In a new study entitled “Seasonal variations in onset and exacerbation of inflammatory bowel diseases in children,” a team of researchers investigated if inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) exacerbations and IBD’s children birth followed a seasonal pattern. Researchers focused their study within the pediatric population of IBD patients. The study was recently published in the journal BMC Research Notes.
IBD is characterized by chronic inflammation, particularly of the colon and small intestine, and by two main forms of disease: Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). Recent studies suggest that IBD onset and exacerbations exhibit seasonal variations. However, these findings were found conflictive with other studies reporting the existence of no seasonal variations in the onset of symptoms. Hence, the possible relationship between seasonality and IBD exacerbations requires further research.
In this new study, a group of researchers investigated if there is a seasonal pattern in the onset and exacerbations of IBD, especially within the pediatric IBD population. In addition, the research team tried to understand whether the birth of children diagnosed with IBD follows a seasonal pattern.
To this end, researchers studied patients (aged 1 to 21 years old) diagnosed with IBD between July 1992 and July 2012, who were recruited at the Pediatric Gastroenterology Clinic at St. John Providence Children’s Hospital. The onset of symptoms, exacerbations and the patient’s season of birth were registered. The research team defined the different seasons per months as winter (December–February), spring (March–May), summer (June–August) and fall (September–November). In total, the study included 170 children who had reported 358 exacerbations.
Within the cohort analyzed, 34% of the patients were found to experience IBD’s onset in the fall, and 19% of them had their onset in the summer. The remaining patients had disease onset split equally between winter and spring. In general, IBD exacerbations were uniformly distributed throughout the year. Furthermore, researchers observed no specific season for children with IBD to be born.
In conclusion, the findings indicate that, although the onset of symptoms of IBD seems to follow a seasonal trend with its highest incidence occurring in the fall, no association was found between seasonality and exacerbations in an IBD pediatric population, as well no season pattern for the birth of IBD children.