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14-04-2011 | Gastroenterology | Article

Childhood-onset Crohn’s disease incidence on the rise


Free abstract

MedWire News: French researchers report a 70% increase in the incidence of Crohn's disease (CD) among 10-19-year-olds living in Northern France over the past 2 decades.

But during this time period, the overall CD incidence in the region increased by only 30%, which, say the researchers, "suggests that different causal factors may exist in patients aged 10-20 years."

Corinne Gower-Rousseau (Lille University Hospital, France) and team say this highlights the importance of focusing "etiologic research on comparisons of trends in incidence rates and phenotypes between adult- and childhood-onset CD."

The findings arise from the analysis of data from an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) registry in which all new cases of IBD occurring in Northern France from 1988 to 2007 were recorded.

In all, 7428 individuals of all ages developed CD, with median time from symptom onset to diagnosis remaining at 3 months throughout the study period.

CD rates rose by 29%, from 5.2 cases per 100,000 persons-years at baseline, to 6.7 cases per 100,000 person-years at study-end, peaking at a rate of 7.1 cases per 100,000 person-years in 1997-1999.

When Gower-Rousseau and team assessed CD rates in children, they found that CD occurred at a much higher rate of 70% in 10-19-year-olds compared with the general population.

Among this age group, CD incidence rates increased steadily throughout the study period from 6.5 cases per 100,000 person-years at baseline, to 11.1 cases per 100,000 person-years in 2006-2007.

Of note, CD incidence rates remained stable or increased slightly in all other age groups.

The researchers hypothesize that trends in diet and smoking habits, which vary with age, could explain the "differential evolution in incidence rates of CD according to age."

However, further study into this area is required, say Gower-Rousseau and team in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

They conclude: "Studies on CD risk factors should focus on the population under 20 years of age."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Lauretta Ihonor