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Digestive Disease Week, May 18-21, 2013

Last Updated: May 24, 2013.

Digestive Disease Week 2013

The Digestive Disease Week annual meeting, sponsored by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, American Gastroenterological Association, American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, and Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, was held from May 18 to 21 in Orlando, Fla., and attracted approximately 16,000 participants from around the world, including researchers and academics in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy, and gastrointestinal surgery. The conference featured thousands of abstracts and hundreds of lectures highlighting recent advances in gastroenterology research, medicine, and technology.

In one study, Frederick Nunes, M.D., of Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, and colleagues found that an interferon-free regimen comprised of three direct-acting antiviral medications (ABT-450/r, ABT-267, ABT-333) combined with ribavirin, for 12 or 24 weeks, provided a high sustained virologic response in patients with baseline characteristics associated with poorer response to pegylated interferon/ribavirin, including black race, Latino ethnicity, older age, IL-28B non-CC genotype, and higher body mass index.

"The overall response rate for individuals receiving 12 weeks of three direct-acting antiviral medications combined with ribavirin therapy was 99 percent in treatment-naive patients and 93 percent in null-response patients," said Nunes. "These results suggest that highly efficacious regimens like this regimen may overcome difficult-to-treat characteristics without the need for interferon."

Press Release

In another study, Paul Berggreen, M.D., of Arizona Digestive Health in Phoenix, and colleagues evaluated the effects of a new smartphone application (app) that aims to aid patients in preparing for a colonoscopy.

"There were 16 patients who used the app originally included in the abstract. However, since publication of the abstract, we now have a total of 52 patients who used the app and 67 patients who did not," said Berggreen.

The investigators found that the 9-point Boston Bowel Prep Scale was significantly improved in patients who used the app compared to in patients who did not. Specifically, individuals who used the app had an average score of 8.1 on the 9-point Boston Bowel Prep Scale, whereas those who did not use the app scored 6.5.

"The results of this study suggest that the smartphone technology in this app has the potential to significantly improve bowel prep scores, thereby improving polyp detection rates. Hopefully, that will be a factor in translating to less colon cancer in the future," said Berggreen. "The study also demonstrated that Individuals who used the app were very satisfied with it. We are currently developing a new version of the app that can be customized for use in any gastroenterology practice."

Press Release

Craig Lammert, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues found that coffee consumption was associated with a reduced risk of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), an autoimmune disease of the bile ducts which can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure, and biliary cancer.

"While rare, PSC has extremely detrimental effects," said Lammert in a statement. "We are always looking for ways to mitigate risk, and our first-time finding points to a novel environmental effect that might also help us to determine the cause of this and other devastating autoimmune diseases."

The investigators evaluated a large group of patients with PSC and primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) and found that coffee consumption was associated with a reduced risk of PSC but not PBC.

Press Release

DDW: Weight Loss Improves GERD Symptoms

MONDAY, May 20 (HealthDay News) -- Obese and overweight adults can improve symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) by losing weight, while regaining even small amounts of weight can worsen symptoms, according to a study presented at the annual Digestive Disease Week, held from May 18 to 21 in Orlando, Fla.

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DDW: Vitamin D May Be Beneficial in Crohn's Disease

MONDAY, May 20 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with stable Crohn's disease, vitamin D supplementation is associated with improvements in hand-grip strength, fatigue, and quality of life, according to a study presented at the annual Digestive Disease Week, held from May 18 to 21 in Orlando, Fla.

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DDW: Full-Spectrum Beats Forward-Viewing Colonoscopy

MONDAY, May 20 (HealthDay News) -- Use of a Full-Spectrum Endoscopy (FUSE) colonoscope is associated with increased polyp and adenoma detection rates and lower miss rates, compared with traditional forward-viewing (TFV) colonoscope, according to a study presented at the annual Digestive Disease Week, held from May 18 to 21 in Orlando, Fla.

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