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Psychiatrist.comA Study of the Association of Ulcerative Colitis and Bipolar Disorder in an Inpatient Population

A look into the unexpected inverse relationship between the two disorders.

A recent study investigated the association between ulcerative colitis (UC) and bipolar disorder (BD) in a young adult inpatient population. Contrary to expectations, the research revealed an inverse relationship between the two conditions, challenging previous understanding of their connection. The findings, based on a large sample size and national representation, prompt further investigation into the underlying mechanisms.

Key Points:

  • The study used weighted National Inpatient Sample (NIS) data for young adults diagnosed with BD between October 2015 and December 2017.
  • Among 294,640 patients diagnosed with BD, only 0.2% (n = 595) had UC.
  • The overall prevalence of UC was less (0.7%) among patients with BD compared to those without BD (1.5%), with an odds ratio of 0.47 (95% CI, 0.39–0.56).
  • Multivariable regression analysis confirmed the significant inverse association between BD and UC (OR: 0.39, 95% CI, 0.33–0.48).

Additional Points:

  • The findings contradict prior studies and the understanding of inflammatory pathogenesis.
  • Possible explanations include prolonged incubation of both UC and BD, a dose-response relationship between inflammation and development, or the influence of treatments on inflammatory markers.
  • The study acknowledges limitations, including the inability to ascertain information about inflammatory markers in UC and BD.


  • The surprising inverse relationship between UC and BD warrants further research to explore the underlying mechanisms and potential intermediate factors that inflammation may modify differently in these conditions.

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Did You Know?
Ulcerative colitis (UC) affects approximately 700,000 people in the United States, with the prevalence varying across different regions and populations.

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