The researchers also compared the dietary intake of folate between the two groups by administering questionnaires that gauged the amount of folate each subject ingested through food and vitamin supplements. It was interesting, they noted, that dietary folate intake was 18.8 percent higher in the controls than in patients with IBD.
"We were surprised to see the IBD patients had significantly higher blood folate concentrations than the controls, even though the latter group appeared to have higher dietary folate intakes," Heyman said.
The findings may have important clinical implications for treating IBD in children. To date, many clinicians have recommended folate supplementation for all IBD patients. Yet because the study found normal folate concentrations in children with newly diagnosed cases, this recommendation might need to be reconsidered, Heyman explained.
Additional co-authors of the paper were: Elizabeth Garnett of UCSF; Nishat Shaikh and Karen Huen, MPH, of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health; Folashade Jose, MD, of UCSF; Paul Harmatz, MD, of Children's Hospital and Research Center Oakland (Calif.); Harland Winter, MD, of MassGeneral Hospital for Children; Robert Baldassano, MD, of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; Stanley Cohen, MD, and Benjamin Gold, MD, of Emory University School of Medicine; Barbara Kirschner, MD, of the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital; George Ferry, MD, of Texas Children's Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine; and Erin Stege of Children's Hospital and Research Center Oakland (Calif.).
The study was funded primarily by NIH grants, as well as through private donations to UCSF and the University of Chicago.
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