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Reflux Symptoms Not Always GERD

December 14, 2015 – A study of 106 individuals with typical reflux symptoms persisting despite treatment with proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which limit acid secretion in the stomach, aimed to determine the underlying cause of reflux symptoms not responding to PPI therapy. The study found that approximately one-third of the patients suffer from disorders other than gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), predominantly functional heartburn, concluding that this explains, at least partly, why many patients will not benefit from acid inhibitory treatment.

Source: Herregods TVK, et al. Neurogastroenterol Motil. September 2015.

Ramosetron Found to Reduce Symptoms of IBS-D in Women

December 4, 2015 – Ramosetron was demonstrated to reduce symptoms of abdominal pain and discomfort and improve stool consistency and quality of life better than placebo in a randomized, double-blind study of 576 female patients with diarrhea predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D) in Japan over a period of 12 weeks. While ramosetron is approved for the treatment of IBS-D in men in Japan, this demonstrates its efficacy in treating IBS-D in women. Constipation was the most common adverse effect of the drug.

Source: Fukudo S, et al. Gastroenterology. November 2015.

Prescription Drug Use on the Rise in the US

December 1, 2015 – A survey of prescription drug use in the United States between 1999 and 2012 among 37,959 adult individuals revealed an increase in overall use as well as an increase in the simultaneous use of 5 or more prescription drugs even after accounting for changes in the age distribution of the study population. Drug classes that saw the greatest increases in use included antihyperlipidemic agents, antidepressants, prescription proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs), and muscle relaxants.

Source: Kantor ED, et al. JAMA. November 2015.

Hypnotherapy for Esophageal Disorders

November 24, 2015 – A published article reviewed the use of esophageal-directed hypnotherapy for the treatment of dyspepsia, globus sensation (lump in the throat), heartburn, non-cardiac chest pain, and dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) in patients where other therapies have been inadequate. In constructing a treatment plan for patients who will likely benefit from the hypnotherapy, researchers at Northwestern University have utilized structured, scripted protocols for most of these conditions. The authors conclude that in addition to an initial medical workup, hypnotherapy to manage disorders of the esophagus appears to be a viable consideration for the treatment of appropriate candidates.

Source: Riehl ME, et al. Am J Clin Hypn. June 2015.

Survey Finds that Patients Lack Access to Digital Health Tools

November 17, 2015 – A survey of more than 5,000 adult Americans revealed that most are unaware of or don't have access to technology that could be used to communicate with their physician and health care team for better quality healthcare. Among the key findings of the survey were that just 14% have round-the-clock access to medical advice, 15% use email to communicate with their provider, only 1 in 5 have access to online appointment scheduling, and less than half of individuals polled receive even the traditional telephone appointment reminder.

Source: Council of Accountable Physician Practices (CAPP) and the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC). November 2015.

Hypnosis Therapy for GERD

June 25, 2015 – A pilot study of 9 mostly female patients with functional heartburn found that esophageal directed hypnotherapy performed weekly over seven weeks was associated with improvement in heartburn symptoms and quality of life, suggesting the use of hypnotherapy in functional heartuburn patients who do not respond to standard drug therapies or who would prefer a non-pharmacologic lifestyle intervention.

Source: Riehl ME, et al. Dis Esophagus. 2015 March.

Biomarker Advances for IBS

June 23, 2015 – Two antibodies evident in a blood test appear helpful as biomarkers for differentiating a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in subjects with chronic diarrhea. The antibodies form in people who experience a bout of gastrointestinal (GI) infection (gastroenteritis), and about 10% of these individuals later develop what's termed post-infectious IBS (PI-IBS). It is estimated that 6-17% of people with IBS have PI-IBS.

Source: Pimentel M, et al. PLoS One. 2015 May.

A Medical Food may Improve IBS Symptoms

June 23, 2015 – Researchers in a small study that followed 14 patients with various forms of IBS concluded that oral serum-derived bovine immunoglobulin/protein isolate (SBI) as a medical food provides a safe option for patients with IBS-D but may have application in other forms of IBS. When directly questioned, 12 of the 14 patients indicated some level of overall improvement within 4 weeks after the addition of SBI to their standard therapy.

Source: Good L, et al. World J Gastroenterol. 2015 March.

