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August 10, 2007, 7:13 AM CT

Why Persistent Acid Reflux Sometimes Turns Into Cancer?

Why Persistent Acid Reflux Sometimes Turns Into Cancer?
Image courtesy of Medical college of georgia
New research from researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center and the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center underscores the importance of preventing recurring acid reflux while also uncovering tantalizing clues on how typical acid reflux can turn potentially malignant.

In research published in July and August, researchers discovered that people with acid reflux disease, especially those with a complication of acid reflux called Barretts esophagus, have altered cells in their esophagus containing shortened telomeres, the ending sequences in DNA strands. Combined with related research would be published this month, the findings indicate that the shortened sequences might allow other cells more prone to cancer to take over.

The research supports why it is important to prevent reflux, because the more reflux you have and the longer you have it, the more it might predispose you to getting Barretts esophagus. So you want to suppress that reflux, said Dr. Rhonda Souza, associate professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and lead author of the paper which appears in the recent issue of the American Journal of Physiology Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology

Heartburn occurs when acid splashes back up from the stomach into the esophagus, the long feeding tube that connects the stomach and throat, causing a burning sensation.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 7, 2007, 10:48 PM CT

E. coli bacteria And Crohn's disease

E. coli bacteria And Crohn's disease
A team of Cornell University researchers from the College of Veterinary Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences have discovered that a novel group of E. coli bacteria containing genes similar to those described in uropathogenic and avian pathogenic E. coli and enteropathogenic bacteria such as salmonella, cholera, bubonic plague is linked to intestinal inflammation in patients with Crohns disease in their research paper published July 12 by The ISME Journal: Multidisciplinary Journal of Microbial Ecology.

Crohns disease, an incurable inflammatory disorder of the intestine most usually found in the lower part of the small intestine called the ileum affects 1-in-1,000 people in Europe and North America. Thus far, gut bacteria have long been suspected in playing a pivotal role in the development of Crohns disease, but the specific bacterial characteristics that drive the inflammatory response have remained elusive.

Scientists at Cornell examined possible causes for the disease in patients with Crohns restricted to the ileum and the colon versus healthy individuals.

Given that only about 20 percent of fecal bacteria can be cultured, our group adopted a broad culture-independent approach to target specific subgroups of bacteria for quantitative in situ analysis and culture based characterization, said Kenneth Simpson, professor of small animal medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Our findings raise the possibility that a novel group of E. coli contains opportunistic pathogens that may be causally correlation to chronic intestinal inflammation in susceptible individuals. They suggest that an integrated approach that considers an individuals mucosa-associated flora in addition to disease phenotype and genotype may improve outcome.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


August 3, 2007, 10:17 PM CT

Cognitive impairment with H2 Blockers

Cognitive impairment with H2 Blockers
Long-term use of histamine2 receptor antagonists (H2A), one class of drugs that blocks stomach acid, may be linked to cognitive impairment in older African-American adults. As per an Indiana University School of Medicine and Regenstrief Institute study reported in the recent issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, the risk for showing signs of cognitive impairment is 2.5 times greater for patients using these medications long-term.

These acid blockers, including ranitidine and famotidine, are among the most popular medications prescribed in the United States. More than 16 million prescriptions were dispensed in 2005 and several of these medications are also available over-the-counter. The drugs are sold under brand names such as Axid, Pepcid, Tagamet and Zantac, and are used to treat ulcers, acid reflux and other gastrointestinal disorders.

The five-year observational study included 1,558 cognitively normal African-Americans aged 65 and older. After controlling for other possible factors, nearly 18 percent of H2A users studied exhibited signs of cognitive impairment.

Taking these medications continuously appears to put older African-Americans at greater risk for the development of cognitive impairment, said Malaz Boustani, M.D., MPH, assistant professor of medicine at the IU School of Medicine and a Regenstrief research scientist. Dr. Boustani is lead author of the study. We need to study this further to determine how acid blockers might be causing or creating this effect and if it occurs only in African-Americans.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


July 30, 2007, 10:08 PM CT

Bariatric surgery patients have fewer complications

Bariatric surgery patients have fewer complications
Bariatric surgery patients had 64 percent fewer complications and a 26 percent shorter hospital stay if they went to a five-star rated hospital compared with a one-star rated hospital, as per a new study released recently by HealthGrades, the healthcare ratings company. The study of bariatric surgery outcomes at hospitals in 19 states over the years 2003 to 2005 also observed that five-star rated hospitals those with better-than-average patient outcomes -- performed about twice the number of procedures compared with hospitals that rated poorly.

