Inflammatory Bowel Disease Linked to Other Illnesses

SUNDAY, Sept. 18 (HealthDay News) -- People with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are also more prone to severe respiratory and nervous system disorders, according to two new studies in Gastroenterology.

IBD includes a number of chronic ailments such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.

The first study found a nearly twofold increased risk of multiple sclerosis in IBD patients. The researchers from the University of Pennsylvania also linked IBD to optic neuritis and other neurological disorders.

In the second study, Canadian researchers at the University of Manitoba found that IBD patients have a significantly increased prevalence of asthma, bronchitis, arthritis and psoriasis.

"These studies remind us that the effects of inflammatory bowel disorders extend to every corner of the body, including the lungs and central nervous system," said Dr. Edward V. Loftus Jr., author of an accompanying editorial and an associate professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.

"The findings lend credence to the concept that patients with one chronic inflammatory condition are more likely than the general population to develop another," Loftus concluded.

-- Dennis Thompson

SOURCES: Gastroenterology, news release, Sept. 1, 2005

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