Medical News Reported at the 2015 DDW Meeting

June 15, 2015 – Following are some of the research studies that were presented as abstracts at the 2015 Digestive Disease Week (DDW), an annual international conference for medical professionals.

The data and conclusions presented here should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

C. difficile

  • In a preliminary study of 12 patients with recurrent C. difficile infection, fecal microbial transplantation was found to alter the antibiotic resistant profile of most recipients of the therapy to resemble the profile of the donor, and was maintained over time.

Celiac Disease

  • When analyzed, of 15 different brands of popular probiotics labeled "gluten free," 8 were found to contain gluten, including 2 that contained significant amounts (more than 20 parts per million).
  • A survey of 12,187 patients with celiac disease compared to an equal number of healthy controls found that individuals with celiac disease had a higher prevalence of certain other chronic conditions, including IBS (8% compared to 1%).

Chronic Constipation

  • An analysis of 6 randomized controlled studies demonstrated a consistent safety and efficacy profile for the drug prucalopride in the treatment of chronic constipation over 12 weeks in both men and women.
  • In a randomized controlled study of 314 patients with chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC) with abdominal bloating, linaclotide (Linzess) compared to placebo was found to improve patient confidence in bowel movement success, completeness, ease, and patient ability to predict bowel movement timing.

Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE)

  • Oral fluticasone, a steroid, was found to be an effective long-term maintenance therapy of EoE without growth impediment or serious side effects in 54 mostly male children for up to 5.7 years.
  • A randomized controlled study of 93 adolescents and adults with EoE found that treatment with the steroid, oral budesonide suspension, improved symptoms of dysphagia and EoE more effectively than placebo after 12 weeks, with a good safety profile.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

  • A 5-year follow-up analysis of 85 patients with GERD treated with the LINX magnetic antireflux device concluded that the device provides significant and durable reflux control with minimal side effects.
  • Results from a random sample of 52 users of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) compared with 52 controls, all over the age of 50, suggest that long-term (at least 5 continuous years) use of PPIs does not have a significant effect on bone strength.
  • Researchers found a correlation between acid reflux and dental erosion in a sample of 27 children with reflux. By contrast, non-acid reflux was not associated with dental erosion.
  • A survey of 94 patients reporting reflux symptoms, including heartburn, regurgitation, and the sensation of burning/pain in the chest found that about one-third with reflux symptoms resistant to standard therapies do not have GERD, but instead suffer from other disorders, most commonly functional heartburn.


  • In an exploratory study involving 34 patients with gastroparesis, an investigational drug, velusetrag (30 mg), was generally well tolerated and resulted in statistically significant improvement in gastric emptying time in both diabetic and idiopathic gastroparesis.
  • In a study of people with gastroparesis or gastroparesis-like symptoms enrolled in the Gastroparesis Clinical Research Consortium (GpCRC) registry, of 92 treated with gastric electrical stimulation (GES) and 542 not treated with GES, those who underwent GES therapy were significantly more likely to show improvement in gastric symptoms at 48 weeks than those without GES treatment, suggesting more research be done in targeting GES therapy for gastroparesis patients not responding to standard medical approaches.
  • Transcutaneous electrical acupuncture was found to effectively reduce symptoms of nausea and vomiting in 10 female patients with diabetic gastroparesis by altering neural activity.
  • A survey that looked back at hospital admissions in the US for gastroparesis found that between the years 1997 and 2012 the number of inpatient admissions and the costs associated with these admissions have increased dramatically, with the national costs for gastroparesis increasing by 1,116.5%.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

  • In a randomized controlled study of 75 patients with IBS on the low-FODMAP diet, adding gluten avoidance did not appear to offer additional symptom benefits and made it harder for patients to follow the diet.
  • The presence and severity of abdominal bloating in a sample of 472 mostly female patients with IBS was found to be associated with increased sensation (visceral hypersensitivity) to intestinal contents, underscoring the importance of hypersensitivity as a target for treatment in patients with IBS.
  • While dietary advice was found to be effective in reducing gastrointestinal symptoms of IBS in a sample of 67 patients, researchers found no clear difference between a low-FODMAPs diet and traditional IBS dietary advice.
  • A survey of 84 people with IBS and 226 healthy controls found that the IBS patients tend to have more widespread and severe non-gastrointestinal pain on average, most commonly headache (80%) and lower back pain (74%), which may point to a broader pain sensitization, but cannot account for increased levels of abdominal pain characteristic to IBS.

