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March 2013 Briefing - Gastroenterology

Last Updated: April 01, 2013.

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Gastroenterology for March 2013. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.

Sex, Age at Presentation Affect Cirrhosis Response to Therapy

FRIDAY, March 29 (HealthDay News) -- Among patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), sex and age at presentation affect the response to ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), according to a study published in the March issue of Gastroenterology.

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Metabolite-Based Test May Detect Early Pancreatic Cancer

FRIDAY, March 29 (HealthDay News) -- A test that measures four serum metabolites can accurately distinguish patients with pancreatic cancer from healthy people and patients with pancreatitis, according to a study published online March 29 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

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Gastric Bypass Leads to Gut Microbiota Changes in Mice

FRIDAY, March 29 (HealthDay News) -- Mice that undergo gastric bypass surgery have changes in their gut composition independent of weight loss, and transferring the gut microbiota to germ-free mice results in weight loss without sugery, according to a study published in the March 27 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

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Many Uninsured Vets Will Be Eligible for Medicaid Under ACA

FRIDAY, March 29 (HealthDay News) -- A large proportion of uninsured veterans and their spouses will be eligible for Medicaid or new subsidies for coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a report published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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Study: Primary Care Extension Program Should Be Funded

THURSDAY, March 28 (HealthDay News) -- The Primary Care Extension Program (PCEP) has the potential to transform primary care and needs to be funded, according to a study published in the March/April issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

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Using Internet Search Logs Can Help Identify Drug Interactions

THURSDAY, March 28 (HealthDay News) -- Search logs can be used to inexpensively mine for anonymized signals that may alert authorities to potential drug interactions and add new Web-scale pharmacovigilance capabilities, according to research published online March 6 in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

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H. pylori Status May Affect Recurrent Ulcer Bleeding

THURSDAY, March 28 (HealthDay News) -- Risk of recurrent ulcer bleeding is low in long-term low-dose aspirin (ASA) users with a history of ulcer bleeding and eradication of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), but high in ASA users with a history of ulcer bleeding and negative for H. pylori, according to research published in the March issue of Gastroenterology.

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Regional Variation Noted in Prevalence of Delayed Care

THURSDAY, March 28 (HealthDay News) -- There is considerable county-wide variation in the prevalence of delayed care, with high prevalence linked to a weaker health care infrastructure, according to a letter published in the March 28 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Trial Shows Miravirsen Decreases HCV RNA Levels

WEDNESDAY, March 27 (HealthDay News) -- Subcutaneous injections of miravirsen, an miRNA inhibitor, result in significant virologic responses in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, according to a study published online March 27 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Inpatient Deaths Fell by 8 Percent in Last Decade

WEDNESDAY, March 27 (HealthDay News) -- The number of inpatient hospital deaths declined by 8 percent over the last decade, although the total number of hospitalizations increased by 11 percent during the same period, according to a March data brief issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

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Submitting Peer-Review Reports Could Expedite Process

WEDNESDAY, March 27 (HealthDay News) -- Attaching previous peer-review reports during the next submission of the same paper to a different journal could optimize the peer-review process, according to research published in the March/April issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

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Risk of Prostate Cancer Quantified for Lynch Syndrome

TUESDAY, March 26 (HealthDay News) -- Lynch syndrome carriers have about a two-fold increased risk of prostate cancer, according to a study published online March 25 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Residency Reforms Reduced Duty Hours, Increased Sleep

TUESDAY, March 26 (HealthDay News) -- Additional residency reforms implemented in 2011 have reduced duty hours and increased sleep duration, but with perceived reductions in quality of patient care, according to research published online March 25 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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HCV Transmission Risk Is Low in Monogamous Couples

MONDAY, March 25 (HealthDay News) -- Monogamous heterosexual couples where one partner is infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) are at very low risk of transmitting the virus to the uninfected partner, according to a study in the March issue of Hepatology. A related study in the same journal found that the prevalence of HCV infection among newly incarcerated inmates is about 1 percent.

