Author Interviews, Colon Cancer, Cost of Health Care, Gastrointestinal Disease, Vanderbilt / 06.07.2016 Interview with: Erica R. H. Sutton, MD Assistant Professor Department of Surgery, General Vanderbilt What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable diseases that we face; however, despite the great strides that we have made in the realm of early detection, many people still do not undergo screenings. We sought to increase the availability of screenings to those in our community who are at high risk for colorectal cancer and uninsured by providing free colonoscopies to them and to examine the cost-effectiveness of this intervention. Over a 12-month period, 682 uninsured people underwent screening colonoscopies, and 9 cancers were detected. Compared to the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registry, our patient population included more early-stage cancers, and our program was found to be cost-neutral. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, Sexual Health / 21.06.2016 Interview with: Professor Phil Reed Department of Psychology Swansea University Swansea,U.K What is the background for this study? How common is the problem of incontinence in women? Dr. Reed: Incontinence is an enormous and under-discussed issue for women’s health – it affects around 25% of adult females, and this can rise to 50-60% after childbirth or in those over 60 years old. This condition is affected by many other factors – such as smoking and obesity – and it can be very common for individuals who are living in poor economic circumstances. Many women with continence problems also show signs of depression and anxiety – perhaps not surprisingly – and these factors can reduce their motivation to engage with physiotherapy treatment for incontinence. This is a great pity, because physiotherapy is a very effective treatment for this problem, and it can be safer (and cheaper) than surgery. So finding ways to support women as they undertake physiotherapy is really important for them and to publically health services. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, Immunotherapy / 07.06.2016 Interview with: William J. Sandborn, MD Professor of Medicine and Adjunct Professor of Surgery Chief, Division of Gastroenterology Director, UCSD IBD Center University of California San Diego and UC San Diego Health System What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Sandborn: The Phase 3 IM-UNITI study investigated the efficacy and safety of Stelara (ustekinumab) in the treatment of moderate to severe Crohn’s disease as an every 8 or 12 week maintenance therapy. The study showed a significant proportion of adults with moderate to severe Crohn’s disease who received Stelara maintenance treatment achieved clinical remission. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, Gluten, Microbiome / 02.06.2016 Interview with: Ettje Tigchelaar MSc PhD student from department of Genetics University of Groningen, Groningen What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: A gluten-free diet is used by celiac disease patients to alleviate their symptoms. Previous research in these patients has shown differences in gut microbiota composition when on habitual gluten containing diet (HD) compared to a gluten-free diet (GFD). Recently more and more individuals without celiac disease also started to adopt a gluten-free diet to improve their health and/or control weight. We studied changes in gut microbiota composition in these healthy individuals on a gluten-free diet. We observed changes in the abundance of specific bacteria, for example the abundance of the bacterium family Veillonellaceae was much lower on a gluten-free diet versus HD, whereas it was higher for the family Clostridiaceae. We also looked at the function of the bacteria in the gut and found that many of those bacteria that changed because of the gluten-free diet played a role in metabolism of starch. This makes sense since starch is like gluten highly present in wheat containing products, thus when eliminating gluten from the diet, the intake of starch also changes and the gut bacteria processing this dietary starch change accordingly. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, Infections, Microbiome / 28.05.2016 Interview with: Jennifer Mahony, PhD and  Prof Douwe Van Sinderen Dept of Microbiology University College Cork Cork, Ireland Editor's note: Dr Jennifer Mahony & Prof Douwe van Sinderen, of the APC (Alimentary Pharmbiotic Center) Microbiome Institute, University College Cork, Ireland, have received a Grand Challenges Explorations Grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to study the microbiota (bacteria and viruses) of infants in developing countries. This study seeks to improve the gut health of infants which could potentially prevent/reduce the estimated 0.8 million infants who die annually in developing countries. Dr. Mahony & Prof. van Sinderen answered several questions about the upcoming study for the audience. What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by a microbiome? Response: The World Health Organisation promotes exclusive breast-feeding in infants until they are at least 6 months old. Early weaning in developing countries where sanitary conditions may be poor may lead to the introduction of microorganisms such as Shigella, which can cause intestinal infections and in extreme cases may be fatal. 0.8 million infant deaths in developing countries could be avoided annually according to UNICEF if exclusive breast-feeding is continued to the sixth month of life. Our intestinal tracts naturally contain many bacteria, called our microbiota, and the composition of this microbiota may have implications for our health and well-being. Just in the same way that drinking a probiotic drink every day is reported to promote a healthy gut microbiota, we will investigate how bacterial viruses (that specifically infect bacteria and not humans!) can change the gut bacterial population. (more…)
