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February 2009 Briefing - Gastroenterology

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Gastroenterology for February 2009. 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.

Genetic Variants Predict Survival in Pancreatic Cancer

FRIDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with resectable pancreatic cancer, mismatch repair gene polymorphisms may be significantly associated with clinical outcomes, according to a report published online Feb. 23 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Gene Mutation Linked to Higher Risk of Colon Cancer Death

FRIDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Mutations in a gene involved in promoting cell growth increase the risk of cancer-specific death in patients with colon cancer, and the increased risk appears to depend on the absence of mutations in another cancer-promoting gene, according to research published online Feb. 23 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Liver Cancer Rates Tripled in the United States Since 1970s

THURSDAY, Feb. 26 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma in the United States has tripled since the 1970s, although survival has continued to improve due to better diagnosis and treatment, according to a report published online Feb. 17 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Insurance Essential for Good Health, Well-Being

TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Having health insurance is vital for health and well-being, and when rates of uninsurance are high, even insured people are more likely to struggle to obtain necessary care, according to a new report from the Institute of Medicine released online Feb. 24.

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US Health Spending May Have Hit $2.4 Trillion in 2008

TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Health spending in the United States was estimated to be $2.4 trillion last year, and is expected to account for an unprecedented share of the economy this year, according to a report published online Feb. 24 in Health Affairs.

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Reminders May Improve Rates of Colorectal Cancer Screening

TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Mailed reminders to patients and electronic reminders to physicians may improve rates of colorectal cancer screening and detection of adenomas, according to study findings published in the Feb. 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Colon Cancer Patients Influencing Treatment Choices

TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with colon cancer who seek treatment information are more likely to know about and be treated with novel targeted therapies, regardless of whether they have metastatic disease, for which the therapies have U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, or localized disease, for which the drugs are not approved treatments, according to an article published online Feb. 23 in Cancer.

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Obesity Gene Linked to Energy Expenditure

MONDAY, Feb. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Mice lacking the Fto gene, where common human variants have been linked to obesity, are leaner due to increased energy expenditure despite the fact that they eat more and move less, according to research published online Feb. 22 in Nature.

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Eltrombopag Increases Platelet Counts in Purpura

FRIDAY, Feb. 20 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with chronic idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, eltrombopag -- an oral, non-peptide, thrombopoietin-receptor agonist -- may help manage thrombocytopenia, according to a study published in the Feb. 21 issue of The Lancet.

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Proposed Changes to Health Care Would Reduce Costs

THURSDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Simultaneous gains in universal health coverage, improved health outcomes and slowed spending growth would have a major impact on the development of public policy, according to a perspective published in the Feb. 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Transparency, Globalization Growing in Clinical Research

THURSDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- All clinical trial data and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration database should be publicly available, and global clinical research should be conducted in relevant populations for potential applications of the intervention, according to two articles published in the Feb. 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Abstract - Glickman
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Implementing a Quality Improvement Faculty Path

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- A new career pathway in academic medicine, termed clinicians in quality improvement, is a justified concept to achieve and recognize excellence in patient safety, according to a commentary published in the Feb. 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Gene Linked to Lower Survival in Colorectal Cancer Patients

TUESDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Colorectal cancer patients whose lymph nodes are histologically negative but produce a marker of lymph node metastasis have an earlier time to recurrence and lower disease-free survival, researchers report in the Feb. 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Ads Featuring 'Drug Facts Box' Help Educate Consumers

TUESDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Replacing the brief summary in direct-to-consumer ads with a "drug facts box" may result in improved consumer knowledge and judgment about medication benefits and side effects, according to study findings released online Feb. 17 in advance of publication in the Apr. 21 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Agencies Must Do More to Prevent Foodborne Disease

THURSDAY, Feb. 12 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. agencies responsible for food safety must take steps to prevent outbreaks of foodborne illness such as the current Salmonella outbreak linked to peanut butter products, according to a perspective published online Feb. 11 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Aspirin Lowers Risk of Colorectal Adenomas

THURSDAY, Feb. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Aspirin lowers the risk of colorectal adenomas, and the lower risk is maintained if patients frequently take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) post-treatment, according to two studies published online Feb. 10 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Abstract - Cole
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Abstract - Grau
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Care Coordination Programs Don't Benefit Medicare Patients

TUESDAY, Feb. 10 (HealthDay News) -- For Medicare beneficiaries with chronic illnesses, most care coordination programs have little impact on reducing hospitalizations and costs or improving quality of care, according to a report published in the Feb. 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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RFA May Offer Benefit in Hepatocellular Carcinoma

MONDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) may provide better three-year overall survival for patients with small hepatocellular carcinomas compared with percutaneous ethanol injection, according to research published in the February issue of Hepatology.

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CDC Analyzes Salmonella Peanut Butter Outbreak

MONDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- The widespread outbreaks of Salmonella infections that hospitalized 116 patients and may have contributed to the deaths of eight people were traced to peanut butter and peanut paste used in other products manufactured by Peanut Corporation of America at its factory in Blakely, Ga., according to a report published in the Feb. 6 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Capn4 Linked to Metastasis and Invasion in Liver Cancer

FRIDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Overexpression of calpain small subunit 1 (Capn4) appears to play a role in invasion and metastasis following liver transplantation for hepatocellular carcinoma, according to research published in the February issue of Hepatology.

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Growth Hormone May Benefit Bariatric Surgery Patients

FRIDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- In obese women who undergo laparoscopic-adjustable silicone gastric banding, treatment with growth hormone in combination with a standardized low-calorie diet and exercise program helps prevent the loss of lean body mass, according to a report published online Dec. 9 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

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Four-Drug Regimen Not Beneficial in Colorectal Cancer

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, the addition of cetuximab to capecitabine, oxaliplatin and bevacizumab is associated with significantly reduced progression-free survival and a lower quality of life, according to a report published in the Feb. 5 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Editorial

Computer-Aided Detection Improves Cancer Screening

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Using computer-aided detection in conjunction with traditional computed tomographic (CT) colonography screening is a cost-effective way to improve colorectal cancer prevention, according to research published in the February issue of Radiology.

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New Fecal Blood Tests Allow Detection of Colorectal Cancer

TUESDAY, Feb. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Qualitative immunochemical fecal occult blood tests may be a future option of colorectal cancer screening over the currently used and more limited guaiac-based tests, according to research published Feb. 3 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Physician's Briefing
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