Corticosteroids may increase infection risk in elderly IBD patients | Nutritionist notes downsides to gluten-free diet | Heavier patients show accelerated liver aging in study
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October 17, 2014
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Digestive Health SmartBrief
From Stanley K. Fergus and the American College of Gastroenterology

Top Story
Corticosteroids may increase infection risk in elderly IBD patients
Elderly Canadians with inflammatory bowel disease who had taken oral corticosteroids in the six months prior to study participation had a higher risk of serious infection, compared with a control group that did not use the drugs. "A careful risk/benefit evaluation of corticosteroid use in elderly-onset IBD patients is warranted to fully inform clinical decision making," researchers wrote in The American Journal of Gastroenterology. Bronchopneumonia or pneumonia, intestinal infection, Clostridium difficile, and fistulization and abscess formations were the most common infections. Healio (free registration)/Gastroenterology (10/9)
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Guide to Healthy Living
Nutritionist notes downsides to gluten-free diet
One problem with a gluten-free diet is that not all foods making the claim really are free of gluten, according to registered dietitian Tamara Duker Freuman, who specializes in digestive disorders. She said the diet is often credited with health benefits it may not have, and gluten-free foods can contain additives, such as xanthan gum, guar gum and gum arabic, that improve texture but can lead to gas and bloating. U.S. News & World Report/Eat + Run blog (10/14)
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Heavier patients show accelerated liver aging in study
A study from the University of California, Los Angeles, found heavier people exhibited increased aging of the liver compared with their leaner counterparts, showing a 3.3-year increase for every 10 BMI units. Researchers said the findings may explain why excess weight is linked to conditions such as liver cancer and insulin resistance. HealthDay News (10/13)
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Being overweight linked to early death in both blacks and whites
A study by the American Cancer Society revealed the risk of early death associated with excess weight was similar in both black and white patients. Researchers collected data on more than 1 million people, and said the BMI link held true even among patients who did not smoke or have a major disease. (10/15)
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Diagnosis & Treatment
Case study: Fecal transplant eliminates carbapenem-resistant colonization
Fecal microbiota transplantation was effective against carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae and might also be useful against other multidrug-resistant pathogens, including vancomycin-resistant enterococcus, according to a case study presented at the IDWeek conference. Two weeks after treatment, K. pneumoniae was not detectable in stool samples. MedPage Today (free registration) (10/13)
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IBD patients at higher risk after heart attack, study says
Inflammatory bowel disease patients who have a first heart attack are at increased risk of short-term mortality and adverse cardiovascular events, researchers from Copenhagen University Hospital said. The study found patients were at particularly high risk during times of IBD flare-ups. Healio (free registration)/Gastroenterology (10/14)
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Policy Watch
State Medicaid programs restrict use of new hep C drugs
State Medicaid programs struggle to deal with expensive new hepatitis C medications, and the FDA's approval of combination ledipasvir/sofosbuvir likely will increase a trend toward prescribing limitations or prior approval, experts said. Some states have "once in a lifetime" policies for HCV drug sofosbuvir, while Alaska requires patients to abstain from drugs and alcohol to use it and West Virginia allows only board-certified gastroenterologists and other specialists to prescribe it. Forbes (10/10)
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U.S., Texas bills could increase access to experimental drugs
Terminally ill patients could have greater access to experimental drugs under proposed federal and state compassionate use laws. U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, has said he will introduce the Andrea Sloan Compassionate Use Reform and Enhancement bill to expand compassionate use programs and help patients find clinical studies. Texas state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, said he will help write a Right to Try bill that would eliminate the FDA from the process of approving compassionate use. KXAN-TV (Austin, Texas) (10/10)
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Changes await consumers shopping for insurance on
The federal Affordable Care Act health insurance exchange has received a makeover in preparation for the 2015 open enrollment season. Most shoppers will have only 16 screens to go through, compared with 76 before the upgrade, and the site allows consumers to browse plans without creating a user account. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model)/The Associated Press (10/14)
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Patient's Perspective
Life goes on after ostomy
"I think about how thankful I am that I am not alone in this. That there are others out there who have dealt with some of the same things I have in the past, who live with some of the same struggles I do now, and who have found a new life living with an ostomy.  I feel like that's the real point of World Ostomy Day: to show others that an ostomy is not a death sentence." -- blog post from Stephanie on
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The Last Word
News and information from the American College of Gastroenterology
Don't let IBS ruin your day: Take control of your symptoms
Tired of the abdominal pain, diarrhea and constipation associated with IBS? IBS is a common digestive disorder affecting millions of Americans every day. Learn the facts about IBS and find out which treatment options are right for you.
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Sometimes you have to step outside of the person you've been, and remember the person you were meant to be, the person you wanted to be, the person you are."
-- H.G. Wells,
British author
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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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