IBS in Children

  • A randomized controlled study of 84 children with IBS found that treatment with psyllium fiber altered gut microbiome composition and reduced pain frequency more effectively than placebo.

IBS with Constipation (IBS-C)

  • In a Phase 2 study of the drug tenapanor (50 mg), statistically significant improvement was seen in multiple symptoms of IBS-C over a 12-week period, with diarrhea the most common adverse effect.

IBS with Diarrhea (IBS-D)

  • In a randomized controlled study of 72 mostly female patients with IBS-D or mixed IBS (IBS-M), a sustained release peppermint oil formulated to target release in the small intestine (IBgard) was found to be statistically more effective than placebo in improving multiple IBS symptoms over a 4-week treatment period.
  • A Phase 3 study of the drug ramosetron concluded that the drug improves multiple symptoms of IBS-D more effectively than placebo in both men and women.

Short Bowel Syndrome

  • A pilot study of 8 patients with short bowel syndrome with intestinal failure and jejunostomy found that treatment with the drug liraglutide may slow intestinal transit and increase intestinal energy absorption.

Small Bowel Adhesions

  • A manually applied physical therapy protocol, focusing on deforming adhesions between and within the organs throughout the abdomen and pelvis, was found to be an effective treatment option in a sample of 26 patients with a history of small bowel adhesions, and was associated with improvement in reported symptoms including pain and overall quality of life.

Nocturnal GERD Linked to Non-Infectious Rhinitis

June 9, 2015 – A prospective 10-year study of 5,417 participants found that nighttime gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) appears to be a risk factor for non-infectious rhinitis/rhinosinusitis (NIR) when adjusted for other known risk factors such as age, gender, body mass index, tobacco use, and asthma. NIR is associated with symptoms of stuffy nose, runny nose, and/or sneezing in the absence of the common cold.

Given these results the researchers recommend that individuals with rhinitis be assessed for GERD.

Source: Schioler L, et al. Allergy. 2015 March.

Microbes Linked to the Production of Serotonin

June 4, 2015 – Results of a laboratory study suggest that certain bacteria in the gut play an important role in regulating production of the chemical neurotransmitter serotonin. While serotonin is commonly recognized as a signalling molecule in the brain, it is estimated that 90% of the body's serotonin is produced by cells in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Altered levels of serotonin in the gut have been linked to several chronic diseases, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

The role that intestinal bacteria play in the function of certain components of the gut nervous system promises to be an exciting direction for future research in the field of functional GI disorders.

Source: Yano JM, et al. Cell. 2015 April.

FDA Approves rifaximin (Xifaxan) for Treatment of IBS-D in Adults

May 27, 2015 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today approved rifaximin (Xifaxan®) for treating irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D) in adult men and women. 

The safety and effectiveness of Xifaxan for treatment of IBS-D were established in three double-blind, placebo-controlled trials. In the first two trials, 1,258 patients were randomly assigned to receive Xifaxan or placebo for 14 days, and then followed for a 10-week treatment-free period. More Xifaxan-treated patients reported improvements in abdominal pain and stool consistency than those on placebo.

A third trial evaluated repeat courses of Xifaxan, because patients with IBS-D can develop recurrent signs and symptoms after a single treatment course of Xifaxan. A total of 636 patients with recurrence were randomized to receive either Xifaxan or placebo for two additional 14-day courses separated by 10 weeks. More patients treated with Xifaxan than placebo were responders in abdominal pain and stool consistency in this phase of the study.

The most common side effects in patients treated with Xifaxan for IBS-D include nausea and an increase in alanine aminotransferase (ALT), a liver enzyme measured in blood.

If diarrhea does not improve or worsens after treatment with Xifaxan, then evaluation for development of a severe infectious diarrhea, C. difficile enterocolitis, should be performed. Caution should be used when using Xifaxan in patients with severe liver impairment or when combined with certain other drugs.

Homeopathic Medicines to Receive Greater Scrutiny from the FDA?

May 26, 2015 – During a series of public hearings, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took testimony on whether or not it should regulate natural preparations – derived from plants, minerals, and animals – in the same way it does over-the-counter drugs. If the FDA decides in favor of stiffer regulations, homeopathic products would have to demonstrate safety and effectiveness before they could go to market. The FDA would also have the power to review the products' labeling and to reject false or misleading claims.