A clear trend away from traditional, more invasive gastric bypass to a less invasive laparoscopic procedure was also found in the study, as per the second annual HealthGrades Bariatric Surgery Trends in American Hospitals. Over 70 percent of the surgeries done in 2005 were laparoscopic, which are linked to fewer inhospital complications than traditional gastric bypass.

Bariatric surgery has been demonstrated to be highly effective for those with morbid obesity, but the relatively new procedures are still not regulated or a credentialed surgical subspecialty, said Samantha Collier, MD., HealthGrades chief medical officer. So it is important that patients considering surgery know how hospitals rate.

The HealthGrades study analyzed 166,410 bariatric surgery procedures in the years 2003, 2004 and 2005 in the 19 states that collect and release all-payer outcomes data. Those states are: Arizona, California, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 25, 2007, 10:27 PM CT

Options For Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Options For Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease
The use of biologic agents for the therapy of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may benefit patients, but doctors need to consider the potential associated side effects in determining therapy course, as per a consensus paper published in this months issue of Gastroenterology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute. IBD includes Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis, both frequently disabling diseases that affect approximately one million people both in the U.S. and Europe.

The conference examined the literature on monoclonal antibodies or antibody fragments currently approved by the FDA or likely to be approved in the near future. The participants of the Consensus Development Conference, medical experts in IBD convened by the AGA Institute, sought to answer a series of questions about the therapy of IBD with these biologics based on expert presentations of current scientific knowledge about IBD and subsequent discussion. Co-chairs of the conference were Stephen B. Hanauer, MD, professor of medicine and clinical pharmacology at the University of Chicago, and Paul Rutgeerts, MD, AGAF, professor of medicine, University Hospital Gasthuisberg, Belgium.

The management of inflammatory bowel disease has been significantly affected by the development of biologic therapies, as per Dr. Hanauer. Biologic therapies provide new options and hope for a number of patients, however they may be accompanied by serious side effects, both when used alone or in combination with other therapys. Gastroenterologists need to review and consider the side effects and significant costs when determining the best therapy course for their patients.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


July 23, 2007, 5:11 PM CT

NSAIDs treatment can reduce colorectal cancer risk

NSAIDs treatment can reduce colorectal cancer risk
A study of Medicare patients with osteoarthritis provides additional evidence that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Earlier investigations of the drugs impact on tumor development could not rule out the possibility that an observed protective effect was caused by other preventive health care measures. The current study, led by a Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) physician, appears in the August 2007 Journal of General Internal Medicine.

This is good news for people who take NSAIDs regularly for osteoarthritis, says Elizabeth Lamont, MD, MS, of the MGH Cancer Center, the studys lead author. Eventhough patients face risks such as bleeding or kidney damage from this treatment, they probably are at a lower risk of developing colorectal cancer. Because of the risks posed by the dosage used to treat osteoarthritis, she and her co-authors stress that currently available NSAIDs should not be used solely to prevent cancer.

Earlier randomized trials clearly showed that NSAID therapy can prevent the development of premalignant colorectal polyps, but whether or not such treatment also reduces the risk of invasive colorectal cancer has still not been confirmed. Those trials used relatively low doses of aspirin and showed no significant differences in colorectal cancer rates between the aspirin and placebo groups. While a number of findings based on observation have shown a protective effect of NSAIDs against colorectal cancer, interpretation of some of those results may have been clouded by other healthy behaviors of the participants.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


July 2, 2007, 10:01 AM CT

Interferon Treatment For Hepatitis C

Interferon Treatment For Hepatitis C
A new study on predicting outcomes of standard therapy for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection observed that many factors impacted responses, including the form of the interferon given. However, for some genotypes of the disease, few of these factors play a role.

The results of this study appear in the July 2007 issue of Hepatology, the official journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hepatology is available online via Wiley InterScience at http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/hepatology.

Over three million people in the U.S. have chronic HCV infection, which accounts for approximately 40 percent of all chronic liver disease and is the most frequent indication for liver transplants. The current standard of care for HCV is the combination of pegylated interferon alfa (PEG-INF) and ribavarin, but this therapy can be difficult to tolerate. A number of patients have side effects that include fatigue, flu-like symptoms, depression, fever and anemia. These can be severe enough to cause these patients to discontinue therapy.

