News

Potassium levels often low in NAFLD patients, study says

According to Chinese researchers, data show patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease had significantly lowered levels of serum potassium. They said insulin resistance and central-body obesity could be connected to low potassium and the development of NAFLD and called for research into whether addressing low levels of potassium could help prevent NAFLD. MedPage Today (5/21)

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Constipation affects quality of life, longevity, study says

A 15-year study of more than 5,100 elderly women showed constipation lowers quality of life and longevity, researchers report in The American Journal of Gastroenterology. Only 25% of the women surveyed reported never or rarely having constipation, 20.9% had persistent constipation and 54.1% reported transient constipation. “In light of the enormous economic costs associated with constipation, it is a problem that needs to be further understood and better managed,” the researchers write. MedWire News (U.K.) (5/16)

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Say Hello to the 100 Trillion Bacteria That Make Up Your Microbiome

Medicine used to be obsessed with eradicating the tiny bugs that live within us. Now we’re beginning to understand all the ways they keep us healthy. NYTimes.com (5/15)

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Diets high in sugar and fat linked to teens’ NAFLD risk

Data on 995 teens showed those whose diets were highest in fat and sugar at age 14 were more likely to develop nonalcoholic fatty liver disease by age 17, compared with those whose diets included more whole grains and produce. The findings appear in The American Journal of Gastroenterology. Read the abstract here. Healio (free registration) (4/10)

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Study suggests hepatitis test during colonoscopy visit

Researchers who screened patients ages 50 to 65 for hepatitis during an appointment for a routine screening colonoscopy said it may be an effective way to identify undiagnosed chronic HBC and HCV infection. Their report in The American Journal of Gastroenterology said 36% of patients had at least one chronic hepatitis risk factor, while 8% had multiple risk factors. Read the abstract here. Healio (free registration) (4/8)

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Celiac disease diagnoses are increasing in the U.S.

A study in The American Journal of Gastroenterology revealed celiac disease diagnoses grew from about 11 cases per 100,000 persons to about 17 cases per 100,000 persons between 2000 and 2010. Increased symptom awareness and screening among doctors may have contributed to the higher diagnosis rates, researchers noted. Read the abstract here. Reuters (3/29)

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Studies focus on gut bacteria’s role in weight

The bacterial makeup of the intestines may help determine whether people gain weight or lose it, according to two new studies, one in humans and one in mice. The research also suggests that a popular weight-loss operation, gastric bypass, which shrinks the stomach and rearranges the intestines, seems to work in part by shifting the balance of bacteria in the digestive tract. NYTimes.com (3/28)

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Plan to fix Medicare doctor payment gains some steam

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., garnered some support Tuesday for his plan to solve the Medicare physician payment issue. Revised cost estimates for addressing the problem could help after the Congressional Budget Office lowered the projected price tag to $138 billion over the next 10 years from $245 billion. Kaiser Health News/Capsules blog (2/27)

ACG note: ACG was recently invited to meet with congressional committee staff from the House of Representatives Committees on Ways & Means and Energy & Commerce to discuss repealing the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula and reforming the Medicare reimbursement system. ACG believes that if Congress chooses to repeal SGR with a reimbursement system based on quality reporting, specialty societies should be looked to when defining what is considered “quality of care.” These measures will be more clinically meaningful and will improve patient outcomes.

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Feds clarify colonoscopy cost-sharing under ACA

Final rules on essential health benefits under the Affordable Care act clarify cost-sharing for colonoscopy. The guidance stipulates that private insurers cannot impose patient cost-sharing for any polyp removal during recommended colorectal cancer screenings, which are fully covered. The Washington Post/WonkBlog (2/20

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Study: Ethnicity plays role in recurrent diverticulitis

A study found African-Americans and obese people were more likely to have recurrent colonic diverticulitis and to need surgery for it, according to researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center in New York. Compared with other ethnic groups, black patients had surgery rates two times higher, Hispanics were 50% less likely to need surgery and white patients had half the risk of getting recurrent diverticulitis. DailyRx.com (2/20)

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