Conference Coverage

VIDEO: IBD epidemiology provides clues into disease underpinnings



– The incidence of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis has stabilized in the Western world, but is rising rapidly in newly industrialized countries, according to a systematic review of population-based studies.

The findings could provide important new insights into the environmental, genetic, and microbiome-related factors and interactions that form the underpinnings of IBD, Gilaad Kaplan, MD, of the University of Calgary (Alta.) said at the World Congress of Gastroenterology at ACG 2017.

In turn, that information could lead to approaches to reduce IBD incidence, he said in a video interview.

It has been known that Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are “modern diseases of modern times,” but few studies have addressed the epidemiology of IBD in newly industrialized countries in Asia, Africa, and South America, he said.

“We see a pattern that as newly industrialized countries transition toward a westernized society, IBD emerges and its incidence rises, and there are many different explanations for that,” he said, noting that in part, the increase is due to improved health care infrastructure and advances in adoption of medical technology that lead to better identification of new cases.

“But probably one of the most important factors is that there are environmental exposures linked to the westernization of society that are creating this pressure that’s driving incidence of IBD up in many of the countries of the world,” he said. “I think if we do a lot more research focused on how environment influences microbiome, we might start to see things we could do that could potentially stem the tide of IBD.”

Dr. Kaplan reported having no relevant disclosures.

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