Study Finds Link Between Atopic Dermatitis and Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Study Finds Link Between Atopic Dermatitis and Inflammatory Bowel Disease

A recent study conducted at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has found a significant link between atopic dermatitis (AD) and the development of new-onset inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The study revealed that adults with AD have a 34 percent increased risk of developing IBD, while children have a 44 percent increased risk.

The severity of AD was also found to be a determining factor in the likelihood of developing IBD. As the severity of AD increased, the risk of developing IBD also rose. This new research provides clarity on the connection between AD and IBD, particularly among children and the different types of IBD: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

IBD refers to chronic digestive tract disorders involving inflammation. Both AD and IBD are driven by the immune system and characterized by severe inflammation. While AD affects the skin and IBD affects the gut, they share similarities in terms of immune system dysfunction and chronic inflammation.

The study highlights the importance of understanding atopic dermatitis and its impact on patients. It is crucial for clinicians to provide the best standard of care, considering the potential implications of treatments for other autoimmune diseases. The study also emphasizes the need for further research in developing new treatments for both AD and IBD.

The study, which included over 1 million participants of different ages, identified specific risks for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Children with AD had a significantly increased risk of developing Crohn’s disease, especially those with severe AD. Adults with AD had an increased risk of both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

Although the study did not investigate the root cause of IBD linked to AD, researchers hypothesize that changes in the microbiome, chronic inflammation, and dysfunction in the skin and gut barriers play a role. Specific proteins and immune system activity, such as certain types of T cells, may also contribute to the development of both conditions.

Understanding the relationship between skin diseases and other diseases is crucial for providing better patient care. Further research is needed to uncover the underlying mechanisms and potential targets for treatment. Researchers are also studying AD’s connection to other conditions, including infections, neurological disorders, psychiatric disorders, and cardiovascular disease.

This study was supported by Pfizer Inc., and the authors have received grants and fees unrelated to the study. The study’s findings contribute to our understanding of the health outcomes associated with atopic dermatitis and highlight the importance of considering the increased risk of developing IBD in individuals with AD.

– University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. “Atopic dermatitis increases risk for inflammatory bowel disease.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 February 2021.
– Study published in JAMA Dermatology.

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