It’s digestive diseases awareness week, and the results of new studies are being presented and examined on the latest methods for managing digestive health with dietary changes. Studies presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW)® 2013 highlight benefits of vitamin D, diet changes and no-needle electric wave acupuncture. Research presented at Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) meeting, May 18 – 20, 2013 explores new methods for managing digestive health through diet and lifestyle.
Locally, in Sacramento and Davis, the University of California, Davis brings awareness to the public of Digestive Disease Week®, this year emphasizing the health of the liver (hepatology). Check out the PDF format article, “[PDF] 2013 Update in Gastroenterology and Hepatology.” Can dietary solutions be of help when it comes to digestive diseases?
Elsewhere in the nation, this year’s digestive diseases awareness is on a new study from Europe focusing on Crohn’s disease. Individuals suffering from Crohn’s disease are often plagued by reduced muscle strength, fatigue and poor quality of life. These symptoms can remain even when patients are in remission. A randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study found for the first time that vitamin D supplementation corresponded to significant relief of these symptoms.
“Our findings may have significant implications for these patients,” said Tara Raftery, research dietician and PhD candidate at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, according to the May 18, 2013 news release, Research examines new methods for managing digestive health. “These findings, to our knowledge, are the first to suggest potential benefits of vitamin D supplementation on muscle strength with corresponding benefits for fatigue and quality of life in Crohn’s disease. These findings, however, need to be confirmed in larger studies.”
Vitamin D daily helped muscle strength in the research
The study found that after three months of taking 2000 IU of vitamin D per day, patients’ muscle strength, measured by hand-grip, was significantly higher in both dominant and non-dominant hands compared to those taking placebo. Patients also reported significantly less general, physical and mental fatigue and a higher quality of life when levels of vitamin D were 75 nano mole per liter or more.
Research presented at Digestive Disease Week® explores new methods for managing digestive health through diet and lifestyle. Researchers can learn more about the human microbiome as new data on microbiota and colorectal cancer risk is shared between people working in the field or researching the latest findings for a variety of reasons, such as for their own case to see what’s happening in the field of study, including how diets may influence colorectal cancer risk.
Diet swap provides clue to level of colorectal cancer risk
Building on growing knowledge about the human microbiome, research from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; University of Pittsburgh, PA; Wageningen University, the Netherlands; and the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, features new data on microbiota and colorectal cancer risk. Researchers found a dramatic and rapid shift in gut microbiota after switching the diet in healthy subjects from a traditional Western diet to a Zulu African diet and vice-versa. Funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, the study’s results show changes in gut microbiota that might explain levels of colorectal cancer risk.
“African Americans have the highest colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates of all racial groups in the U.S. The reasons for this are not yet understood,” said Franck Carbonero, postdoctoral research associate at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, according to the May 18, 2013 news release, Research examines new methods for managing digestive health. “Our findings offer insight into this disparity and pave the way for new research.”
Dramatic changes found in colonic microbiota before and after diet exchange in each participant’s case in the study
During the study, researchers fed 20 Zulu Africans 600 grams of meat per day for two weeks and fed 20 African Americans in Pittsburgh a traditional Zulu diet comprised primarily of a corn-based porridge called putu. Comparing stool samples before and after the diet exchange in each case, researchers found dramatic changes in colonic microbiota.
“Our results show that the human colonic microbiota is shaped by diet in a very dynamic manner,” said Rex Gaskins, PhD, professor of Immunobiology at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Not only that, we observed alterations in the balance of beneficial and detrimental microbial groups, which may explain, in part, the increase in colorectal cancer risk that is conferred by a Western diet.”
New needleless acupuncture therapy decreases symptoms of indigestion
A study from Texas Tech University, El Paso, and the University of Mississippi, Oxford, holds promising results for diabetic patients suffering from indigestion symptoms like nausea, vomiting, bloating and heartburn. The study tested a new method of therapy using a custom-made wireless device to stimulate acupuncture points with electrical waves on the surface of the skin rather than needles.
“Treatment options for this patient group are severely limited,” explained Richard McCallum, MD, professor and founding chair of the division of gastroenterology, department of medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, in the news release. “This is a novel approach to symptom relief that overcomes the shortcomings of other therapies.”
