The increasing incidence of pediatric Crohnís disease may reflect an increase in incidence for all ages, or diagnostic improvements.
However, there could be etiologic differences between adult and pediatric-onset disease. Pediatric disease may have different risk factors.
The differences in sex ratio between adult and pediatric disease suggest etiologic differences. It also suggests differences in sex-specific susceptibility during childhood.
In this study, doctors from England and Sweden aimed to identify whether factors previously associated with overall risk of Crohnís disease are associated with pediatric onset. They also assessed whether these associations vary by sex.
The team performed a nested case-control study of patients with Crohnís disease. The study was designed to compare pediatric with adult-onset disease.
|There was an association between motherís age at pregnancy and pediatric Crohnís disease in female patients.|
|Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology|
They included all 4826 patients with Crohnís disease in the Swedish Inpatient Register, who were born between 1960 and 1998, in the study. Of these, 47% were male.
The researchers identified an association between motherís age at pregnancy and pediatric Crohnís disease in female patients only.
Compared with those whose mothers were younger than 21 years, female patients with older mothers were at a higher risk of pediatric disease.
The team did not identify any significant associations for fatherís age or number of siblings.
Dr Scott Montgomery's team concluded, "Females might be more susceptible or more often exposed to factors associated with older maternal age at pregnancy that increase their risk of pediatric-onset Crohnís disease".