Researchers at Hasbro Children’s Hospital Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Nutrition and Liver Diseases in Providence, Rhode Island, found that the state has one of the highest levels of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) ever reported in the United States — and among the highest in the world.
The study also revealed that IBD rates across the country are much higher than previously thought.
Recent studies have shown an increased incidence of IBD worldwide, suggesting a need for more studies into what causes IBD and the development of more targeted therapies.
The study from the Hasbro team, “Incidence of Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis in Rhode Island: Report from the Ocean State Crohn’s and Colitis Area Registry,” was recently published in the journal Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, by lead author Jason M. Shapiro, M.D., a Hasbro Children’s Hospital pediatric gastroenterologist. Shapiro and his colleagues analyzed the incidence of IBD in several U.S. states through The Ocean State Crohn’s and Colitis Area Registry, a center that registers patients with IBD in Rhode Island.
The team reviewed medical records from all adult and pediatric gastroenterology cases in Rhode Island, as well as practices in Connecticut and Massachusetts that may care for Ocean State residents, from the years 2008 to 2010. In total, 971 citizens were identified as having IBD, which means an average incidence of nearly 40 cases out of every 100,000 inhabitants in the three years analyzed; more specifically, 15.1 in 100,000 diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (UC), and 13.9 in 100,000 diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, both IBDs.
According to the researchers, this is one of the highest IBD rates in the world, representing a major difference compared to states such as Minnesota (8.8 in 100,000 for UC, and 7.9 in 100,000 for Crohn’s) between 1990 and 2000, and northern California (12 in 100,000 for UC, and 6.3 in 100,000 for Crohn’s) between 1996 and 2002.
“Our findings show that the incidence of IBD in the United States is increasing and highlights the importance of further research into IBD, so we can better help this growing population,” Shapiro said in a press release. “We still have so many unanswered questions, such as what causes IBD, how can we predict which patients will have a more complicated case and how can we identify which patients will benefit from more aggressive medical treatments early in their disease course? Most importantly, we need to focus on identifying and developing better treatments.”
Shapiro emphasized that more research is crucial to address the rising incidence of IBD and offer better treatments, particularly for the younger population.
“One-third of IBD patients are diagnosed during childhood and adolescence,” Shapiro said. “Earlier intervention and identifying better, targeted treatments is especially important for this vulnerable patient population facing years of possible disease-related complications. Optimizing growth potential and ensuring normal pubertal progression in the face of IBD is a priority.”