Author Interviews, Colon Cancer, Gastrointestinal Disease, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 26.05.2016 Interview with: Robert Wong, M.D., M.S. Attending Physician, Gastroenterology & Hepatology Director, GI Education & Research Highland Hospital I A member of Alameda Health System Oakland, CA What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Wong:  Colorectal cancer is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. Early diagnosis through implementation of effective screening and surveillance programs leads to earlier staged tumor at time of diagnosis, which increases the treatment opportunities and improves overall survival. However, disparities in access to effective screening and surveillance can impair timely diagnosis and lead to advanced disease, limited treatment options and poor outcomes. The current study evaluated race/ethnicity-specific disparities in colorectal cancer epidemiology at a large urban safety net hospital and observed African American patients had significantly more advanced cancer stage at the time of diagnosis. Our study observed that African Americans were over 5 times more likely to have advanced stage 3-4 colon cancer at time of diagnosis compared with non-Hispanic white patients with colon cancer. While these findings are likely multifactorial, it sheds important light on race/ethnicity-specific disparities in colorectal cancer epidemiology and helps target future education and research to improve outcomes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease / 25.05.2016 Interview with: Dr. Prateek Sharma MD Professor, Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Motility Kansas University Medical Center What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Sharma: Reflux symptoms are a risk factor for Barrett's esophagus and approximately 10-15% of patients with reflux are diagnosed with Barrett's esophagus. Barrett's esophagus is a risk factor for esophageal adenocarcinoma. We evaluated the trends in the prevalence of be in patients with reflux disease over years and found that the prevalence of be was decreasing. (more…)
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Cancer Research, Gastrointestinal Disease / 24.05.2016 Interview with: Aaron Peter Thrift, Ph.D Assistant Professor Duncan Cancer Center Department of Medicine, Gastroenterology Section Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX, US What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Dr. Thrift: Patients with Barrett’s esophagus are at significantly higher risk of developing esophageal adenocarcinoma. Due to the continued rise in incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma attention has turned to chemoprevention as a method to delay or halt the progression of Barrett’s esophagus to neoplasia, including invasive cancer. Acid suppressive medications, such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and histamine-2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs), are commonly used in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), the primary risk factor for Barrett’s esophagus. We contacted a nested case-control study involving 311 patients with Barrett’s esophagus who developed esophageal adenocarcinoma (cases) and 856 matched controls (patients with Barrett’s esophagus but who did not develop esophageal adenocarcinoma). Compared to never users, we found that Barrett’s esophagus patients taking PPIs and H2RAs had 69% and 45% lower risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma, respectively. The associations were independent of other risk factors for progression, including concomitant use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and statins. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, Infections, Technology / 18.05.2016 Interview with: Sushanta K. Mitra, PhD, PEng Associate Vice-President Research Kaneff Professor in Micro & Nanotechnology for Social Innovation FCSME, FASME, FEIC, FRSC, FCAE, FAAAS Y York University Toronto What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Mitra: As a mechanical engineer I got interested in the water problem when I had discussions with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India and the tertiary public health centre doctors near Mumbai, where the doctors had to deal with large number of patients with water-borne diseases. This was hugely a challenge from resource point of view as the doctors would much preferred to have their attention focused on more pressing diseases. They approached me about developing tools for rapid detection of water-borne pathogen in drinking water. Hence, my journey started on water quality monitoring. What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Mitra: Here, we have developed a low-cost compact E. coli and total coliform detection system, which uses commercially available plunger-tube assembly. We incorporate a hydrogel (porous matrix) inside the tube so that the plunger-tube assembly act as a concentrator and a detector at the same time. Specially formulated enzymatic substrates are caged inside the hydrogel so that an E. coli cell trapped within the hydrogel will be lysed and react with the  enzymatic substrates to produce a red color. (more…)
