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Open Access Research article

Bowel disorders and its spatial trend in Manitoba, Canada

Mahmoud Torabi

Author Affiliations

Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, 750 Bannatyne Ave., Winnipeg, Manitoba R3E 0W3, Canada

BMC Public Health 2014, 14:285  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-285

Published: 27 March 2014

Abstract

Background

Bowel disorders have destructive impacts on the patients social and mental aspects of life and can cause emotional distress. The risk of developing bowel incontinence also increases with age. The rate of incidence of inflammatory bowel disease in Manitoba, Canada, has been unusually raised. Therefore, it is important to identify trends in the incidence of bowel disorders that may suggest further epidemiological studies to identify risk factors and identify any changes in important factors.

Methods

An important part of spatial epidemiology is cluster detection as it has the potential to identify possible risk factors associated with disease, which in turn may lead to further investigations into the nature of diseases. To test for potential disease clusters many methods have been proposed. The focused detection methods including the circular spatial scan statistic (CSS), flexible spatial scan statistic (FSS), and Bayesian disease mapping (BYM) are among the most popular disease detection procedures. A frequentist approach based on maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) has been recently used to identify potential focused clusters as well. The aforementioned approaches are studied by analyzing a dataset of bowel disorders in the province of Manitoba, Canada, from 2001 to 2010.

Results

The CSS method identified less regions than the FSS method in the south part of the province as potential clusters. The same regions were identified by the BYM and MLE methods as being potential clusters of bowel disorders with a slightly different order of significance. Most of these regions were also detected by the CSS or FSS methods.

Conclusions

Overall, we recommend using the methods BYM and MLE for cluster detection with the similar population and structure of regions as in Manitoba. The potential clusters of bowel disorders are generally located in the southern part of the province including the eastern part of the city of Winnipeg. These results may represent real increases in bowel disorders or they may be an indication of other covariates that were not adjusted for in the model used here. Further investigation is needed to examine these findings, and also to explore the cause of these increases.

Keywords:
Bayesian computation; Bowel disorders; Geographic epidemiology; Spatial cluster detection