A new Canadian study, published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, suggests that people living in a rural area are less likely to develop inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) compared to people living in urban areas.
The researchers analyzed dozens of studies and found a link between increased urbanization and a greater number of IBD cases. The results are full of inconsistencies, but this can be explained due to many differences in rural areas.
Dr. Eric Benchimol, a pediatric gastroenterologist at the CHEO Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, says: “We’ve known that in addition to genetic risk factors, environmental factors have been associated with the risk of developing IBD. But this new study demonstrated the importance of early life exposure in altering the risk of IBD, and that needs further study.”