Antibiotic Resistance, Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, Infections / 16.05.2016 Interview with: Andreas J. Bäumler, Ph.D Editor, Infection and Immunity Associate Editor, PLOS Pathogens Section Editor, EcoSal Plus Professor, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology Vice Chair of Research University of California, Davis School of Medicine Davis, California What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Bäumler: Antibiotics are generally beneficial for treating bacterial infection, but paradoxically a history of antibiotic therapy is a risk factor for developing Salmonella food poisoning.  Our study reveals the mechanism by which antibiotics increase susceptibility to Salmonella infection. Antibiotics deplete beneficial microbes from the gut, which normally provide nutrition to the cells lining our large bowel, termed epithelial cells. Depletion of microbe-derived nutrients causes our epithelial cells to switch their energy metabolism from respiration to fermentation, which in turn increases the availability of oxygen at the epithelial surface. The resulting increase in oxygen diffusion into the gut lumen drives a luminal expansion of Salmonella by respiration. Through this mechanism, antibiotics help Salmonella to breath in the gut. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Gastrointestinal Disease, Hepatitis - Liver Disease / 16.05.2016 Interview with: Darius Lakdawalla PhD Quintiles Chair in Pharmaceutical Development and Regulatory Innovation School of Pharmacy Professor in the Sol Price School of Public Policy University of Southern California What is the background for this study? Dr. Lakdawalla: New treatments for hepatitis-C are highly effective but also involve high upfront costs.  Because they effectively cure the disease, all the costs of treatments are paid over a short period of time – about three months – but the benefits accrue for the rest of a patient’s life.  This creates problems for the private health insurance system, where patients switch insurers.  The insurer that pays the bill for the treatment might not be around to enjoy the benefits of averting liver damage, liver transplants, and other costly complications associated with hepatitis-C. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, Microbiome, Transplantation / 16.05.2016 Interview with: Dr. Sudarshan Paramsothy University of New South Wales Australia What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Paramsothy: This study was conducted as there is strong evidence that the gastrointestinal microbiota play a critical role in the underlying pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but treatments to date primarily are focused on controlling the associated immune response. Attempts at therapeutic microbial manipulation in ulcerative colitis (UC) to date (antibiotics, probiotics, prebiotics) have not been as impressive as one might expect. We felt intensive fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) may be more successful than these other methods, as it involves transplanting the entire gastrointestinal microbiota from a health individual, and thus more likely to correct any underlying microbial disturbance or dysbiosis in the recipient UC patient. Our study found that significantly more active ulcerative colitis patients treated with intensive FMT than placebo (27% vs 8%) achieved the trial primary composite endpoint of both
  • clinical remission induction (ie resolution of symptoms) and
  • endoscopic remission or response (ie either healing or significant improvement of the bowel lining)
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, Microbiome, Nature, Technology / 12.05.2016 Interview with: Prof. Dr. Paul Wilmes Associate Professor Head of the Eco-Systems Biology Research Group Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine University of Luxembourg Luxembourg What is the background for this intestinal model? Dr. Wilmes: Changes in the human gastrointestinal microbiome are associated with several diseases. To infer causality, experiments in representative models are essential. Widely used animal models exhibit limitations. Therefore, we set out to develop the HuMiX model which allows co-culture of human and microbial cells under conditions representative of the gastrointestinal interface. