Neurologic disorders associated with inflammatory bowel disease

Eur J Neurol. 2011 Jan;18(1):138-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2010.03095.x.


Background and purpose: the study is aimed to report neurologic manifestations in a population of patients with inflammatory bowel disease in order to address its clinical characteristics.

Methods: we conducted a retrospective study based on a computer-guided search, of patients with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis diagnosed at three hospitals in Spain spanning from 2000 through 2008. Patients were classified into different clinical groups based on the type of neurologic involvement. Only patients without iatrogenic complications, vitamin deficiencies, or known cerebrovascular risk factors were included.

Results: we identified and reviewed the records of eighty-four inflammatory bowel disease patients with neurologic symptoms: thirteen patients with ulcerative colitis and twelve patients with Crohn's disease associated with neurologic complications were identified. Their ages ranged from 17 to 74 years. There was a slight predominance of women. Only four of them have another extra-intestinal manifestation. Most of the patients developed neurologic manifestations coincidental or after digestive symptoms appeared. Demyelinating disease was the most frequent manifestation observed (8 patients). Cerebrovascular, peripheral nerve, and epilepsy disorders were diagnosed in 6, 5, and 3 patients, respectively. One patient with myoclonus, one with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and one with sensorineural hearing loss were found.

Conclusions: although an incidence could not be obtained, this population of patients with inflammatory bowel disease have a low frequency of severe neurologic disorders. Neurologic diseases, such as cerebrovascular disease, demyelinating disease, and peripheral neuropathy, could be associated with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / complications*
  • Crohn Disease / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nervous System Diseases / complications*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Spain