This week’s health news roundup includes recent stories about celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This week, we discussed the benefits of going gluten-free in celiac disease, possible treatment for ulcerative colitis, risk of cancer in rheumatoid arthritis, positive impact of aquatic aerobics on fibromyalgia patients, and the problem of misdiagnosing IBD with IBS.
Today, roughly 1.6 million Americans follow a gluten-free diet, even if they haven’t been diagnosed as having a non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) – or gluten intolerance. It’s estimated that around 18 million people in the U.S. have some form of gluten intolerance, experiencing symptoms like diarrhea, fatigue, headache, bloating, gas, as well as itchy skin.
Meanwhile, only one percent of the population, around 1 in 133 people, have what’s called celiac disease, which is a more severe intolerance to gluten.
When it comes to celiac disease, gluten brings about an immune response that attacks the lining of the small intestine. So you can’t effectively absorb nutrients into your bloodstream, which can lead to anemia, delayed growth, and even weight loss. If left untreated, celiac disease can lead to other health conditions, such as osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis (MS), infertility, and neurological conditions. And, unfortunately, the only way to treat celiac disease is to adopt a strict, gluten-free diet. Continue reading…
Ulcerative colitis treatment shows potential with stool transplant. The technique is known as fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), and it is currently used for recurring Clostridium difficile infection. Researchers believe this technique may also be helpful for individuals who suffer from ulcerative colitis.
Australian researchers found that one in four patients who are resistant or intolerant to traditional colitis treatments responded well to FMT. The patients reported that their symptoms went away and their digestive tract health improved. Over half of the patients experienced improvements through FMT.
Sudarshan Paramsothy, one of the study scientists, said, “In recent years, researchers have gained a better understanding of the gut microbiota and the critical role it plays in health and disease, including conditions like ulcerative colitis. By using fecal microbiota transplantation, we aim to treat the underlying cause of ulcerative colitis instead of just its symptoms, as opposed to the majority of therapies currently available.”
Eighty-one Australians were enrolled in the study where 41 received FMT and 40 received a placebo. At first, participants received treatment through a colonscope and later were given enemas that were self-administered for five days over the course of eight weeks.
After the eight weeks, the number of FMT patients who responded to the treatment was over three times greater than the placebo participants. Eleven of the 41 FMT patients experienced the study’s goal of symptom reduction and healing of the intestines. Only three of the 40 placebo patients achieved the goal. Forty-four percent of the FMT patients reported being symptom-free, compared to only 20 percent in the placebo group. Continue reading…
Risk of cancer in rheumatoid arthritis patients taking biologic therapy (tumor necrosis factor antagonists): Study
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients taking biologic therapy (tumor necrosis factor antagonists) have a higher risk of certain cancers, according to research. The risk of cancer in RA patients on biologics has long been a controversial topic, so researchers decided to compare relative risk of cancer in RA patients taking biologics and patients taking non-biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (nbDMARDs).
For the study, researchers conducted a nationwide cohort study between 1997 and 2011 using the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. Relative risk of cancer was compared between patients taking either biologics or nbDMARDs.
The researchers compared 4,426 new users of the biologic therapy and 17,704 nbDMARD users. Incidence risk of cancer was 5.35 and 7.41 per 1,000 person-years, respectively.
The study concluded that overall there was a lower risk of cancer in patients on biologics, except for hematologic cancer, compared to those taking nbDMARDs. Continue reading…
Fibromyalgia-affected women can benefit from aquatic aerobic exercise. The findings come from Turkish researchers who revealed that aquatic aerobic exercises can offer benefits to fibromyalgia patients.
Fibromyalgia patients experience widespread pain and thus have weaker muscular strength. Recommended as a means to reduce pain and build strength, exercise can be difficult for many patients to perform.
Aquatic aerobics offers low impact exercise, which can have a positive effect on patients and help them deal with chronic pain all the while improving strength.
The researchers analyzed physical and psychological impact of aquatic aerobics and isometric strength-stretching on fibromyalgia patients.
The team evaluated 75 women who were divided into three groups: a home-based isometric strength and stretching exercise program (ISSEP), a gym-based aerobic exercise program (AEP), and a pool-based aquatic aerobic exercise program (AAEP). The treatments took place over the course of three months. Patients were submitted to Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ), SF-36 physical and mental health scores, the Six-Minute Walk Test (6MWT), Visual Analog Scale (VAS), and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) at baseline and after the treatment.
Patients in the ISSEP group experienced only slight improvements, and the biggest improvements were seen in the AEP and AAEP groups. AAEP was deemed to be the most successful, and researchers believe it is in part due to the absence of impact force on the joints during water exercises.
The researchers suggest that fibromyalgia patients should take part in aquatic aerobics as a means of improving their condition. Continue reading…
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients are sometimes misdiagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBD researcher and United European Gastroenterology spokesperson Dr Michael Scharl said, “IBS has been estimated to affect at least 10 percent of the population in Europe, and it causes distressing symptoms that disrupt normal life. We have known for some time that there are similarities between symptoms of IBS and IBD, but when it comes to diagnosis and treatment, this differs greatly.”
“Misdiagnosis is understandable, as many symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and pain are common to both, and the specific alarm symptoms for IBD such as bloody stool, weight loss, or fever are often absent in IBD patients in the initial phase of their disease. However, increased use of fecal calprotectin testing would help doctors distinguish between inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and non-inflammatory bowel diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome,” Scharl added.
IBS affects an estimated 10 percent of the European population. Misdiagnosing IBD can have serious consequences to the patient, especially in those with Crohn’s disease. Delay in diagnosis is associated with an increased risk of bowel stenosis and intestinal surgery. Increased efforts should be put forth to improve diagnosis and ensure that IBD is diagnosed properly in order to prevent the delay of treatment and possible complications. Continue reading…