JUL 25, 2017 4:53 PM PDT

Lower Rates of IBD Seen Among Children in Rural Households

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

New research has linked lower rates of irritable bowel disorder (IBD) in children to growing up in rural households. The study, which was reported in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, shows that there is a strong link between the development of IBD and environmental pressures - at an early age. This association could be due in part to the changes in the microbiome, the microbes living in our guts, that are seen in people that live in rural and urban areas. It may also be influenced by other factors like diet or genetic background.

IBD is a term that covers several gastrointestinal disorders, including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis; symptoms include abdominal cramps, weight loss, bloody stools and inflammation in the digestive tract causing chronic diarrhea. Learn more about the new work from the video.

"Our findings show that children, particularly those under the age of 10, experience a protective effect against IBD if they live in a rural household," explained Dr. Eric Benchimol, a scientist at ICES and a pediatric gastroenterologist at the CHEO Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, in Ottawa.

Related: Babies' Gut Yeast Linked to Increased Asthma Risk

"This effect is particularly strong in children who are raised in a rural household in the first five years of life. These are important findings since our previous work shows that the number of very young children being diagnosed with IBD has jumped in the past 20 years. The findings also strengthen our understanding that environmental risk factors that predispose people to IBD may have a stronger effect in children than adults,” he continued.

This study included 45,567 individuals that were diagnosed with IBD; 6,662 patients with IBD lived in a rural environment, while 38,905 lived in an urban setting from 1999 to 2010 in Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, and Ontario, Canada. The study found an overall incidence of IBD of 30.72 per 100,000 people among the rural population while the rate was 33.16 per 100,000 people in the urban group.

Complete GI tract / Credit: Wikimedia/Mikael Häggström

"We've known that in addition to genetic risk factors, environmental factors have been associated with the risk of developing IBD. But this new study demonstrates the importance of early life exposure in altering the risk of IBD, and that needs further study," Benchimol noted.

The researchers took care to avoid some caveats in the study, acknowledging in their report that there is not a uniform, reliable definition of what rural and urban are exactly. As such, the investigators assessed the results by using several different definitions of rural, finding that the strength of the association was dependent on that definition.

More work will be needed to identify the cause or causes of these differences.

 

Sources: Science Daily Via Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, The American Journal of Gastroenterology

About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
DEC 15, 2019
Cell & Molecular Biology
DEC 15, 2019
Using a Bacterial Syringe to Deliver Proteins to Cells
Researchers want to use a pathogen's strategy for therapeutic purposes....
DEC 17, 2019
Microbiology
DEC 17, 2019
Cold Infections Are Less Likely in People That Have the Flu
There may be a small silver lining to getting a cold or the flu....
JAN 17, 2020
Cardiology
JAN 17, 2020
Eating Walnuts Reduces Risk for Heart Disease
Walnuts may be more than just a tasty snack. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have found that they may also promote healthy gut bacteria, wh...
JAN 26, 2020
Microbiology
JAN 26, 2020
The Planet's Soil is Home to Microbe-Eating Protists
Protists don't fit neatly into any other category of organism; they are eukaryotes, but they are not a plant, fungi or animal....
JAN 30, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
JAN 30, 2020
Genetically Engineered Bacteria Can Protect Bees From Pathogens
As pollinators, honey bees play a critical role in food production, and they have been suffering heavy losses for years....
FEB 18, 2020
Microbiology
FEB 18, 2020
Coronavirus Illness COVID-19 Has Now Caused Over 2,000 Deaths
The outbreak of COVID-19 disease caused by a novel coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2 has now claimed 2,005 lives and caused at least 75,079 cases....
Loading Comments...