Led by Lisa I. Backus, of the Center for Quality Management in Public Health located at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System in Palo Alto, CA, scientists conducted a large retrospective study to analyze predictors of sustained virologic response (SVR), or undetectable virus in the blood six months after finishing therapy. For this study, the scientists used a time frame of three months or later to determine an SVR, because a prior study showed that 98 percent of relapses occur within three months of stopping therapy. The study included 5,944 predominantly male patients receiving care at VA medical facilities.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


June 10, 2007, 7:30 PM CT

Genetic Risk Factor For Coeliac Disease

Genetic Risk Factor For Coeliac Disease
An international research consortium investigating the genetic causes of intestinal inflammatory conditions has identified a new genetic risk factor for coeliac disease. The findings, published online today (10 June 2007) in the science journal Nature Genetics, could pave the way towards improved diagnostics and therapys for the common, lifelong complaint.

Led by David van Heel, Professor of Gastrointestinal Genetics at Queen Mary, University of London, the study - funded by the charity Coeliac UK, and the Wellcome Trust - has revealed that those suffering from coeliac disease lack a protective DNA sequence in a specific gene region, otherwise found in healthy individuals.

Behind the success of the study are the Human Genome Project and the Hap Map Project, international research efforts to reveal the entire sequence of all the human chromosomes - and the functional units embedded within - and to correlate that information to common sequence variation in the human population.

Dr Panos Deloukas, Senior Investigator in Human Genetics at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, and part of the research consortium, said: These resources coupled with technological advances have enabled us to scan variation across the human genome in large numbers of people for association to disease. The Sanger Institute made available to the study the genome data on 1500 British individuals used as controls (i.e without coeliac disease). The consortium studied over four thousand individuals with and without coeliac disease, amongst British, Irish and Dutch populations.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


May 21, 2007, 10:52 AM CT

Impact Of Lifestyle On GI Health

Impact Of Lifestyle On GI Health
As per new research presented today at Digestive Disease Week 2007 (DDW), lifestyle factors like choosing your diet regimen or ordering an appetizer for dinner may have a significant impact on the gastrointestinal (GI) system, affecting your risk for certain diseases, weight and general GI-related activity. DDW is the largest international gathering of physicians and scientists in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery.

"A number of factors come into play when managing a healthy lifestyle. While some factors may be difficult for patients to change, other simple adjustments, such as adopting a vegetarian diet early in life or ordering the appropriate soup while eating out, may result in decreased risk for obesity and colon cancer," said Alan Buchman, M.D., MSPH, AGAF, Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University School of Medicine. "The studies presented today further demonstrate how scientists are beginning to understand the links between digestive diseases and lifestyle most notably, diet".



Life Long Vegetarian Diet Reduces the Risk of Colorectal Cancer (Abstract #155)


The average person's lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer (CRC) is about seven percent and the role of diet in preventing this type of cancer remains under debate. Most of all, prior studies enrolled middle-aged subjects, raising the possibility that CRC development may start before common interventions. Scientists from Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) in Mumbai, India, set out to determine whether a vegetarian diet is linked to reduced risk of CRC if started very early in life.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 21, 2007, 10:42 AM CT

Lubiprostone For Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Lubiprostone For Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Image courtesy of abc.net.au
A new study demonstrated that the active ingredient in AMITIZA (lubiprostone), given 8 mcg twice a day, may improve symptom relief rates in adults with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C). These results were presented as a late-breaker at Digestive Disease Week 2007, the largest annual international meeting of digestive disease specialists.

"In this study, patients receiving lubiprostone were nearly twice as likely to achieve an overall response from symptoms of IBS-C in comparison to those receiving placebo," said Douglas A. Drossman, M.D., primary investigator, UNC Center for Functional GI and Motility Disorders, University of North Carolina, and the Chair of the Rome Committee. "As a result, lubiprostone may represent an important therapy for IBS-C sufferers".

IBS is a condition that affects approximately 58 million Americans and accounts for 25-50 percent of referrals to gastroenterologists. IBS-C symptoms include abdominal pain or discomfort linked to defecation or a change in bowel habits with features of disordered defecation.

Lubiprostone is a novel selective chloride channel activator that has been shown to be effective and well-tolerated in many well-controlled clinical trials in patients with chronic idiopathic constipation. Lubiprostone is marketed in the U.S. as AMITIZA, a 24-mcg gelcap that was approved for use for chronic idiopathic constipation in adults on January 31, 2006.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
The number of bariatric surgeries performed in the U.S. increased by 450 percent between 1998 and 2002, a growth the scientists say could be linked with use of the minimally invasive laparoscopic technique, according to an article in the recent issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

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