HealthDay News — There is a bidirectional association between inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and depression, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Bing Zhang, M.D., from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues used data from the Taiwanese National Health Insurance Research Database to investigate depression risk among 422 IBD patients, their 537 unaffected siblings, and 2,148 controls. In addition, the authors looked at IBD risk among 25,552 patients with depression, their 26,147 unaffected siblings, and 104,588 controls. Follow-up lasted 11 years.

The researchers found that during follow-up, 18.5% of IBD patients, 4.8% of unaffected siblings, and 2.5% of controls developed depression (adjusted odds ratios, 9.43 and 1.82 among IBD patients and unaffected siblings, respectively). Risk was also higher for IBD among depression patients and unaffected siblings (adjusted odds ratios, 1.87 and 1.69, respectively).

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“This population-based study elucidates bidirectional association between IBD and depression,” the authors write. “Further research on gut-brain axis is warranted to identify shared aspects of pathogenesis between the diseases, which may reveal novel therapeutic approaches leveraging the gut-brain axis.”

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