Because of the limited pharmacological treatment options available, many patients build up a tolerance to prescribed medicine. Additionally, traditional acupuncture requires patients to make repeat appointments and a fear of needles may make it undesirable for many patients. The wireless, needleless device tested in the study was designed by Jiande Chen, PhD, professor at the University of Texas’ Medical Branch at Galveston, and allows clinicians to tailor the frequency and amplitude of the electrical waves used to stimulate acupuncture points.
Clinicians stimulate acupuncture points with electrical waves
Funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, patients were instructed to spend 240 minutes each day using the device on designated spots on the body. They kept a detailed diary tracking specific gastroparesis symptoms and the number of heartburn episodes per day.
Dr. McCallum worked with fellow Texas Tech professor Irene Sarosiek, MD, senior author of this project, to analyze results of a four-week period of use of the device. Compared to the placebo group, the device significantly improved five out of nine gastroparesis symptoms — vomiting was reduced by 39 percent, nausea by 30 percent and bloating by 21 percent. The number of heartburn episodes decreased significantly when patients utilized active stimulation.
Patients like customizable features of any therapy device
“These exciting initial results have great potential for patients,” Dr. McCallum said. “With the customizable features of the device, we can explore fine-tuning the therapy to directly target specific symptoms.”
Ms. Raftery present data from the study “Vitamin D supplementation improves muscle strength, fatigue and quality of life in patients with Crohn’s disease in remission,” abstract Sa1198, on Saturday, May 18, at 8 a.m. in West Hall 1A of the Orange County Convention Center.
Dr. Carbonero presented data from the study “Short-term reciprocal diet exchanges impact colonic fermentation and hydrogenotrophic microbiota for native Africans consuming a typical Western diet and African Americans consuming a traditional African diet” abstract Sa1965, on Saturday, May 18, at 8 a.m. in West Hall 1A of the Orange County Convention Center.
Dr. McCallum also will present data from the study “Self-Administered Needleless Acupuncture Therapy to Control Dyspepsia and GERD Symptoms in Patients Diagnosed with Diabetic Gastroparesis,” abstract 749, on Monday, May 20, 2013at 3 p.m. in room 102AB of the Orange County Convention Center.
Coffee consumption is linked to lower risk of detrimental liver disease, and a new colonoscope provides a groundbreaking view of the colon
Other topics in digestive health, diet, and lifestyle being presented include the topic “Consuming coffee linked to lower risk of detrimental liver disease, Mayo Clinic finds,” according to a May 18, 2013 news release on what’s happening at the Digestive Diseases Week meeting this weekend and Monday. Regular consumption of coffee is associated with a reduced risk of primary sclerosing cholangitis, an autoimmune liver disease, Mayo Clinic research shows. The findings were being presented at the Digestive Disease Week 2013 conference in Orlando, FL. The study is funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Also being presented early this week is a new advance in colonoscopy. See, the May 18, 2013 news release, “New colonoscope provides ground-breaking view of colon.” A ground-breaking advance in colonoscopy technology signals the future of colorectal care, according to research presented on May 18, 2013 at Digestive Disease Week®. Additional research focuses on optimizing the minimal withdrawal time for colonoscopies and exploring safer methods for removing polyps.
Doctor-designed new smartphone app prepares patients for colonoscopy
Interestingly, there’s a new doctor-designed smartphone app that’s used to prepare patients for a colonoscopy, according to the May 18, 2013 news release, “New smartphone application improves colonoscopy preparation.” Researchers have found that the use of a smartphone application significantly improves patients’ preparation for a colonoscopy, according to new research presented on May 18, 2013 at the Digestive Disease Week® meeting.The study, which was conducted by the gastroenterologists of Arizona Digestive Health in Phoenix, featured the first doctor-designed app of its kind.
Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) is the largest international gathering of physicians, researchers and academics in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery. Jointly sponsored by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) and the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract (SSAT), DDW takes place May 18 to 21, 2013, at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL.
The meeting showcases more than 5,000 abstracts and hundreds of lectures on the latest advances in GI research, medicine and technology. More information can be found at the Digest Disease Week® (DDW) website. Follow the gathering on Twitter @DDWMeeting; hashtag #DDW13. Or become a fan of DDW on Facebook.