News Release

The silver lining of an inflammatory bowel disease diagnosis

Peer-Reviewed Publication

American Gastroenterological Association

Bethesda, MD (Oct. 18, 2016) -- Twenty-five percent of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients are diagnosed as children or adolescents -- at the peak of their social and educational development. Parents of newly diagnosed patients often inquire about the long term consequences of IBD on their child's health and lifestyle.

While there is understandably much anxiety associated with a new IBD diagnosis, children and parents should sleep easier knowing that adults with IBD, who were diagnosed during their childhood, are doing exceptionally well in terms of educational levels attained, annual income and marital status, according to a study published as an article in press in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology(16)30857-6/abstract, the clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association.

"The anxiety associated with a new diagnosis of IBD is significant to both children and their parents," said lead study author Wael El-Matary, MD, MSc, FRCPCH, FRCPC, from the section of pediatric gastroenterology, departments of pediatrics, at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. "We hope our findings reassure families dealing with this diagnosis. Knowing that long-term educational levels attained, occupation and marital status are not worse compared to those without IBD will significantly help in alleviating a great part of this anxiety."

The researchers conducted a cross-sectional analytical study looking at adults diagnosed with IBD in childhood and adolescence between January 1978 and December 2007 at the Pediatric Gastroenterology Clinic at Children's Hospital, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. IBD patients were compared to age and sex-matched healthy adult controls. Participants were asked questions on educational achievements, employment and marital status. They found that not only were patients with IBD more likely to earn more money per year than their healthy counterparts, but more of these patients went on to receive post-high school education.

"IBD is not an easy diagnosis. We recognize that it may take several years for patients to find a treatment regimen that works best for their disease, hence why we decided to revisit patients many years after their initial diagnosis when they, hopefully, are following a stable and effective treatment plan. What we found was hope at the end of the tunnel," added Dr. El-Matary.


Both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis -- the two main types of IBD -- are illnesses with times of remission (when a patient feels well) and relapse (when a patient feels ill). Consequently, IBD significantly impacts patients throughout their lives. As with any chronic illness, parents of newly diagnosed patients often inquire about the long term consequences of IBD on their child's health and lifestyle. Learn more about IBD by reviewing the patient brochures available on the American Gastroenterological Association website.

This study was supported by an unrestricted grant from Janssen, Inc.

About the AGA Institute

The American Gastroenterological Association is the trusted voice of the GI community. Founded in 1897, the AGA has grown to include more than 16,000 members from around the globe who are involved in all aspects of the science, practice and advancement of gastroenterology. The AGA Institute administers the practice, research and educational programs of the organization.

About Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology

The mission of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology is to provide readers with a broad spectrum of themes in clinical gastroenterology and hepatology. This monthly peer-reviewed journal includes original articles as well as scholarly reviews, with the goal that all articles published will be immediately relevant to the practice of gastroenterology and hepatology. For more information, visit

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