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April 2008 Briefing - Gastroenterology

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Gastroenterology for April 2008. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.

FDA Approves Drug for Women with Irritable Bowel Syndrome

WEDNESDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced this week that it has approved Amitiza (lubiprostone) for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) in women aged 18 and older.

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Physicians Lack Feedback on Accuracy of Diagnoses

TUESDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- Clinical diagnosis is a largely open-loop system in which there is no systematic way for clinicians to obtain feedback on the outcome of their diagnoses, according to an article published in a supplement to the May issue of The American Journal of Medicine.

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Palliative Care Can Improve Patient Care Most, Poll Finds

MONDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- In an international poll conducted by BMJ to determine which area of health care would enable doctors to make the greatest difference to patients, palliative care for non-malignant disease received the most votes, the BMJ Group announced at the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Health Care in Paris this week.

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Protein Implicated in Gastric Inflammation, Tumors

MONDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- Evidence from animal studies points to aberrant activation of STAT1 and STAT3 -- mediated by the cytokine IL-11 -- in chronic gastric inflammation and gastric tumors, according to research published in the May issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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FDA Approves Drug for Opioid-Induced Constipation

FRIDAY, April 25 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced this week that it has approved Relistor (methylnaltrexone bromide) to help restore bowel function in patients with late-stage, advanced illness requiring chronic opioids for pain control.

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Laparoscopic Reflux Procedure Complications Drop

THURSDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- During the first 10 years of laparoscopic fundoplication to treat reflux in Finland, the rate of serious complications declined, as did the rate of serious complications following open surgery, according to research published in the April issue of Archives of Surgery.

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FDA Approves New Biologic Drug to Treat Crohn's Disease

WEDNESDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced this week the approval of Cimzia (certolizumab pegol) for the treatment of moderate to severe Crohn's disease in patients who have not responded to conventional therapies.

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Cisplatin Therapy Delivers Worse Anal Cancer Outcomes

TUESDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with anal canal carcinoma, induction chemotherapy with fluorouracil and cisplatin before concurrent radiation was added failed to improve disease-free survival and resulted in a worse colostomy rate than treatment with fluorouracil, mitomycin and radiation, according to research published in the April 23/30 issue of JAMA.

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ACS: Report Details Cancer Prevention Trends in U.S.

TUESDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- Several favorable trends linked to falling cancer rates in the United States may be in jeopardy, according to a report issued by the American Cancer Society, which points out that the decline in smoking appears to be leveling off and that mammography rates are no longer increasing and may even be decreasing.

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Treatment Regimen Benefits Colorectal Cancer Patients

FRIDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- Oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy combined with bevacizumab significantly improves progression-free survival in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, according to two studies published in the April 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Fluvastatin May Be Helpful in Chronic Hepatitis C

THURSDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- Fluvastatin appears to be safe for lowering cholesterol in chronic carriers of hepatitis C virus, and the drug may actually exert an antiviral effect, according to research published in the April issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

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Method Detects Extracolonic Lesions Over Colonoscopy

MONDAY, April 14 (HealthDay News) -- Abdominal computed tomography with colonography (CTC) is more effective and less costly than optical colonoscopy (OC) for the detection of extracolonic findings such as abdominal aortic aneurysms and extracolonic cancers, according to an article in the April 14 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Gene Linked to Ethanol-Induced Liver Damage

FRIDAY, April 11 (HealthDay News) -- Deleting a gene involved in protecting cells against xenobiotic and oxidative stress leads to liver damage and death in mice fed an ethanol diet, researchers report in the April issue of Gastroenterology.

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Hyperthyroidism in Mice Linked to Lower HDL Cholesterol

FRIDAY, April 11 (HealthDay News) -- Severe hyperthyroidism is associated with a 40 percent drop in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels in mice, according to study findings published online April 3 in Endocrinology.

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Mucosal Anthrax Vaccine Protective in Mice

FRIDAY, April 11 (HealthDay News) -- Detoxified anthrax lethal toxin elicits strong antibody responses and completely protects mice against anthrax, according to research published in the April issue of Clinical and Vaccine Immunology.