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Gastrointestinal Disease, Nature / 24.04.2016 Interview with: Zhimin (James) Lu, M. D., Ph. D Ruby E. Rutherford Distinguished Professor Department of Neuro-Oncology MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TX 77030 What is the background for this study? Dr. Lu: Among primary liver cancers, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common histological subtype, accounting for 70-85% of all cases. HCC incidence is increasing in many parts of the world, including developing countries and developed countries such as the United States. HCC has a very poor prognosis, and the overall 3-year survival rate for patients with HCC is approximately 5%. The potentially curative treatments of HCC are resection and liver transplantation. However, most patients with hepatocellular carcinoma present with advanced disease and underlying liver dysfunction and are not suitable candidates for these treatments. Thus, they generally have a poor prognosis, with a median survival time of less than 1 year. The increasing incidence and mortality rates of hepatocellular carcinoma, along with a lack of effective curative treatment options for advanced HCC, have rendered this disease a major health problem worldwide. Thus, a better understanding of HCC tumorigenesis and the development of better diagnostic and therapeutic approaches based on an understanding of the molecular mechanisms that drive hepatocellular carcinoma progression are greatly needed. The liver, as a major metabolic organ, catalyzes dietary sugar. Dietary sugar encompasses several carbohydrates, including starch, sucrose, and high-fructose corn syrup, each of which is composed of glucose with or without fructose. Starch, which is found in bread and rice, is a glucose polymer. Sucrose is a disaccharide made up of 50% glucose and 50% fructose. High-fructose corn syrup, a common constituent of soft drinks, is a mixture of approximately 40% glucose and 60% fructose. Dietary fructose is also derived from fruits and vegetables. A molecule of glucose has the same caloric value as a molecule of fructose. However, the human body treats these carbohydrates quite differently. Glucose is used directly by tissues such as the muscles and brain as an energy source. Excess glucose is stored in the liver as glycogen. In contrast, dietary fructose, which is epidemiologically linked with obesity and metabolic syndrome, is almost exclusively metabolized by the liver. Hepatocellular carcinoma cells enhance glucose uptake and lactate production regardless of the oxygen supply, a phenomenon known as the Warburg effect. However, whether fructose metabolism is differentially regulated in hepatocellular carcinoma and normal liver tissue and, if so, the extent to which this altered carbohydrate metabolism contributes to hepatocellular carcinoma development is unknown. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, Heart Disease, Pharmacology / 18.03.2016 Interview with: Giuseppe Gargiulo MD Research fellow in Cardiology Inselspital, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Gargiulo: Every year millions of people with coronary artery disease are treated worldwide with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Consequently, they receive a dual  (DAPT) in order to prevent thrombotic life-threatening complications, such as stent thrombosis. DAPT often consists of aspirin and clopidogrel, but some studies have questioned the efficacy of clopidogrel in case of concomitant therapy with proton-pump inhibitors (PPI) due to pharmacodynamic interactions. Indeed, clopidogrel is a pro-drug needing to be activated, and this could be potentially affected by PPI. This is a relevant topic given that many patients treated with DAPT commonly receive also a PPI to prevent gastrointestinal complications (ulceration and bleeding) or due to pre-existing gastric disease. Some studies demonstrated that the use of a PPI, mainly omeprazole, was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular adverse events, indeed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicine Agency (EMA) discouraged the concomitant use of omeprazole and clopidogrel. On the contrary, some other studies did not confirm this finding. We performed a detailed analysis of the impact of PPI therapy on the 2-year clinical outcomes of 1970 patients undergoing PCI with stent implantation enrolled in the PRODIGY trial (a randomized trial comparing 2 DAPT regimens: 6-month versus 24-month DAPT). In our study population, 738 patients (38%) were treated with a PPI (lansoprazole 90%) concomitantly to DAPT. We found that the ischemic and bleeding events at 2 years of follow-up were similar in patients treated with or without a PPI, irrespective of DAPT duration (6-month or 24-month). These findings support the concept that the concomitant use of PPI, when clinically indicated, in patients receiving clopidogrel is not associated with adverse clinical outcomes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, Lancet, Microbiome, Pediatrics / 09.03.2016 Interview with: Phillip I. Tarr, MD Melvin E. Carnahan MD Professor of Pediatrics Director, Pediatric Division of Gastroenterolgy and Nutrition Washington University in St Louis School of Medicine St Louis, MO 63110, USA What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Tarr: There is a longstanding belief that gut bacteria are relevant to the developing necrotising enterocolitis (NEC). We have established dysbiosis in the gut before NEC occurs, suggesting this ecological perturbation might be causal.

