Growing up on a farm with livestock halves the risk of developing the most common inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, according to new research led by Aarhus University in Denmark. The study, recently published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, compares people that grew up on farms with their urban counterparts and reveals that the environment is also an important feature regarding IBD.
"It is extremely exciting that we can now see that not only allergic diseases, but also more classic inflammatory diseases appear to depend on the environment we are exposed to early in our lives," said Vivi Schlünssen, the Associate Professor in Public Health at Aarhus University.
The group of people born after 1952 and who lived on livestock farms for the first five years of their lives analyzed in the study were much better protected against IBD than older people. Among the oldest the place were patients grew up made no difference. "This leads us to believe that there is a correlation between the rise in inflammatory bowel diseases and increasing urbanisation, given that more and more children are growing up in urban settings," explained Signe Timm, PhD student at Aarhus University.