Could Intestinal Microbes Reduce Insulin Resistance?

The intestinal microbiota can be manipulated to increase insulin sensitivity in people with metabolic syndrome, according to a study published in the October issue of Gastroenterology. The trillions of microorganisms that reside in the human intestine are important regulators of metabolism. Changes in their composition and metabolic function have been

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Treating Rumination and Supragastric Belching

Baclofen is an effective treatment for patients with rumination or supragastric belching/aerophagia, according to the April issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Rumination syndrome is characterized by the effortless, often repetitive regurgitation of recently ingested food into the mouth; it results from contraction of the abdominal muscles and a subsequent

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Can Patients With Crohn’s Disease Ever Stop Taking Infliximab?

Half of patients with Crohn’s disease treated with infliximab experience a relapse within the first year after they stop taking the drug, according to a study published in the January issue of Gastroenterology. Drugs such as infliximab inhibit the inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and are effective in reducing

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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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