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Digestive Disease Week 2006, May 20-25, 2006

Digestive Disease Week

Gastrointestinal health, from basic science to current debates about screening, was the focus at Digestive Disease Week 2006 in Los Angeles, May 20-25. The largest meeting of GI professionals in the United States, the meeting attracted about 16,000 attendees, including physicians, researchers and academic professionals from around the world.

One of the highlights was a talk by Barry Marshall, the 2005 Nobel prize winner for medicine, who discussed H. pylori and its role in human disease, said Loren Laine, M.D., professor of medicine at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles, and chair of the American Gastroenterological Association Council, one of four societies sponsoring the conference.

In the basic science symposium, participants heard about new advances in understanding of molecular bacterial pathogenesis and how host epithelial and immune responses mediate disease outcome in H. pylori infections.

In a plenary session, Linda Rabeneck of the Toronto-Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Centre in Toronto, Canada, reported that sigmoidoscopy is associated with a reduced incidence of distal but not proximal colorectal cancers. In other words, Laine said, "proof that sigmoidoscopy works for what it is supposed to do."

But, following other research showing a benefit of probiotics in attenuating disease severity in animal models of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a study of probiotics in human IBD by Fergus Shanahan of the National University of Ireland in Cork and his colleagues found no significant benefits of two different probiotics over placebo.

"Another interesting study was on aspirin in people who have GI bleeding," Laine said. The study found that "if you are treating them correctly, you can put them back on aspirin." Joseph Sung of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and his colleagues studied whether reintroducing aspirin early is safe in those who received intravenous pantoprazole for peptic ulcer bleeding. They found that immediate reintroduction did not substantially increase the risk of recurrent bleeding from peptic ulcers but did find a risk of increased mortality with discontinuation of aspirin.

Virtual Colonoscopy Effective in Average Risk Patients

FRIDAY, May 26 (HealthDay News) -- Virtual colonoscopy, or computed tomographic colonography, is nearly as effective as standard colonoscopy in detecting polyps in patients at average risk of colon cancer, according to a report presented at Digestive Disease Week 2006 in Los Angeles.

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ACE Inhibitors May Reduce Risk of Three Cancers

FRIDAY, May 26 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who take angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors may have a lower risk of pancreatic, colon and esophageal cancers, according to a study presented at the Digestive Disease Week 2006 meeting in Los Angeles.

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New Methods Aim to Make Colonoscopy Easier for Patients

FRIDAY, May 26 (HealthDay News) -- A new colonoscopy system, set to launch in the spring of 2007, promises a kinder, gentler procedure, according to a report presented at the Digestive Disease Week 2006 meeting in Los Angeles. In addition, an alternative sedation method can produce quicker recovery time and allow patients to drive themselves home, a requirement that can be an obstacle for some patients, according to another report presented at the meeting.

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Brief Cognitive Therapy Helps Patients with Irritable Bowel

THURSDAY, May 25 (HealthDay News) -- Four sessions of cognitive therapy help patients with irritable bowel syndrome as well as a 10-week program, according to a study presented this week at Digestive Disease Week in Los Angeles.

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Humira and Other Biologics Promising for Crohn's Disease

TUESDAY, May 23 (HealthDay News) -- Adalimumab (Humira), which is already approved for rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, is more effective than placebo at achieving both response and remission in patients with Crohn's disease, according to a study presented at the annual Digestive Disease Week meeting Monday in Los Angeles. That drug and other biologics may be helpful in treating such patients, researchers report.

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Two Drugs May Help Crohn's Disease, IBS Patients

TUESDAY, May 23 (HealthDay News) -- Lubiprostone (Amitiza), a drug approved in January 2006 for chronic constipation, may be helpful for patients with irritable bowel syndrome, and teduglutide, a naturally occurring hormone under study that regulates the growth and maintenance of cells lining the gastrointestinal tract, seems to help Crohn's disease patients, according to two studies reported Monday at the annual Digestive Disease Week meeting in Los Angeles.

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Diet Drink Mixers Result in Higher Blood Alcohol Content

TUESDAY, May 23 (HealthDay News) -- Blending liquor with a diet mixer is becoming more popular, but a study presented at Digestive Disease Week 2006 on Monday in Los Angeles suggests those who use the artificially sweetened mixers have a quicker gastric emptying time and a higher peak blood alcohol content than those using sucrose-containing mixers.

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