Gastrointestinal Disorders

IBD Is Linked to Increased Risk of Alzheimer Disease

Risk of Alzheimer disease (AD) was found to be 5 times higher among patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) than those without, according to the results of a recent study.

“Chronic inflammation and alteration in gut-brain axis have been linked to cognitive decline which are common in IBD. Therefore, we investigated the epidemiology and risk factors of AD in IBD patients using a large nationwide cohort,” the researchers wrote.

The researchers identified patients with IBD from an aggregate of electronic health record data from 26 US healthcare systems. Patients with IBD who were diagnosed with AD at least 90 days after IBD diagnosis were grouped by demographic and traditional AD risk factors.

Of the 37,718,400 individuals in the database, 323,830 had IBD and 194,290 had AD. Of these, 2400 had diagnoses of AD at least 90 days after diagnosis of IBD.

Overall, the prevalence of AD among patients with IBD was higher than among the general population (2458 vs 519 per 100,000, odds ratio 4.89). Patients with IBD were also more likely to be diagnosed with AD at a younger age than the general population (odds ratio 2.8). Treatment with azathioprine and anti-tumor necrosis factor drugs were associated with significantly lower odds of AD and prednisone was associated with higher odds.

“IBD patients were found to have 5 times more risk of AD as well as onset at a younger age compared to non-IBD patients in a large commercial database. The use of effective therapies such as immunomodulators and anti-tumor necrosis factor therapy is associated with significantly lower odds of developing AD in the IBD population.”

—Michael Potts


Aggarwal M, Saleh MA, Sarmini MT, et al. Alzheimer’s disease is common in inflammatory bowel disease: insights from a nationwide electronic health record database. Presented at Digestive Disease Week 2021. May 22, 2021.