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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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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An Aspirin a Day Won’t Kill You, But it Might Cause GI Bleeding

Taking an aspirin a day reduces the risk for death, but increases odds of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding, according to a large meta-analysis published in the September issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Daily low doses of acetylsalicylic acid (ASA, also known as aspirin, 75 to 325 mg per day) are

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Successful Surgery for Children with Chronic Pancreatitis

Total pancreatectomy, accompanied by auto-transplantation of islet cells, increases the quality of life for children with severe chronic pancreatitis, according to Melena Bellin et al. in the September issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Chronic pancreatitis is rare among children, but is painful and progressive and can lead to narcotic

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New Treatment for IBS

LX1031, a drug that inhibits serotonin production, relieves symptoms and increases stool consistency in patients with nonconstipating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to a study by Philip Brown et al. in the August issue of Gastroenterology. Serotonin (also called 5-hydroxytryptamine or 5-HT) is a neurotransmitter that controls mood and cognition, as

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Why Do Only Some Gastric Tumors Respond to Therapy?

Tumors from patients with gastric cancer can be divided into subgroups, based on their gene expression pattern. This information can be used to select the best treatment, according to Patrick Tan and colleagues in the August issue of Gastroenterology. Gastric tumors have large, inter-individual differences in aggressiveness, histopathology features, and

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An Immune Culprit in IBD?

Patients with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis have reduced levels of an important regulator of the immune response—the receptor for granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF)—according to a study by Jonathan Goldstein et al. in the July issue of Gastroenterology. The inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease arise from

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Constipation Relief

The drug bisacodyl is effective against chronic constipation and improves patients’ quality of life, according to a large study published by Michael Kamm et al. in the July issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Constipation affects 12% to 19% of Americans; its prevalence increases with age and it affects women

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Does Mucosal Healing Determine Which Patients Will Recover From Ulcerative Colitis?

Lack of mucosal healing, based on endoscopic analysis, identifies patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) who are not likely to respond to corticosteroid therapy, according to Sandro Ardizzone et al. in the June issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. In a prospective study, Ardizzone et al. followed 157 patients with moderate

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Relief from Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) had significant improvements in bowel habits and reductions in abdominal pain after taking a new drug called linaclotide, reports a study published in the December issue of Gastroenterology. Jeffrey M. Johnston et al. performed a placebo-controlled phase 2 trial of 4 different doses of

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