Currently, homeopathic products are allowed to be sold without pre-market review of approval by the FDA. Over the past several decades, the market for homeopathics has boomed to become a multi-billion dollar industry, and concerns over safety have grown. Since 2009, the FDA has issued almost 40 warning letters regarding the safety of certain homeopathic products.

Source: FDA Public Hearing on Homeopathic Products Regulation Testimony. May 20, 2015.

New Recommendations Issued by the AGA on the Use of Endoscopes

May 21, 2015 – The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) has issued best-practices recommendations for physicians on the use of endoscopes, devices used to look inside a body cavity or organ. These recommendations together with the results of an upcoming US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Medical Devices Advisory Committee meeting with ensure that endoscopes meet a higher level of safety.

Source: AGA Press Releases. March 23, 2015.

Biofeedback Therapy for Bowel Disorders

May 7, 2015 – A joint American and European medical task force issued a position paper on the usefulness of biofeedback therapy for anorectal disorders. They concluded that, based on the strength of evidence, biofeedback therapy is recommended for short-term and long-term treatment of constipation with dyssynergic defecation and for the treatment of bowel incontinence. Several other specified uses were less strongly supported or not recommended.

The American Neurogastroenterology and Motility Society (ANMS) and the European Society of Neurogasteroenterology and Motility (ESNM) examined available evidence in order to provide the recommendations.

Source: Rao SSC, et al. Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2015 May.

New Device Approved by FDA to Treat Silent Reflux

May 4, 2015 – The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a non-invasive medical device (Reza Band) to treat symptoms in individuals with silent reflux (also called laryngopharyngeal reflux). Unlike in gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in silent reflux gastric contents are regurgitated into the larynx (often called the "voice box") and the pharynx. The device is worn while sleeping. It works by applying a slight pressure to the area below the Adam's apple, preventing the flow of gastric contents past the upper esophageal sphincter.

Symptoms of silent reflux include bothersome throat problems such as hoarseness, chronic cough, frequent throat clearing, and the sensation that something is stuck in the throat.

Source: 2015 March

Individuals with Fibromyalgia at Greater Risk for IBS

April 27, 2015 – A study of 33,729 individuals with newly diagnosed fibromylagia and 134,915 healthy controls randomly sampled from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database between the years 2000 and 2011 found that presence of fibromyalgia was a significant risk factor for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) when controlled for other factors, including sex, age, and the presence of other diseases. Treatment of fibromyalgia with antidepressants was also found to be a risk factor for IBS. Lastly, coexistence of certain other diseases along with fibromyalgia, including chronic liver or kidney disease, depression, anxiety, and sleep disorder was found to significantly increase risk for IBS.

From these findings the researchers suggest that individuals with fibromyalgia should be assessed regularly for other potential risk factors for IBS to reduce incidence.

Source: Yang TY, et al. Medicine. 2015 March.

C. difficile Infection in the US

April 20, 2015 – A 2011 survey estimated an incidence of C. difficile infection in the US of approximately 453,000 during the calendar year. Looking at a total of 15,461 active cases, the investigators found that two-thirds of C. difficile infections occurred in hospitals and nursing homes. Many infections were community-associated, meaning they happened among those who had not been inpatients in a health care facility. Common risk factors for C. difficile included female gender, Caucasian race, and being 65 years of age or older. More cautious prescribing of antibiotics and careful infection control in health care facilities can reduce the risk.

These results support the growing evidence that C. difficile is no longer restricted to hospital and other inpatient settings. Understanding risk factors and patterns of infection is important in infection prevention and treatment planning. This study was performed as part of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Emerging Infections Program (EIP).

Source: Lessa FC, et al. N Engl J Med. 2015 February.

New Test for Diagnosing Gastroparesis

April 11, 2015 – In April 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new non-invasive test of delayed gastric emptying to aid in the diagnosis of gastroparesis. Known as the Gastric Emptying Breath Test (GEBT), it can be performed in any clinical setting. 

Gastroparesis is a disorder that slows or stops the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine in the absence of any observable obstruction or blockage. 

The GEBT is conducted over a four-hour period after an overnight fast. It is designed to show how fast the stomach empties solids by measuring carbon dioxide in a patient’s breath. Unlike scintigraphy, which uses a small amount of radioactive material to track gastric emptying, the GEBT uses no radioactive emitting material. Scintigraphy is considered the standard of care for measuring gastric emptying. 

