Can We Treat Chronic HCV Infection Without Interferon?

A potent combination of 2 drugs that directly target the hepatitis C virus (HCV) is effective in patients with chronic infection, and doesn’t require interferon therapy, according to an article in the December issue of Gastroenterology. Patients infected with HCV genotype-1 are usually treated with peginterferon and ribavirin, but approximately

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What Does the Appendix Do, Anyway?

The appendix protects against recurrent infection by Clostridium difficile (C difficile) and possibly other pathogenic bacteria, according to a study published in the December issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Although the human appendix is considered to be expendable, it contains gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), which processes antigen and regulates

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Could Differences in Gut Bacteria Cause IBS?

The bacteria that reside in the intestines of adults and children with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) differ from those of healthy adults and children, according to 2 studies in the November issue of Gastroenterology. Microorganisms account for 90% of the cells in our body (many cannot even be cultured); only

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High Rate of Complications from Colectomy for Ulcerative Colitis

Twenty-seven percent of patients who are treated for ulcerative colitis by colectomy experience postoperative complications, according to a study in the November issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Most patients with ulcerative colitis are successfully treated with medication, yet some have severe colitis attacks that can be life threatening. Approximately

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New Cell Culture Technology for Colon Cancer and Barrett’s Esophagus

A new method for long-term culture of human primary colonic epithelium provides an important tool for studying colon stem cells, adenocarcinoma, colon cancer, and even Barrett’s esophagus, according to the November issue of Gastroenterology. Self-renewal of the small intestinal and colonic epithelium is mediated by proliferation of stem cells and

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Could Some Cases of IBS Actually Be Food Hypersensitivity?

Twenty-five percent of patients diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are actually hypersensitive to specific foods, according to a study in the November issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. IBS and food hypersensitivity reactions have many overlapping symptoms, including abdominal pain and discomfort, bloating, and altered bowel habits, making it

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How Do Proton Pump Inhibitors Increase Intestinal Damage from NSAIDS?

Taking a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) to reduce stomach damage from nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can damage the intestine by disrupting the microbiota, according to a study by John Wallace et al. in the October issue of Gastroenterology. Patients who take NSAIDs are frequently given PPIs to reduce gastric acid

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What is the Best Treatment for Microscopic Colitis?

The corticosteroid budesonide is the most effective treatment for patients with microscopic colitis (MC), according to a meta-analysis in the October issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. However, once patients stop taking this drug, the rate of symptom relapse is high. MC is an inflammatory disorder of the colon that

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How Does Deferasirox Reduce Liver Fibrosis?

Liver fibrosis is reduced in patients with iron overload β-thalassemia and hepatitis C given the iron chelator deferasirox, according to Yves Deugnier et al. in the October issue of Gastroenterology. The liver is the main site of iron accumulation in patients with iron-overload disorders. Storage of excess iron in the

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Do Stents Prevent Pancreatitis After ERCP?

Pancreatic duct stents reduce the incidence of pancreatitis following endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), according to a study published in the October issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Pancreatitis is the most common and potentially serious complication following ERCP, occurring in up to 9% of patients that receive this procedure and

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