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Stress Not Associated with Inflammatory Bowel Relapse

Study rules out patients' subjective perceptions that stressful life events cause exacerbations

WEDNESDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- Stressful life events do not seem to trigger symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in patients whose symptoms have been inactive prior to the event, according to a study published in the April issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

Angela Vidal, M.D., of the Hospital Clinic de Barcelona in Spain, and colleagues studied 163 patients with inactive IBD, who had had at least one relapse during the previous two years.

During the 11-month study, 51 patients relapsed, 104 remained in remission and eight dropped out. The researchers' regression analysis suggested that the number of stressful life events was not associated with the rate of relapse (hazard ratio, 0.88). They also found that the emotional impact of stressful events was not associated with the risk of relapse.

"With the present findings, the hypothesis that the life events are not a cause of relapse in IBD becomes stronger and rules out the subjective perception of most patients who believe that exacerbations of the illness are influenced by the life events," the authors conclude. "The divergence of conclusions in respect to the amount of life events compared to perceived stress and hassles, which have been associated with higher relapse rates, might indicate that there could be different pathways of action and influence for experienced life events on one side and subjective perception of stress on the other side."

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