The safety and effectiveness of the GEBT was studied in 115 participants prior to FDA approval. All participants were tested with both the GEBT and gastric scintigraphy. The GEBT results agreed with scintigraphy results 73-97 percent of the time when measured at various time points during the test.

People with hypersensitivity to Spirulina, egg, milk or wheat allergens should avoid the GEBT. The test also should not be administered to people with certain lung diseases or conditions that cause small bowel malabsorption. 

Source: FDA News Release, April 6, 2015

Registry Launched for Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Diseases

April 10, 2015 – The Consortium of Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disease Researchers (CEGIR) has announced the launch of a new contact registry for eosinophilic gastrointestinal diseases (EGIDs), including eosinophilic esophagitis, eosinophilic gastroenteritis, and others. These are chronic inflammatory conditions believed to be triggered by food-related allergic hypersensitivity, which can lead to gastrointestinal symptoms.

Funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), the goal of the registry is to provide an international database of contact data collected from patients and their families to CEGIR researchers for use in recruiting participants for new EGID studies. Individuals included in the registry will receive notifications of upcoming research studies for which they may be eligible as well as research updates, advocacy information, and opportunities to contribute to researcher training. The registry is online here.

Disease Burden in IBS-C and CIC

April 3, 2015 – In a US population-based survey of 328 individuals with constipation predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-C) and 552 individuals with chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC), the researchers found that frequency and severity of symptoms were greater in IBS-C respondents than in respondents with CIC. However, in CIC respondents who also experienced frequent abdominal symptoms, such as pain and bloating, a similar disease burden to IBS-C respondents was evident.

Source: Heidelbaugh JJ, et al. Am J Gastroenterol. 2015 March.

Mesalazine Lacks Effectiveness for Individuals with IBS-D

April 3, 2015 – Researchers looked at an anti-inflammatory drug, mesalazine, to see if it would be useful for the treatment of diarrhea predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D). They found that the drug may improve symptoms in a subset of people with post-infectious IBS (PI-IBS).

The randomized placebo-controlled study included 136 individuals with IBS-D. Thirteen of these had PI-IBS.

Source: Lam C, et al. Gut. 2015 March.

Gut-Focused Hypnotherapy an Effective Treatment for IBS

April 3, 2015 – A study in the UK looked at the effectiveness of a gut-directed hypnotherapy technique in 1,000 patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) whose symptoms were not adequately treated by conventional management strategies, such as dietary approaches and medications. The majority of participants improved and researchers concluded that the hypnotherapy relieved a wide range of symptoms, as well as improved quality of life and mood, safely and without side effects.

This therapy can be a helpful addition to conventional treatment measures, such as education, dietary and lifestyle changes, and drug therapy, in the treatment of IBS.

The patients received 12 weekly sessions of one-on-one gut-focused hypnotherapy from therapists at Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester, UK who were trained and experienced using the technique. A study is ongoing to see if similar results can be achieved in a shorter time.

Source: Miller V, et al. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2015 March 

NIDDK Establishes Office of Nutrition Research

March 31, 2015 – This August the NIH National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) will establish the Office of Nutrition Research. This office will replace the NIH Division of Nutrition Research Coordination (DNRC). The new office will assist in leading a diverse group of offices within the NIH that will be responsible for planning new initiatives in NIH nutrition research. It will also be closely associated with the nutritional sciences grant funding programs in the NIDDK.

NIH, the National Institutes of Health, is the center for all federally-funded biomedical research in the US. The NIH conducts medical research; supports the research of non-federal scientists operating in universities, medical schools, hospitals, and research institutions throughout the country and abroad; helps in the training of researchers; and fosters communication of cutting-edge medical information. The NIDDK is the NIH's largest funder of nutrition research. Access the NIH website at and the NIDDK website at to learn more about all that they are responsible for.

A Cautious Approach to the Low-FODMAP Diet

March 26, 2015 – A review of published research looked at food intolerance associated with GI symptoms such as increased intestinal gas, abdominal pain, bloating, or diarrhea. Among the findings was increasing evidence that, for some people, a low FODMAP diet approach may be helpful in functional GI disorders when food intolerance is suspected.

However, there are cautions.

