang and colleagues found that not only did patients with IBD have a higher overall incidence of dementia compared with control individuals (5.5% vs. 1.4%; P < .001), they were also diagnosed at a younger age on average (76.24 years vs. 83.45 years). The hazard ratio for developing dementia among patients with IBD was 2.54 (95% CI, 1.91-3.37).

Additionally, researchers found that dementia risk may correlate with the chronicity of IBD diagnosis, and cumulative dementia risk suggests an accelerated rate in patients diagnosed with IBD for a longer duration.

“Future research on the pathogenic mechanism and molecular underpinning between the two disease conditions may lead to the development of novel therapeutics,” Zhang and colleagues wrote. “Clinical implications include vigilance of dementia among elderly patients with IBD, support and education for patients with IBD and their caregivers, and early detection and timely medical care through a multidisciplinary approach.”