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Children with inflammatory bowel disease have surprisingly high folate levels, study finds
Date:1/23/2009

Children with newly diagnosed cases of inflammatory bowel disease have higher concentrations of folate in their blood than individuals without IBD, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco and UC Berkeley. The findings bring into question the previously held theory that patients with IBD are prone to folate also known as folic acid deficiency.

"This is exciting work that opens the door to additional research into the role of folic acid and its genetic basis in the development of IBD, especially in young patients," said first author Melvin Heyman, MD, a professor of pediatrics, chief of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition, and director of the Pediatric IBD Program at UCSF Children's Hospital.

The study appears in the February 2009 issue of the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" and is currently available online at http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/89/2/545.

IBD is a blanket term referring to illnesses that cause chronic inflammation in the intestines, including ulcerative colitis, which manifests itself in the colon, and Crohn's disease, which can arise anywhere in the intestinal tract, according to Heyman. IBD occurs in children of all ages and can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, bleeding and nutritional deficiencies, he added.

Previous research has shown that adults with IBD tend to have lower folate levels than those without the disease, according to Nina Holland, PhD, a senior author on the paper. A folate deficiency may have multiple causes, such as poor absorption of folate across the intestinal tract, lower dietary intake of the nutrient, and medication interactions, Holland explained.

"However, pediatric IBD appears to be somewhat different from the adult form, and before this study very little was known about folate levels in newly diagnosed children with t
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Contact: Kate Schoen
kschoen@pubaff.ucsf.edu
415-476-2557
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

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