  • Measures used in various FODMAP research studies to date are not consistent
  • The dietary eliminations should be short-term
  • Certain gut microorganisms thought to be beneficial have been noted to be significantly decreased after 4 weeks of a low FODMAP diet
  • Nutritional adequacy may be reduced
  • The diet must be undertaken with the supervision of an experienced dietician (often a registerd dietician, or RD).

FODMAPs are a group of carbohydrates found in many common foods. The diagnosis of FODMAP intolerance is based on a short term (3–4 weeks) diet to reduce or exclude suspected foods to look for symptom improvement, followed by a gradual reintroduction to establish individual tolerance. It is essential to work with a dietician experienced in food intolerance in order to maintain adequate nutrition, minimize impact on the gut microbiota, and avoid unnecessary dietary restrictions.

Source: Lomer MCE. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2014 Dec.

Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders and BMI

March 20, 2015 – A prospective population-based cohort study of 35,447 individuals over the age of 18 found several significant relationships between body mass index (BMI) and risk for various functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs). In adult females, high BMI was associated with an increased risk for functional diarrhea, and both high and low BMI were found to have a positive relationship with functional dyspepsia. In adult males, low BMI was found to be a risk factor for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Additionally, the study revealed significant overlaps in FGID diagnoses among participants, particularly between functional dyspepsia and IBS and functional constipation.

This analysis is part of the Nutrinet-Sante online study which was originally launched in France in 2009 but is still ongoing. For more information (in French) or to participate go to

Source: Le Pluart D, et al. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. March 2015.

FDA Launches Mobile App to Track Drug Shortages

March 16, 2015 – The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has launched an application (app) for mobile platforms to increase public access to information about prescription drug shortages. The app provides real-time information about current drug shortages, resolved shortages, and discontinuations of drugs. Drugs can be searched for by generic or brand name or by therapeutic category.

The app is available for free download by going to this FDA webpage, or in the iTunes store (For iOS) and the Google Play store (for Android) by searching "FDA Drug Shortages".

Hiatal Hernia and Dyspeptic Symptoms in Children

March 10, 2015 – In a survey of 111 children undergoing upper endoscopy (EGD), presence of hiatal hernia was found to be associated with symptoms of heartburn and regurgitation but not other symptoms commonly described for gastroesophageal reflux (GER) or dyspepsia in children older than 4 years of age. Moreover, no association was found between presence of hiatal hernia and esophagitis.

The results of this study suggest that in children, presence of hiatal hernia represents a risk factor for only limited symptoms.

Source: Scarpato E, et al. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. December 2014.

Visceral Abdominal Fat Tied to an Increased Risk of IBS-D

March 5, 2015 – A case-controlled study of 336 individuals found that while overall body mass index (BMI) does not appear to be related to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), abdominal fat deposits and waist circumference were both predictors of a higher risk of diarrhea predominant IBS (IBS-D).

From these findings the authors concluded that abdominal obesity, and not general obesity, represents a risk factor for IBS, especially IBS-D.

Source: Lee CG, et al. Am J Gastroenterol. January 2015.

Participants with Diabetic Gastroparesis Sought for Study

February 27, 2015 – A clinical study is seeking participants diagnosed with diabetic gastroparesis to assess the safety of a drug (IW-9179) in individuals with diabetic gastroparesis and its effects on the principal gastroparesis symptoms.  Find details and study locations on this page. The study is sponsored by Ironwood Pharmaceticals.

Unhealthy Eating Behaviors and Functional Dyspepsia

February 24, 2015 – A survey in China of 1,341 individuals with functional dyspepsia (FD) found that those with FD were more likely to engage in unhealthy eating behaviors, including skipping meals, eating extra meals, and consuming large amounts of sweets and gas-producing foods, than healthy individuals. Moreover, these behaviors among individuals with FD were found to be risk factors for more difficult to treat (refractory) FD.

Source: Jiang SM, et al. J Dig Dis. December 2014.

Self-Applied Acupressure for Functional Constipation

February 16, 2015 – In a randomized clinical study, individuals with functional constipation who were taught how to apply external pressure (acupressure) to the perineum – the area between the anus and the genitals – in addition to standard therapies reported improved quality of life and bowel function compared with individuals who used only standard treatments. Standard therapies included increased dietary fiber intake, stool softeners, and exercise. A total of 91 people completed the study.

The UCLA researchers suggest that education in perineal self-acupressure, which only takes a few minutes to learn, should be included among other first-line treatments for functional constipation.

