Electrical Stimulation of the Esophagus Promising Treatment for Unresolved Reflux Symptoms
Three studies unveiled today examine small numbers of patients who had a device implanted that uses low energy electrical pulses to strengthen a weak or dysfunctional lower esophageal sphincter (LES) which is the underlying cause of GERD or acid reflux. Two of the studies by investigators Michael D. Crowell, PhD, FACG of Mayo Clinic Scottsdale and Edy Soffer, MD, FACG of the University of Southern California looked at various endpoints including esophageal acid exposure, improvement in GERD symptoms, and reduction of use of acid-suppressing medications known as proton pump inhibitors. The authors conclude, “Electrical stimulation of the lower esophageal sphincter is effective for treating patients with GERD over long-term year duration.”
In a separate and unrelated study, Arjan Bredenoord, MD, and colleagues at the University Medical Center Utrecht in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, presented a study at ACG of eleven patients with refractory GERD symptoms with devices implanted in the LES. They found that ten of the eleven patients (91 percent) were able to discontinue PPI medications. Overall, their research revealed a statistically significant improvement in patients’ GERD symptoms, as well as a trend in improvement in their esophageal pH.
Chronic Constipation Linked to Increased Risk of Colorectal Cancer
Patients with chronic constipation may be at increased risk of developing colorectal cancer and benign neoplasms, according to co-investigator Nicholas J. Talley, MD, PhD, of the University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. “This study demonstrates an association, not causation, between chronic constipation and both colorectal cancer and benign neoplasms.”
Younger Endometrial Cancer Patients Face Increased Risk of Colorectal Cancer
Women diagnosed with endometrial cancer under age 50 had a “marked increased risk” of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer in a historical cohort study by researchers at the University of Manitoba, according to co-investigator Dr. Harminder Singh. He said, therefore these patients need close follow-up particularly for colorectal cancers occurring in the upper part (right-side) of the colon—and recommended that CRC screening start at a younger age in such women.
Increased Colorectal Cancer Risk for Extended Family Members
In the first population-based assessment of the risk of colorectal cancer in extended family members of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC), researchers from the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, UT reported that first, second and third degree relatives of individuals with colorectal cancer had an increased risk of developing CRC themselves—with the strength of the association based on the degree of kinship, according to lead investigator, Niloy Jewel Samadder, MD.
Marijuana Use May Cause Severe Cyclic Nausea, Vomiting, A Little-Known, But Costly Effect
Marijuana use—both natural and synthetic—may cause cannabinoid hyperemesis a little-known but costly effect that researchers suggest is a serious burden to the health care system as it often leads to expensive diagnostic tests and ineffective treatments in an effort to find the cause of a patient’s symptoms and to provide relief, according to two separate case reports by researchers from Scripps Green Hospital and Clinic in San Diego and Walter Reed Walter Reed National Military Medical Center/Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD.
A New Scarless Option to Treat Rare Swallowing Disorder, Achalasia
Dr. Stavros N. Stavropoulos, Chief of Endoscopy at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, NY, presented findings of a study of 31 achalasia patients who underwent a procedure known as POEM (Per Oral Endoscopic Myotomy.) Their success rate was 29 of 31 patients, or 94 percent, who reported significant symptom resolution as measured by the Eckardt scale, a disease specific severity score for achalasia, as well as reduction in lower esophageal sphincter pressure.