Study shows some IBD patients may have higher opioid use | Breast milk protein may curb odds of necrotizing enterocolitis | Dopamine activity may explain stronger food response in obese
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September 12, 2014
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Digestive Health SmartBrief
From Stanley K. Fergus and the American College of Gastroenterology

Top Story
Study shows some IBD patients may have higher opioid use
Researchers who analyzed data on 4,217 patients with inflammatory bowel disease found that, within 10 years of being diagnosed, 5% became heavy opioid users. The study in The American Journal of Gastroenterology found IBD patients were almost four times as likely as a control group to use high levels of opioid medications and heavy use was a predictor of mortality not linked to a malignancy. (9/9)
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Guide to Healthy Living
Breast milk protein may curb odds of necrotizing enterocolitis
Researchers at Children's Hospital Los Angeles analyzed samples of human breast milk and infant intestinal tissue, along with a series of animal studies, and found that the protein neuregulin-4 in breast milk could protect babies from developing necrotizing enterocolitis. HealthDay News (9/9)
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Dopamine activity may explain stronger food response in obese
A small study revealed obese participants had higher dopamine activity in the brain region that controls habit and lower activity in the area tied to reward, compared with their slimmer counterparts. The findings may explain why environmental cues such as cooking smells and food advertisements have a greater impact on heavier people, researchers noted. The Daily Mail (London) (9/9)
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Sedentary childhood habits may persist in middle age
Researchers at the University College London found nearly 83% of middle-aged participants with daily screen time of more than three hours reported having the same TV habits when they were 10 years old. This group also was more likely to report fair or poor health, study authors reported. Reuters (9/5)
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CDC: Most U.S. youths consume too much sodium
More than 90% of 6- to 18-year-olds consume an average of 3,300 milligrams of sodium each day, exceeding the recommended daily salt intake of less than 2,300 mg, according to a CDC report. One in six 8- to 17-year-olds have elevated blood pressure levels, but healthy diets with less sodium intake can lower this rate, researchers said. Reuters (9/9), (9/9)
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Diagnosis & Treatment
Prediabetes tied to higher risk of colorectal, other cancers
A meta-analysis found a link between prediabetes and higher odds of developing stomach, colorectal and other types of cancer. "Lifestyle intervention (weight control, stop smoking and healthy diet, etc.) should be suggested earlier and recommended as the mainstay of treatment for prediabetes in the general population," said researcher Dr. Yuli Huang. Healio (free registration)/Endocrine Today (9/8)
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U.S. data show decrease in hepatitis E seroprevalence
U.S. data showed seroprevalence for hepatitis E infection was 21% from 1988 to 1994 but dropped to 6% from 2009 to 2010. About 0.5% of HEV cases were linked to a recent exposure, and increasing age was a predictive factor, the study found. Healio (free registration) (9/9)
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Policy Watch
HHS secretary aims to improve exchange, enrollment
HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell encouraged lawmakers to focus on points of agreement regarding the nation's health care system and move beyond the partisan disagreement that has surrounded the Affordable Care Act. Burwell said she wants to improve the federally run insurance exchange and announced that HHS will award $60 million in grants to organizations that will help enroll Americans in health insurance plans. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (9/9)
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Expansion of drug take-back program coming next month, DEA announces
An expansion of the Drug Enforcement Administration's prescription drug take-back program, expected to take effect Oct. 9, would allow pharmacies and hospitals to accept returns of unused medications, including opioid therapies. The new policy, announced by Attorney General Eric Holder, is part of an effort to stem the growth of prescription drug abuse. USA Today (9/8), The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (9/9)
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Medicare expenditures per patient are down
Medicare spending is expected to work out to $11,200 per person this year, down from $12,000 per enrollee three years ago. By 2017, the Congressional Budget Office predicts per capita spending will be less than $11,000. Other than a brief period during the 1990s, growth in per-capita Medicare expenditures has always outpaced the overall economic growth. The New York Times (tiered subscription model)/The Upshot blog (9/4)
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Patient's Perspective
Living with the ups and downs of chronic illness
"Chronic illness is always going to have [its] ups and downs and you never know how long the ups last or the downs will last but what I know from experience now is that the good times always seem to come back around and that makes the more difficult times a lot easier to deal with. I spent the first three months of this year in the hospital and would have never imagined doing all the great things I have been lucky enough to do lately. Some days it seems like it will never end or it will never get better and without even realizing it, it just does." -- blog post from Sara on
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The Last Word
News and information from the American College of Gastroenterology
Gallstone disease: Are you at risk?
Gallstones are one of the most common gastrointestinal problems, especially for women. Women between the ages of 20 and 60 years are three times more likely to develop gallstones than men. Learn more about the symptoms and risk factors for developing gallstone disease.
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I must govern the clock -- not be governed by it."
-- Golda Meir,
former Israeli prime minister
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Contact Your Doctor
Stanley K. Fergus
Gastroenterolgy Associates of West Tennessee
1400 Kings Boulevard
Memphis, TN 38105

Phone: (901) 555-1234
Contact ACG
American College of Gastroenterology
P.O. Box 342260
Bethesda, MD 20827-2260
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The information contained in Digestive Health SmartBrief is not intended to be medical advice. Consult your physician before making any decisions regarding your health care.
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