Source: Abbott R, et al. J Gen Intern Med. November 2014.

Location of Diverticular Disease and IBS

February 10, 2015 – A Japanese study of 1,009 individuals concluded that the location of diverticular disease is associated with a risk of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Diverticular disease occurring in the left-sided and bilateral sections of the colon, but not on the right side, was associated with a higher risk of IBS.

Clarifying the specific changes associated with left-sided diverticular disease could provide a better understanding of causes of IBS.

Source: Yamada E, et al. Am J Gastroenterol. December 2014.

Effect of Exercise on the Gut Microbiome and Health

February 3, 2015 – Researchers of a case-controlled study of 40 Irish athletes and 46 controls found that individuals who engaged in vigorous exercise had greater gut microbial diversity than those who did not. High diversity of gut microorganisms appears to be linked to decreased intestinal inflammation and improved immune function among other things.

Results of this study suggest that exercise has a beneficial effect on the gut microbiome. However, further investigation is needed to tease apart the effects of exercise from other variables, including diet, in promoting the diversity of gut microbes.

Source: Clarke SF, et al. Gut. December 2014. 

FDA Approves Generic Version of Nexium for GERD

January 28, 2015 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first generic version of Nexium (esomeprazole magnesium) to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in adults and children aged 1 year and older. Esomeprazole is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) that works by blocking the site of acid production in a particular cell group in the stomach (parietal cells).

Esomeprazole was first approved to treat GERD by the FDA as Nexium in 2001. It is also approved to reduce the risk for gastric ulcers associated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), treat H. pylori infection in association with certain antibiotics, and treat conditions where the stomach produces too much acid (such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome).

FDA Approves Neurostimulator to Treat Symptoms of Gastroparesis

January 26, 2015 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a second-generation neurostimulator device (Enterra II) to treat symptoms of nausea and vomiting in people with gastroparesis when other therapies have failed (refractory). The device is implanted under the skin and delivers a mild electrical pulse to stimulate the smooth muscles of the lower stomach. Enterra was first approved by the FDA in 2000. The new device provides physicians with greater system flexibility and ease of use.

Treatments are Needed for Functional Dyspepsia

January 16, 2015 – A survey of people with functional dyspepsia (FD) found that, although there is currently no drug approved to treat FD, respondents reported using an array of medications attempting to control symptoms. Moreover, one-half of the 114 respondents reported a willingness to take significant risks with a hypothetical medication that could cure their symptoms.

Better understanding of risk taking behavior can help inform drug development and approval processes as well as individual treatment approaches.

Source: Lacy B, et al. Clin Transl Gastroenterol. January 2015 

Maternal Inheritance in Adult Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome

January 13, 2015 – Researchers identified a higher probability of maternal inheritance of various functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders in a subset of adults with cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS) compared with healthy controls (12% compared to 1%).

More research studies to identify potential causes for maternal inheritance pattern in adults are warranted to help understand the underlying mechanisms of functional GI disorders.

Source: Venkatesan T, et al. BMC Gastroenterol. October 2014.

New Study to Look at Laxative Ingredient Safety in Children

January 8, 2015 – The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is funding a new study regarding the safety in children of PEG 3350 – the active ingredient in Miralax and similar generic laxatives. The FDA notes that there is little data on its absorption in children, especially in the very young and chronically constipated. Adverse events in children given the laxative have been reported, but it is not known whether the laxatives are the cause.

PEG 3350 laxatives, which are available over-the-counter, were FDA approved for persons aged 17 and older but never approved for long-term daily use. Talk to your doctor if you have a child who is using one of these laxatives.

Source: Saint Louis C. NY Times. January 2015.

Fear of IBS Symptoms Impacts Quality of Life

January 5, 2015 – A study of 234 individuals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) found fear of gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms of IBS to be strongly associated with reduced quality of life. Fear of symptoms was a stronger predictor of quality of life than symptom severity, personality style, sociodemographic variables, or overall emotional well-being.

Better understanding of the factors contributing to quality of life may help clinicians and patients assess, understand, and respond to changes in quality of life and improve IBS treatment outcomes.

Source: Lackner JM, et al. Am J Gastroenterol. November 2014.

