In CRC Screening, Location Matters

Colonoscopy screening reduces mortality from cancers of the distal, but not proximal, colon, according to a study published in the October issue of Gastroenterology. Harminder Singh et al. studied mortality from CRC among more than 55,000 people that had received screening colonoscopies, compared with the general population. They found that

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Who Has the Greatest Risk for Colorectal Cancer?

Men and smokers have the greatest risk for developing colorectal neoplasms—even more than people with a family history of this cancer—according to Michael Hoffmeister et al. in the October issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Current guidelines recommend that individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer (CRC), inflammatory bowel

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How Prevalent are Pancreatic Cysts?

As more patients have undergone imaging examinations for various disorders, physicians have detected pancreatic cysts with increasing frequency. Some cysts become malignant yet many remain asymptomatic. However, the prevalence of pancreatic cysts among healthy individuals has not been established—it is important to determine how common these are, to devise strategies

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IBD Risk Beyond the Bowel

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a recurring problem for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), according to a clinical study by Gottfried Novacek et al. in this month’s issue of Gastroenterology. People with IBD have a high risk for developing blood clots, but it is not clear if they should receive

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Reflux and Laryngitis—a Complicated Relationship

Results from a large clinical trial show that proton pump inhibitors relieve some, but not all the symptoms of chronic laryngitis. One type of laryngitis, laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR), is characterized by hoarseness, chronic cough, frequent throat clearing, and the feeling of something in the throat. Because it is believed to

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Cadaveric Liver Cells for Transplantation?

The only effective treatment for liver failure is transplantation, which is limited by the short supply of organ donors. A study by Laura Erker et al. in the September issue of Gastroenterology reports that liver cells from human cadavers might someday be used for transplantation. Erker et al. showed that

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Controlling Pancreatitis Pain

In patients with pancreatitis, treatments for the nervous system, rather than the pancreas itself, might better reduce pain, according to a study in the August issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Chronic pancreatitis is painful—surgery or endoscopy to reduce pressure in the parenchyma or in the pancreatic duct does not

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Marking the Course of Hepatitis B

It is a challenge to monitor the course of chronic hepatitis B. Patients still carry the Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) but have varying levels of viral DNA, HBeAg, and liver inflammation—and remain at risk for developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Two papers in this month’s issue of Gastroenterology investigate Hepatitis

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How should we assess quality of cirrhosis care?

Insurance companies and government agencies attempt to assess healthcare quality to develop quality-based reimbursement models. It is a challenge to define and measure quality of care, however, especially for complex, chronic diseases such as cirrhosis. Two studies in the August issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology (CGH) identify tools for

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New Word on GERD?

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are useful for treating gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), although heartburn completely resolves in only 40% of patients that take these drugs. Furthermore, long-term use of PPIs can increase risk for pneumonia, Clostridium difficile infection, and bone disorders, so other therapeutic strategies are needed. In the August

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Curbing Crohn’s for the Long Term?

Most people with Crohn’s disease receive surgery, yet the disease comes back a short time later. A study in the July issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology reports that giving patients low doses of infliximab immediately after surgery prevents disease recurrence over long time periods. Dario Sorrentino et al. began

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Which Roads Lead to NASH?

Which Roads Lead to NASH? The progressive liver disease nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is mediated by an innate immune response in the liver that causes tissue damage and fibrosis. The innate immune system protects against invading pathogens, but it’s not clear how it becomes activated in livers of patients with NASH.

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Does Polyp Size Matter?

Computed tomography colonography (CTC) is a useful tool for colon cancer screening. The challenge, however, is determining which lesions are most dangerous—should some be treated aggressively and others just monitored or ignored? Does size matter? In the July issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Perry Pickhardt et al. assessed the

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H. pylori—What Makes It a Friend or Foe in Cancer Risk?

How does infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) increase risk for gastric cancer but reduce risk for esophageal cancers? One proposed mechanism is that H. pylori induces gastric atrophy and hypochlorhydria—these promote gastric cancer but reduce acid exposure to the lower esophagus, which protects against esophageal adenocarcinoma. However, many people

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