Butwicka and colleagues1 have published a fascinating, landmark cohort study in this issue of JAMA Pediatrics assessing the prevalence of psychiatric diagnoses and symptoms among children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in Sweden. The authors used a rigorous design that compared a cohort of more than 6000 pediatric patients with IBD with hundreds of thousands of healthy controls, as well as a separate cohort comprising the patients’ own siblings who did not have IBD. Butwicka et al1 computed hazard ratios for any psychiatric disorder, as well as for multiple specific disorders, and found a hazard ratio of 1.6 for any psychiatric diagnosis when comparing children with IBD with healthy controls. The statistical analysis is stellar and represents the best data we currently have on the intersection of pediatric IBD and mental health. Their study highlights a substantial risk in a vulnerable population and should trigger revision of guidelines and allocation of resources to support widespread screening and treatment for these dangerous conditions.
Bennett WE, Pfefferkorn MD. Mental Health Screening as the Standard of Care in Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease. JAMA Pediatr. 2019;173(10):919–921. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.2669
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