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Individualized Health Care Budgets Improve Care

FRIDAY, April 11 (HealthDay News) -- The U.K.'s National Health Service (NHS) should allow patients individual control of their health care budgets, an approach that has been shown in pilot studies to improve outcomes and patient satisfaction in a cost-effective manner, according to an analysis published April 12 in BMJ.

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Estrogen Therapy Linked to Reflux Symptom Risk

FRIDAY, April 11 (HealthDay News) -- Postmenopausal estrogen hormone therapy is associated with a higher risk of reflux symptoms, while oral contraceptives appear to have no association, according to the results of a study published in the April issue of Gastroenterology.

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Consider Health Literacy Level When Writing for Patients

THURSDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- Giving patients clearly written educational materials that convey key messages without resorting to jargon is an important part of engaging patient compliance with treatment and can contribute to health literacy, according to an article published in the April issue of Chest.

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Paternal Obesity Linked to Liver Injury

WEDNESDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- Early-onset paternal, but not maternal, obesity is associated with a higher risk of having high levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT), a marker of liver injury associated with obesity, researchers report in the April issue of Gastroenterology.

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Doctors Vote on the Ways to Make Biggest Difference

WEDNESDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- The BMJ has begun accepting votes on which areas of health care allow doctors to make the biggest difference to patient care, with a shortlist of six areas each being championed by eminent doctors and researchers. The winning topic will gain special coverage in the BMJ and the BMJ Group's 24 other specialist journals and online education products.

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Omega-3 Fatty Acids Don't Prevent Crohn's Relapse

TUESDAY, April 8 (HealthDay News) -- Omega-3 free fatty acids are not effective in maintaining remission in patients with Crohn's disease, according to study findings published in the April 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Combined Therapy Promising in Unresectable Liver Cancer

TUESDAY, April 8 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with large unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma tumors, treatment with transarterial chemoembolization followed by radiofrequency ablation leads to improved survival compared to treatment with either of the two modalities alone, according to research published in the April 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Model Predicts Survival Factors in Gallbladder Cancer

MONDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- A model based on patient and tumor characteristics can predict the value of adjuvant radiotherapy for overall survival in patients with gallbladder cancer, according to a report released online March 31 in advance of publication in the May issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Some Increased Cancer Survival Due to Cure Rate

MONDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment advances have increased the life expectancy of late-stage colorectal and testicular cancer patients mostly by increasing the percentage cured, while the increase in life expectancy for ovarian cancer patients is primarily due to longer survival of uncured patients, according to study findings published online April 7 in Cancer.

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Rotavirus Vaccine Effective in Latin American Infants

FRIDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- In Latin American infants, oral live attenuated human rotavirus vaccine provides significant protection against rotavirus gastroenteritis up to age 2, according to the results of a study published in the April 5 issue of The Lancet.

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Second Rotavirus Vaccine Gets FDA Approval

FRIDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted approval to Rotarix, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals of Rixensart, Belgium, making it the second oral vaccine against rotavirus on the market in the United States, along with Merck's RotaTeq.

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Allopurinol Does Not Halt Procedure-Related Pancreatitis

FRIDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- Pre-procedure treatment with allopurinol does not appear to reduce the risk of pancreatitis caused by endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) but may be of benefit in patients at highest risk of the complication, according to research published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology in April.

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Reduced Constipation May Help Women's Pelvic Floor

THURSDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- A 42-day course of gradually increasing fiber intake improved constipation symptoms in women, which may reduce their risk for pelvic organ prolapse, according to research published in the April issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Researchers Identify Gene Behind Vitamin B12 Defect

WEDNESDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- Mutations responsible for the cblD defect, one of nine defects of intracellular cobalamin (vitamin B12) metabolism, have been found in the MMADHC gene on chromosome 2, according to a report published in the April 3 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Pediatric Liver Transplantation Affects Patients and Families

WEDNESDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- After pediatric liver transplantation, children aged 5 and over have compromised physical function and their parents have higher levels of stress. Although transplant families do not generally appear to have a higher level of family dysfunction, this may not be true for all demographic groups, according to a report published in the April issue of Liver Transplantation.

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Phototherapy Seems to Help in Bile-Duct Cancer Survival

WEDNESDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with unresectable cholangiocarcinoma, photodynamic therapy used with endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) may improve survival compared with just ERCP, according to research published in the March issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

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