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Bowel Inflammation and Dementia – More Evidence of a Link

People living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease are 2.5 times more likely to suffer from dementia and more than six times as likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, according to new research from Taiwan and the USA.

Previous research has suggested Parkinson’s disease may begin in the gut, and linked changes to the gut microbiome to mental health problems, motor neurone disease and Parkinson’s.

Now, a team led by Dr Bing Zhang from the University of California San Francisco shows that people with IBD – including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis – have a greater risk of being diagnosed with dementia. They also tend to be diagnosed at a younger age.

It is important to note that the study does note prove that IBD causes dementia, however, there are a number of ways they could be linked. Chronic inflammation is linked with blood clots and stroke, as well as Alzheimer’s, while it is also possible that disruptions to the gut microbiome may be involved.

While this study does not prove a causal link, the analysis does suggest that people with IBD are at greater risk of dementia, and the role of inflammation in cognitive conditions warrants further research.

At PIM we have a particular interest in inflammation and the role of nutrition and the gut microbiome in a range of health conditions. Contact us to learn more.


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