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Mobility Impaired May Have Difficulty Accessing Docs

FRIDAY, March 22 (HealthDay News) -- Many U.S. subspecialty practices cannot accommodate patients with mobility impairment, according to a study published in the March 19 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Better Long-Term Outcomes With Low Hep C Viral Load

FRIDAY, March 22 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), low HCV viral load predicts better long-term surgical outcomes, regardless of the serologic eradication of HCV, according to research published in the Feb. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Impact of Budget Sequestration on Health Care Discussed

THURSDAY, March 21 (HealthDay News) -- The impact of sequestration will have far-reaching consequences in health care, according to a perspective piece published online March 20 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Can Also Reduce Cancer Risk

THURSDAY, March 21 (HealthDay News) -- Subjects who are enrolled in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study and are meeting goals for six to seven ideal health metrics have a 51 percent lower risk of incident cancer than those not meeting any goals for ideal health metrics, according to research published online March 18 in Circulation.

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Effect of Immigration Status on Medicaid Eligibility Discussed

WEDNESDAY, March 20 (HealthDay News) -- Under the Affordable Care Act, a considerable proportion of low-income uninsured adults will be ineligible for Medicaid coverage due to their immigration status, and their main providers are likely to be safety-net health care providers, according to a March report published by the State Health Access Data Assistance Center.

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ER Discharge Dx/Disposition Discordant With Chief Complaint

TUESDAY, March 19 (HealthDay News) -- A considerable proportion of patients with emergency department visits with the same presenting complaint as those ultimately given a primary care-treatable diagnosis require immediate emergency care or hospital admission, according to a study published in the March 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Conflict-of-Interest Disclosures Common at 2011 AAOS Meeting

TUESDAY, March 19 (HealthDay News) -- At the 2011 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) annual meeting, voluntarily disclosed conflicts of interest were common, especially for featured symposia, according to a study published in the March 6 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

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Final Rule in Notice of Benefit, Payment Parameters Issued

FRIDAY, March 15 (HealthDay News) -- The final rule of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2014, which expands on existing standards, has been released.

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Health Insurance Exchanges Will Mainly Be Run by Feds

FRIDAY, March 15 (HealthDay News) -- More than half of the states within the United States will allow the federal government to establish health insurance exchanges, according to a report issued by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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Pharmaceutical Companies Are Reducing Promotional Spending

FRIDAY, March 15 (HealthDay News) -- Pharmaceutical companies have been reducing the amount of money they spend on promotion to consumers and providers over the past decade and spend much less to promote biologics compared with small molecule drugs, according to a study published online March 4 in PLOS ONE.

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Preventive Measures Not Enough to Combat C. difficile

THURSDAY, March 14 (HealthDay News) -- Although measures have been adopted to combat Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), most facilities have not reported improvement in health care facility-associated CDI rates, according to survey findings published by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

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AMA Files Brief Contesting Insurer's Payment Practices

WEDNESDAY, March 13 (HealthDay News) -- A landmark case examining the question of whether physicians can bring a class arbitration against a health insurer who has underpaid them is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, in a brief filed by the Litigation Center of the American Medical Association and State Medical Societies and the Medical Society of New Jersey.

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$120 Million to Be Sequestered From Health Centers in 2013

TUESDAY, March 12 (HealthDay News) -- Budget sequestration, which is expected to reduce federal spending, is likely to result in a $120 million loss in grant funding for the nation's 1,200 community health centers in 2013, according to a report published by the Geiger Gibson/ RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative.

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Many Elderly Consider Cancer Screening Obligatory

TUESDAY, March 12 (HealthDay News) -- Many older adults consider cancer screening to be morally obligatory, but screening colonoscopy is often given inappropriately in the elderly, according to two studies published online March 11 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Salmonella Typhimurium Outbreak Traced to Frogs

MONDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- An outbreak of primarily pediatric Salmonella Typhimurium infections in the United States has been traced to aquatic African dwarf frogs kept as pets, according to a study published online March 11 in Pediatrics.

