Military history of patients with inflammatory bowel disease: An epidemiological study among U.S. veterans
The Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque 87108, USA. The American Journal of Gastroenterology
(Impact Factor: 10.76).
10/1998; 93(9):1457-62. DOI: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.1998.463_i.x
The military history of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) contains types of exposure that are not available through other sources and may provide clues about the as-yet unknown etiology of IBD. We therefore sought to describe the epidemiology of IBD among veterans, with particular emphasis on their military history.
A case-control study compared 10,544 IBD patients and 42,026 controls with respect to age, gender, ethnicity, time period of military service, military duty in Vietnam, status as prisoner of war, and exposure to Agent Orange.
Subjects with Crohn's disease were younger than those with ulcerative colitis or without IBD (odds ratio: 0.85; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.83-0.87). Both types of IBD affected female veterans significantly more often than male veterans, the relative female predominance being more pronounced in Crohn's disease than ulcerative colitis (0.70; 0.61-0.81 vs 0.83; 0.71-0.96). Whites were more prone to develop both types of IBD than nonwhites (2.46; 2.27-2.68 vs 2.11; 1.95-2.27). Military duty in Vietnam and a status as prisoner of war both exerted a protective influence against Crohn's disease (0.84; 0.75-0.96 and 0.60; 0.41-0.87, respectively), but not ulcerative colitis.
The results are consistent with the hypothesis that exposure to poor sanitation decreases the future risk of developing Crohn's disease.
Available from: Natalia Borruel
- "For instance, exposure to poor sanitation in infancy decreases the future risk of developing Crohn's disease (Gent et al, 1994). Likewise, prisoners of the Vietnam War show low risk for Crohn's disease (Delco & Sonnenberg, 1998). Rural populations are less frequently affected than urban ones. "
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ABSTRACT: Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are chronic conditions of unknown etiology. Current therapy mitigates the severity of acute bouts of mucosal inflammation but an eradication therapy is lacking. Growing incidence of IBD is associated with social development. Epidemiology suggests a relationship between the establishment of the individual gut flora and the risk of developing IBD. Patients show an impaired tolerance towards commensal bacteria of the resident flora. Unrestrained activation of the intestinal immune system against some commensal bacteria appears to be responsible for the characteristic relapsing course of these diseases. Wide-spectrum antibiotic therapy reduces bacterial load and mitigates intestinal inflammation in human IBD and in animal models. Current research aims at the identification of probiotics for bacterial antagonism therapies. Probiotics are living microorganisms which upon ingestion in certain numbers exert health benefits beyond inherent basic nutrition. Colonization with a Lactobacillus reuteri strain can prevent the development of colitis in genetically susceptible mice. Other studies have used a bacterium genetically engineered to secrete the antiinflammatory cytokine IL-10 and demonstrated a therapeutic effect in animal models of colitis. Moreover, some probiotics may naturally exhibit antiinflammatory properties when interacting with the human gut mucosa. Prebiotics such as inulin have also been shown to prevent colonic inflammation in animal models. Preliminary clinical trials with probiotics in IBD are encouraging. Probiotics offer a valuable tool for the prevention and control of inflammatory bowel diseases.
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