Crohn's Causes Delayed Cognitive Responses in Patients

Response times found to be 10% slower in people with Crohn’s disease than those without the disease.

Cognitive response times were found to be slower in individuals with Crohn’s disease than among individuals without the condition, according to a study published in UEG Journal.

Patients with Crohn’s disease often experience cognitive symptoms with their disease, but these symptoms are often ignored by clinicians. For the study, researchers enrolled patients with Crohn’s disease who were found to have cognitive response times 10% slower than normal, and who were significantly correlated with symptoms of active inflammation, including fatigue and abdominal pain.

When researchers compared the response times in the Crohn’s disease patients to individuals who had a blood alcohol content level above 0.05 g/100ml (over the legal limit for driving in most European Union countries) using a computer-based cognitive test, they found that the response times of Crohn’s disease patients was slower.

“The findings appear consistent with experiments that have shown that bowel inflammation results in an upregulation of inflammatory hippocampus activity in the brain,” said lead researcher Daniel van Langenberg. “This, in turn, might account for the slower response times that were observed in the study.”

The results of the study demonstrated the presence of mild cognitive impairment in Crohn’s disase patients, and supported their frequent complaints of difficulty concentrating, memory lapses, and cloudy thoughts.

“These results reinforce the notion that Crohn’s has a wide range of multi-systemic consequences with the impact of the disease affecting patients not only within but well beyond the digestive tract,” Langenberg said.

Additionally, the study demonstrated that patients with Crohn’s disease had a higher median depression score, and a lower rating of sleep quality, which are 2 factors associated with an increased severity of cognitive impairment.

“This research highlights the need for regular interventions with multi-disciplinary IBD teams to address the wide issues that are presented with Crohn’s disease,” said Gigi Veereman, UEG inflammatory disease expert. “This will enable a greater understanding of this complex condition and therefore improve the service and care offered to each patient.”