Gastrointestinal Disorders & Quality of Life Around the World

Tracy Davenport, Ph.D. Health Guide
  • One of my goals as a researcher is to stay current about my topic of interest by not only knowing what is happening in the U.S., but also abroad. Looking outside of the U.S. for information on a topic is important for at least two reasons. One, is that much of our research funding comes from our government and is therefore politically influenced. In other words, researchers will study topics which are likely to be funded, so often times important topics are not covered just because the funding is not available. The second reason to look beyond the U.S. for information, is that research communities can become very small, and researchers can run the risk of influencing each other almost too much, preventing new ideas from emerging.  My goal in this SharePost is to take you around the world without having to leave the comforts of your own computer.

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    The first stop will be Australia, where researchers looked at whether gastrointestinal disorders impair a person's quality of life. To find out more about the topic, the researchers surveyed approximately 1000 individuals with gastrointestinal symptoms and almost 2000 individuals without symptoms. Probably not surprising to you, they found that gastrointestinal disorders were associated with impaired mental and physical functioning.


    Our next stop is Greece, where they also thought it was important to consider the health-related quality of life of those living with gastrointestinal disorders. After studying 135 Greek patients with IBD, the researchers found that the disease activity had the most significant effect on the patients' quality of life. Patients with active disease scored lower on the measure of quality of life (were more impaired), as compared to those in remission.


    Our last stop is Sweden, where quality of life was measured on a sample of Swedish patients with IBD. These researchers studied 331 individuals with ulcerative colitis (UC), and 161 individuals with Crohn's Disease (CD). They found that patients with UC had better health related and disease-specific quality of life than did the patients with CD. The individuals with CD reported more anxiety and depression than did patients with UC.


    While these findings may seem obvious to some of us, research on a topic like quality of life is extremely important, and allows supports for individuals to be legitimately put in place.

Published On: May 14, 2008