Author Interviews, Dermatology, Gastrointestinal Disease, Genetic Research / 01.02.2016 Interview with: Alexander Egeberg, MD PhD National Allergy Research Centre, Departments of Dermato-Allergology and Cardiology Herlev and Gentofte University Hospital University of Copenhagen Hellerup, Denmark Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Egeberg: A recent genome-wide association study (GWAS) identified 90 shared genetic regions associated with celiac disease, type 1 diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis, respectively. Similarly, a newly published GWAS identified shared risk loci between rosacea, type 1 diabetes, and celiac disease. In the present study of 6,759 patients with rosacea and 33,795 control subjects, rosacea was associated with a 2 to 3-fold higher risk of these four conditions, particularly among women. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Colon Cancer, Gastrointestinal Disease, Global Health / 31.01.2016 Interview with: Dr. Melina Arnold Section of Cancer Surveillance International Agency for Research on Cancer Lyon, France What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Dr. Arnold: In this study, we looked at patterns and time trends in the incidence in and mortality from colorectal cancer on the global scale. In the analyses, we used data from the Globocan database, Cancer Incidence in Five Continents, both hosted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), and the World Health Organisation mortality database. We documented a ten-fold variation in colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates worldwide. We also found distinct gradients across human development levels, meaning that changes in patterns and trends of this cancer could be linked to economic development and that the adoption of a Western lifestyle may have a role. While incidence and mortality rates are on the increase in many countries in socioeconomic transition, stabilizing or decreasing trends are seen in highly-developed countries where rates remain among the highest in the world. These observations point to widening disparities and an increasing burden in transitioning countries. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, Pain Research / 15.01.2016

More on Gastroenterology on Interview with: Prof. Guy Boeckxstaens Translational Research in GastroIntestinal Disorders KU Leuven, Belgium Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Prof. Boeckxstaens: Patients with IBS have increased abdominal pain for which no efficient therapy is available, mainly as the underlying cause is unclear. In our study, we checked the hypothesis that pain receptors (in particular TRPV1) in the gut wall of IBS patients are more sensitive (sensitized) than those of control subjects. Based on previous work, we focused on histamine, mainly as we had indications that mast cells releasing histamine may be involved in IBS. Interestingly, we noticed that neurons in rectal biopsies were indeed more sensitive to capsaicin, a substance of which we know it selectively acts on the pain receptors of interest. We could demonstrate that histamine sensitizes TRPV1 via interaction with its histamine 1 receptor (H1R). We next showed that treatment with a H1R blocker was able to prevent TRPV1 sensitization. Based on this observation, we decided to start a pilot study evaluating the effect of a H1R blocker, ebastine, in patients suffering from IBS. This study showed that 12 weeks treatment with ebastine indeed improved abdominal symptoms, in particular pain. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, JAMA, Stem Cells / 16.12.2015 Interview with: Dr. Chris J. Hawkey, DM, FRCP, FMedSci. University of Nottingham and Nottingham University Hospital England Medical Research: What is the background for this study?  Dr. Hawkey: ASTIC (The Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation International Crohn's Disease) systematically investigated the effect of immunoablation and autologous haemopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) on objective signs of disease, symptoms and need for treatment and is the only controlled trial to have done so. The body’s immune system normally protects us from infections but in Crohn’s disease it turns on itself.  The treatment involves wiping out the body’s immune system (immunoablation) and replacing it with the patient’s own (autologous haemopoietic stem cell transplantation) innocent stem cells, a sort of immunological spring clean. Patients were randomly assigned to undergo transplantation (n=23) or just continue on best conventional treatment (n=22). ASTIC was stimulated by reports which suggested that long-term regression of disease amounting to potential cure could be achieved. But the treatment is hazardous with major potentially lethal risks, so recruitment to the trial was cautious and only the most resistant cases were studied. And we used the most stringent criteria ever developed for the trial’s primary endpoint. Medical Research: What are the main findings?  Dr. Hawkey: In fact the criteria we used for success were so stringent (no symptoms, no signs of disease on total bowel examination and no need for treatment) that few patients achieved them. Nevertheless, there were improvements in the individual measures underlying this composite endpoint. Objective signs of disease disappeared so that the gut looked normal from mouth to anus in about a quarter of actively treated patients vs no controls. Eight vs two patients were adjudicated free of active disease on endoscopy and radiology at final assessment (p=0.054). Patients were able to come off drug treatments: by the end of a year 61% of HSCT patients off immunosuppressive drugs for >3 months vs 23% of controls (p=0.012). Ten vs two patients had lost symptoms of active disease, eight vs two for of them for > 3 months (p=0.052). But treatment was challenging: there were 76 serious adverse events in HSCT patients (particularly infections) vs 38 in controls. One HSCT patient died. (more…)