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2020-Gastroparesis: Quality of Life and Symptom Burdens for Patients
2020-IFFGD Announces the 2020 Research Recognition Award Winners
2020-IFFGD's IBS Patients' Illness Experience and Unmet Needs Survey
2020-IBS: More Questions Than Answers?
2020-IFFGD Raises Awareness for Rare Digestive Diseases on Rare Disease Day
2019-IFFGD recognizes December as Constipation Awareness Month with the launch of Animated Patient’s Guide to Constipation
2019-IFFGD Shares GI developments with #GivingTuesday
2019-IFFGD Celebrates 20 Years of Raising GERD Awareness
2019-IFFGD Raises Awareness for Gastroparesis Awareness Month to Encourage “Education”
2019-0516 IFFGD Announces 2019 Research Recognition Awards Recipients
2019-0328 IFFGD Encourages Patients to Share "What I Wish People Understood About My IBS" for IBS Awareness Month
2018-1205 IFFGD Marks Constipation Awareness Month with Launch of Education Campaign
2019-0213 IFFGD Sheds a Light on the Daily Impact of Rare Digestive Disorders for Rare Disease Day 2019
2018- 1107 IFFGD Celebrates #GivingTuesday
2018-1101 Have You Heard? It Could Be GERD!
2018-0801 IFFGD Raises Awareness for Gastroparesis Awareness Month to “Make Patient Voices Heard”
2018-0529 IFFGD Presents 2018 Research Recognition Awards at DDW
2018-0402 Social Taboos, Lack of Awareness May Prevent Diagnosis & Treatment of IBS
2018-0212 IFFGD Raises Awareness for Rare Disease Day 2018
2017-1114 Holiday Heartburn or Something More?
2017-0802 Research Survey Reveals Unmet Needs of People with Gastroparesis
2017-0403 IFFGD Encourages People to See Their Doctor for Symptoms of IBS
2016-1115 GERD is More Than Simple Heartburn
2016-0801 Learn the Facts About Gastroparesis
2016-0405 Think You Have IBS? Find Out For Sure Before Starting a Treatment
2015-1123 Is it More than Simple Heartburn? Ask Your Doctor.
2015-7-30 Gastroparesis is a Hidden Medical Condition for Many
2015-0330 Online Survey Looks to Help Improve Outcomes for those with IBS
2014-1119 Persistent Heartburn May Be a Sign of GERD
2014-0826 Lack of Awareness of Gastroparesis May Impact Medical Care
2014-0326 IFFGD Marks IBS Awareness Month with Launch of Mobile App
2014-0225 IFFGD Research Grants to Study Gastroparesis
2013-1106 15 Tips for GERD Awareness Week
2013-0626 New
2013-0412 IFFGD Presents 2013 Research Awards
2013-0401 Turning Attention to Returning Vets
2012-1109 Banish Frequent Heartburn by Burning More Calories
2012-0321 April is IBS Awareness Month: A Serious Issue for Veterans
2011-1130 Is Your Child's Reflux/Spitting Up A Point of Concern?
2011-0412 IFFGD Research Award Winners
2011-0329 IBS Signs You Should Not Ignore
2010-1118 GERD Difference
2010-1001 Heartburn or GERD?
2010-0517 US House Resolution for IBS
2009-1109 GERD at Night
2009-0417 IFFGD Research Award Recipients
2008-0331 Dealing with Digestive Disorders
2007-1118 When Is Simple Heartburn Not So Simple?
2007-0718 Proposed FDA Funding Applauded
2007-0401 IBS Myths
2006-1116 GERD & Holidays
2006-0418 Natl Commission
2006-0321 Women's Health
2006-0202 IBS or Something Else
2005-1125 GERD Costs
2005-0412 IBS Awareness
2004-1125 Heartburn & Heartache
2004-0929 Norton Honored
2004-0525 IBS Travel Tips
2004-0408 IBS Medical Care
2004-0101 IFFGD Conference
2003-1117 GERD Treatment
2003-0401 IFFGD Research Awards
2003-0401 IBS Awareness
2002-0423 IBS-C Treatment
2002-1102 Heartburn Caution
2002-0402 IBS & Lost Potential
2002-0423 IBS in Real World
2001-1119 Heartburn or Heart Attack
2001-0322 Patients First
1998-0401 IBS Millions Suffer
1997-1114 Research & Women's Health
Misunderstood Functional GI Disorders
IBS is No Joking Matter
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