Jeanne Tung, M.D., discusses two studies presented at the Advances in IBD conference. The studies focus on the brain and cognitive function of pediatric patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
In the first study, 12 preteens and young teenagers with Crohn's disease had MRI scans of their brain. All of the patients were on steroids due to a Crohn's disease flare. The MRI scans were compared to healthy children without Crohn's disease. All patients also took memory, IQ, emotion, and attention tests. In the patients with Crohn's disease, a portion of their brain called the cortex was a bit thinner compared to healthy children of the same age. Patients on higher doses of steroids and with higher inflammatory markers in their blood work were more likely to have the thinning of the cortex.
In the second study, a combination of 85 children with Crohn's disease and healthy children were interviewed. The researchers also reviewed school records and tests of memory and IQ. Children with Crohn's disease were more likely to have trouble with memory, even when in remission. They were also more likely to have issues at school including general school problems (23.5% vs. 8.1%), use of 504 plan for academic reasons (38.8% vs 0%), and need for special education classes (45.9% vs. 2.7%).
What are the takeaways from the two studies?
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Dr. Tung is a pediatric gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic.