IBD Linked to Risk of Multiple Sclerosis
Studies Show Greater Risk of Autoimmune Disorders for People with Inflammatory Bowel Disease
WebMD News Archive
Link With MS Long Suspected continued...
The risk of developing multiple sclerosis or a related disease was 1.7 times
higher for the people who had IBD compared with those without IBD.
The researchers characterize the association as "small but significant."
Medications that block TNF had not been introduced at the time the database
was compiled, suggesting an independent link between IBD and multiple sclerosis
and other MS-like disorders, study co-researcher James D. Lewis, MD, tells
"This study does not answer the questions about the safety of this new
collection of anti-TNF-alpha therapies and whether IBD patients should or
should not use them," he says.
Beyond GI Symptoms
In the second study, researchers in Canada examined the relationship between
IBD and a group of common lung and neurological diseases believed to be
mediated by the immune system. They did this by examining a database of just
over 8,000 patients treated for IBD over a 19-year period. Each patient was
matched with 10 people who did not have IBD.
The researchers reported that people with ulcerative colitis or Crohn's
disease had modestly elevated risks of having other inflammatory conditions
including asthma, arthritis, bronchitis, psoriasis, and heart disease related
Ulcerative colitis, but not Crohn's disease, was linked to a greater risk
for multiple sclerosis and chronic kidney disease.
In more than half of the cases, these diseases were diagnosed before the
IBD, lending support to the idea that they share a common genetic or
Loftus tells WebMD that the findings highlight the importance of looking
beyond gastrointestinal symptoms when treating patients with IBD.
"It is important to treat the whole patient and not just the GI symptoms,"