Author Interviews, Colon Cancer, Gastrointestinal Disease, Technology / 14.10.2018 Interview with: Nadim Mahmud, MD, MS, MPH Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Colonoscopy is an effective screening technique for colorectal cancer (CRC) prevention, but many patients either do not show up or have poor bowel preparation for the procedure. There are many contributors to this issue, including challenges with colonoscopy bowel preparations and communication barriers between healthcare systems and their patients. To address this, we performed a pilot of 21 patients using automated text messages sent over the course of one week prior to scheduled colonoscopy. These messages included instructional, educational, and reminder messages regarding aspects of the colonoscopy preparation process. We found significantly improved colonoscopy adherence among patients who received the text message program as compared to routine care controls (90% versus 62%). Furthermore, patient satisfaction and likelihood to recommend the text messaging program was high. Similar texting programs are simple to create and manage, and should be considered to improve outpatient colonoscopy adherence.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Colon Cancer, Gastrointestinal Disease, Technology / 11.10.2018 Interview with: Nathaniel Ernstoff, MD University of Miami What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Despite the best efforts of all healthcare providers, colon cancer screening is underutilized with screening rates ranging anywhere from 58-76% based on the state (American Cancer Society 2017). At best we are still failing to screen 25% of the population.  Patients have serious concerns about colorectal cancer (CRC) screening with the most common barriers to screening being fear of colonoscopy and of the bowel preparation, amongst others. These barriers coupled with the lack of understanding of the risks, benefits, and the efficacy of screening contribute to our inadequate screening. This study aims to prove that through education, and most importantly comprehension, patients will choose one of the 6 recommended colorectal cancer screening tests that best fits their preferences. In this study we had 24 patients who previously refused colonoscopy on 3 separate occasions, and had no other CRC screening, undergo a virtual reality (VR) demonstration, created by TheBodyVR, to see if education would improve the uptake of screening. Prior to the virtual reality demonstration, the patients completed a 5-item questionnaire which evaluated their baseline knowledge of CRC risk, polyps and screening as well as determining barriers to prior screening. The patient then viewed the VR demonstration which starts with an overview of colorectal cancer, followed by a tour through a virtual colon explaining and showing the viewer polyps and cancer. Finally, the demonstration reviews and compares the strengths and weaknesses of all USPSTF-recommended CRC screening tests.  After the study, the patients complete the same questionnaire, and in this study there was a statistically significant improvement in knowledge in all questions.  Ultimately, 23 of 24 patients who previously refused colorectal cancer screening on 3 separate occasions chose to undergo screening after the VR demonstration, and about 50% have performed the screening 60 days out from the study's completion. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Colon Cancer, Genetic Research, University Texas / 10.10.2018 Interview with: Mohammad Bilal, MD University of Texas Medical Branch What is the background for this study? Response: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer among adults in the United States and the second leading cause of cancer related deaths. Recent studies have shown an increasing incidence of CRC in younger patients. This has led to increasing interests in identifying patient populations who might be at increased risk of developing CRC. The U.S. Multi-Society Task Force of Colorectal Cancer (MSTF) recommends that CRC screening should begin at age 50 in average-risk persons. However, recently the American Cancer Society (ACS) have published recommendations to begin CRC screening at age 45 years in average risk patient population. These recommendations were primarily based of modeling studies since there is little outcomes data in younger age groups in regards to prevention and detection of CRC. Despite these new recommendations from the ACS, there is limited direct evidence to support CRC screening at a younger age. In our study, we have evaluated the predictors of increased prevalence of adenomas in the 40 to 49-year-old individuals undergoing colonoscopy.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Gastrointestinal Disease / 10.10.2018 Interview with: Tarek Alansari, MD Metropolitan HospitalTarek Alansari, MD Metropolitan Hospital What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Cannabis is the most frequently consumed recreational drug in the world. The use of cannabis is becoming increasingly accepted by the general public in the United States. The estimates of the prevalence of cannabis use in the United States is about 9.5% in the adult population and the prevalence of dependence or abuse approaches 2.9%. Those under the age of 35 years are the most frequent consumers. According to Business Insider as of June 2018, recreational cannabis is legal in 9 states and medical cannabis is legal in 30 states. Recent surveys show that about 35 million Americans are frequent cannabis users. Aiming for symptomatic relief, some patients with different gastrointestinal disorders have turned to cannabis without fully understanding the effect of its use for their individual condition. Biliary tract disease, ethanol abuse, infections, autoimmunity, and genetics are well known causes of acute pancreatitis. However, medication-induced pancreatitis remains a less common etiology. In about 20% of cases of acute pancreatitis despite of the great improvement in genetic testing and imaging modalities, the workup still fails to reveal an etiology. These cases are labeled idiopathic. Cannabis use is emerging as a rare, possibly overlooked cause of acute pancreatitis with few cases reported in the literature. In the United States, only 5 cases of cannabis - induced acute pancreatitis (AP) have been reported till September 2017. The review of literature revealed that only 26 cases of cannabis-induced AP have been reported worldwide. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, NYU, Surgical Research, Weight Research / 10.10.2018 Interview with: Violeta Popov, MD PhD FACG Assistant Professor of Medicine Director of Bariatric Endoscopy, NY VA Harbor Healthcare(Manhattan) Division of Gastroenterology NYU Langone Medical Center What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Bariatric surgery is the most effective method currently available for durable weight loss. In the first few months after surgery, patients typically experience significant weight loss. Rapid weight reduction though can lead to the development of gallstones and biliary disease, described in up to 40% of post-bariatric patients. To avoid these complications, the gallbladder was removed during open bariatric procedures in the past. However, with the advent of laparoscopic surgery, concomitant cholecystectomy with bariatric surgery is no longer performed for many reasons.  The aim of is study is to assess if biliary diseases such as acute pancreatitis, acute cholecystitis, acute cholangitis, and cholecystectomy have increased with this change in practice. This is a retrospective cohort analysis of the National Inpatient Sample (NIS), the largest publicly available inpatient database in the United States of nonfederal institutions, with approximately 1000 hospitals participating and information on over 7 million inpatient admissions. We found that from 2006 to 2014 there has been an approximately 10-fold increase in hospital admissions for biliary diseases, as well as similar increase in cholecystectomies, in patients who have a history of bariatric surgery. There was no significant change in admissions in patients without bariatric surgery between 2006 and 2014 admitted for the same biliary diseases.  (more…)