Allergies, Author Interviews, BMJ, Gastrointestinal Disease / 16.12.2015 Interview with: Meri K Tulic PhD Université de Nice Sophia-Antipolis Immune Tolerance Nice, France The International Inflammation 'in-FLAME' Network Worldwide Universities Network  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Tulic: We know that damaged epithelial gut barrier is a hallmark of gut inflammatory diseases including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It has been long known that respiratory allergens such as house-dust mites (HDM) are the main causes of epithelial destruction in the lungs and initiation of allergic airway disease such as asthma. We set out to test whether  house-dust mites may also be present in the human gut and may contribute to intestinal barrier dysfunction. In this paper, we have shown that  house-dust mites is found in the gastrointestinal system of ~50% of all healthy subjects tested and it has detrimental effect on gut barrier function. The mechanisms include its direct destruction of tight-junction proteins which normally hold adjoining epithelial cells together, resulting in increased gut permeability. This process is driven by cysteine-proteases contained within the mite. In healthy individuals this effect is likely to be regulated by increased production of regulatory IL-10 (an anti-inflammatory mediator); our preliminary data indicate that a defect in regulatory responses may exist in IBS patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Colon Cancer, Gastrointestinal Disease / 13.12.2015 Interview with: Dr Franco Radaelli Division of Digestive Endoscopy and Gastroenterology Valduce Hospital Como, Italy  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Radaelli: Split regimens of bowel preparation are strongly recommended by European and American Guidelines as they have been associated with a higher level of colon cleansing. However, there is still uncertainty on whether the higher level of cleansing associated with a split regimen also results in a higher proportion of subjects with at least one adenoma (adenoma detection rate, ADR), that represents by far a more relevant quality indicator than the level of cleansing itself. On this background, we designed a randomized investigator-blinded controlled trial to evaluate whether a “split regimen” of low-volume 2-L PEG-ascorbate solution was superior to the traditional “full dose, the day before regimen” in terms of ADR. Differently from other studies on bowel preparation, we considered adenoma detection rate  instead of the level of colon cleansing, the primary study end-point, and we designed the sample size accordingly. A precise estimation of the sample size was facilitated by including an homogeneous population of asymptomatic subjects undergoing first colonoscopy after positive-FIT within CRC organized screening program. Besides, ADR represents a very solid end-point due to the very low inter-pathology variability in the differential diagnosis between neoplastic and non-neoplastic lesions, while the assessment of the level of cleansing is hampered by unavoidable degree of subjectivity and higher degree of inter-operator variability. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Dermatology, Gastrointestinal Disease, Immunotherapy / 09.12.2015 Interview with: Isabelle Cleynen  PhD University of Leuven  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Cleynen : Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, together inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), are characterized by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Treatment for IBD usually involves drug therapy including anti-inflammatory drugs and immune system repressors, amongst which biologics as the anti-TNF antibodies used for patients with moderate to severe IBD. Although these TNF-blocking drugs are effective in many patients with immune-mediated disorders like psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and spondylarthropathies, and IBD, several case reports and series showed that some patients developed troubling skin problems (including psoriasis and eczema), causing them to stop the anti-TNF treatment. It is however not clear how often these skin problems develop in IBD patients treated with anti-TNF, and what could be the predisposing factors. In a retrospective cohort of 917 IBD patients initiated on anti-TNF therapy in a single center, we have studied which patients did and did not develop skin problems, what type of skin problems, how they were treated, and whether the lesions resolved upon treatment. We found that about one third of the patients developed skin problems while being treated with anti-TNF drugs. The most common type was psoriasiform eczema, often occurring in flexural regions, the scalp, and genitalia. The time between starting the TNF-blocking drug and the appearance of the skin problem varied from less than half a year to more than 4 years. Quite surprisingly, we found that the cumulative dose of the treatment, or drug serum levels were not different in skin and non-skin lesion patients. Skin lesion patients however seemed to be younger when diagnosed with IBD and when started on anti-TNF agents, more often had anti-nuclear and dsDNA antibodies (both auto-immune factors), and a higher number of skin-disease related genetic risk variants. Most patients had a good response to treatment of their skin problem. About 10% of the patients who developed skin problems, however, stopped the TNF-blocking treatment because of this issue. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, Microbiome / 11.11.2015 Interview with: Shannon D. Manning, Ph.D., M.P.H. Dept. of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Michigan State University E. Lansing, MI 48824 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Manning: Diarrheal disease is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in children under the age of five and is commonly caused by many different bacterial pathogens. We have observed that infection with four different bacterial pathogens (Salmonella, Shigella, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, and Campylobacter) all induce the proliferation of a population of microbes, namely Escherichia, which are already present in the gut of healthy individuals. (more…)