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MicroRNAs May Define Advance of Barrett's Esophagus

THURSDAY, March 7 (HealthDay News) -- A series of microRNAs has been identified that differentiate precancerous Barrett's esophagus from esophageal adenocarcinoma and may serve as biomarkers to help physicians identify patients who are at a higher risk of progression, according to research published in the March issue of Cancer Prevention Research.

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Lowering CT Tube Voltage for Colonography Beneficial

THURSDAY, March 7 (HealthDay News) -- In patients undergoing computed tomography (CT) colonography, reducing the tube voltage from 120 kVp to 100 kVp significantly reduces radiation dose while minimally reducing image quality, regardless of patient size, according to a study published in the March issue of Radiology.

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Most Docs Report Information Overload in EHR-Setting

WEDNESDAY, March 6 (HealthDay News) -- Primary care practitioners (PCPs) using electronic health records (EHRs) are susceptible to information overload and feel that the EHR notification system makes it possible to miss test results, according to a research letter published online March 4 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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First Causal Evidence of Visceral Fat-Cancer Connection

WEDNESDAY, March 6 (HealthDay News) -- Reduction of visceral fat through surgery or diet reduces intestinal tumors in mice, with clear differences between males and females, according to a study published in the March issue of Cancer Prevention Research.

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Clinical Trials Published Almost Two Years After Completion

WEDNESDAY, March 6 (HealthDay News) -- Clinical trials are published, on average, almost two years after completion, with time to publication affected by the funding source, number of trial participants, and journal impact factor, according to a research letter published online March 4 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Anti-TNF Therapy Not Linked to Herpes Zoster Risk in RA

TUESDAY, March 5 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other inflammatory diseases, use of anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) therapy is not associated with an increased risk of herpes zoster, according to a study published in the March 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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U.K. Health Performance Worse Than Comparable Countries

TUESDAY, March 5 (HealthDay News) -- The United Kingdom has worse health performance than other comparable countries, according to a study published online March 5 in The Lancet.

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Diagnostic Testing Does Little to Reassure Patients

TUESDAY, March 5 (HealthDay News) -- Although further primary care visits may be reduced, diagnostic tests for symptoms with a low risk of serious illness actually do little to reassure patients, decrease their anxiety, or resolve their symptoms over the short or long term, according to research published online Feb. 25 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Screening May Reduce Risk for Late-Stage CRC by 70 Percent

MONDAY, March 4 (HealthDay News) -- For average-risk adults, screening colonoscopy is associated with a significant decrease in the risk of any colorectal cancer (CRC) and of right colon cancer; and interventions using electronic health records (EHRs) increase screening rates, according to two studies published in the March 5 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Panel Recommends 10 Patient Safety Strategies

MONDAY, March 4 (HealthDay News) -- An expert panel is strongly encouraging the immediate adoption of 10 patient safety strategies and encouraging the adoption of a further 12, according to a supplement published in the March 5 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Proportion of Black Males in U.S. Medical Schools Dropping

MONDAY, March 4 (HealthDay News) -- The proportion of black males in medical school is decreasing, according to a report published by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

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CMS Reports on Progress Toward Improved Health Care

MONDAY, March 4 (HealthDay News) -- Considerable progress has already been made toward improving the quality and delivery of health care, according to a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) bulletin published online Feb. 28.

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Computerized Provider Order Entry System Cuts Rx Errors

MONDAY, March 4 (HealthDay News) -- Electronic prescribing through computerized provider order entry (CPOE) systems can substantially reduce medication errors in inpatient acute-care settings, according to a study published online Feb. 20 in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

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Personalized Patient-Risk Info Enhances Informed Choice

FRIDAY, March 1 (HealthDay News) -- When patients are given personalized versus generic risk information, they are better able to make genuinely informed choices about undergoing screening tests, according to research published online Feb. 28 in The Cochrane Library.

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Sequestration to Impact Health Care-Related Programs

FRIDAY, March 1 (HealthDay News) -- The $85 billion of mandatory cuts in federal spending that take effect March 1 as part of sequestration will be felt across health care and related programs, with cuts to Medicare providers and to the budgets of federal agencies.

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