Author Interviews, C. difficile, Gastrointestinal Disease, Transplantation / 22.10.2015 Interview with: Monika Fischer, MD, MSCR Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Indiana University Indianapolis, IN 46202  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Fischer: Cumulative evidence based upon case series and randomized trials suggest high success rate with 10-20 % failing a single FMT (fecal microbiota transplant). Predictors of failures are not known. In a collaborative study between Indiana and Brown Universities we aimed to identify clinical predictors of FMT failure. Results were the following:
  • N= 345 patients
    • Brown: N=166
    • IU: N=179
  • Average age: 62 years
  • Females: 72%
  • IBD: 18%
  • Immunosuppression: 24%
  • Indication for FMT
    • Recurrent CDI: 74%
    • Refractory CDI: 26%
    • Severe/complicated CDI: 13%
  • Inpatient FMT: 17%
  • Patient directed donor: 40%
Overall failure rate was 23.7%. Broken down by fecal microbiota transplant indication, while only 18% of patients failed and  needed further therapy in the non-severe category, 1 in 2 (50%) severe C. difficile infection (CDI) patients failed a single fecal microbiota transplant and needed further therapy for cure. (more…)
Author Interviews, Colon Cancer, Gastrointestinal Disease, Primary Care / 22.10.2015

Elizabeth Broussard, MD Clinical Assistant Professor Division of Gastroenterology Harborview Medical Center Seattle, WA Interview with: Elizabeth Broussard, MD Clinical Assistant Professor Division of Gastroenterology Harborview Medical Center Seattle, WA 98105 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Broussard: I am a clinical assistant professor of gastroenterology and I practice and teach fellows and residents GI at a safety-net hospital in Seattle and I was seeing too many late stage colorectal cancer (CRC) in our patient population. CRC is preventable with screening, and I wanted to see how the primary care clinics were performing in getting patients screened. When I looked at the baseline percentages, I realized this was an opportunity for improvement. I teamed up with an internal medicine resident Kara Walter, and we did a deep dive into the process of screening. The results of the poster presentation are a product of this teamwork, with cooperation and input from the directors of the six primary care clinics at our hospital. The main findings are that performing the FIT test is complicated and tricky for some patients, that this process can be streamlined with providing a toilet hat, a prepaid postage envelope, and improved and visual instructions. After one year, we saw statistically significant increases in overall screening with FIT in our patient population. (more…)
Author Interviews, C. difficile, Gastrointestinal Disease, Mayo Clinic, Microbiome, Transplantation / 22.10.2015 Interview with: Dr. Sahil Khanna MBBS Assistant Professor of Medicine Mayo Clinic Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: C. difficile infection patients are at a high risk of complications such as treatment failure. Gut microbiota signatures associated with CDI have been described but it is unclear if differences in gut microbiota play a role in response to therapy. No studies have identified predictors of treatment failure and we aimed to identified gut microbiota signatures to predict response to treatment for primary C. difficile . While there were no clinical predictors of treatment response, there were increases in certain genera in patients with successful treatment response in the fecal samples at initial diagnosis compared to non-responders. A risk index built from this panel of microbes highly differentiated between patients based on response and ROC curve analysis showed that this risk index was a strong predictor of treatment response, with a high area under the curve of 0.83.. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Gastrointestinal Disease / 22.10.2015 Interview with: Kyle Staller, MD, MPH Massachusetts General Hospital Harvard Medical School Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Staller: Constipation is exceedingly common and exerts a considerable economic effect.  Although many clinicians assume that the severity of constipation symptoms is the primary driver of obligation absenteeism, our data from over 100 patients undergoing physiologic evaluation for chronic constipation demonstrates that comorbid depression was a bigger predictor or work and school absenteeism than symptom severity and quality of life. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Gastrointestinal Disease, Weight Research / 22.10.2015

[wysija_form id="5"]Salman Nusrat M.D. Assistant Professor, Section of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Interview with: Salman Nusrat M.D. Assistant Professor, Section of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Nusrat: Obesity is a global epidemic and is one of the most taxing issues affecting healthcare in the United States. It is a well-established risk factor for increased morbidity and mortality. We looked at how morbid obesity (BMI>40) affected inpatient health care utilization over the last two decades. We found that:
  • From 1997 to 2012, the number of patients discharged with a diagnosis of morbid obesity increased 11 folds from 10,883 to 124,650
  • The majority of these patients were female (~80%) and aged between 18-44 years.
  • Southern States accounted for majority of these admissions (37%). Majority of these patients were insured (~90%) and about three quarters of these admissions were in area with mean income above the 25 percentile.
  • The number of hospitalizations for patients aged >45 years increased from 33% to 50%.
  • -Even though the length of stay decreased from 5 days (1997) to 2.1 days (2012), the aggregate charges increased from $198 Million (1997) to $5.9 Billion (2012).