Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: BMC gastroenterology


BACKGROUND: Acupuncture is used by patients as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) but the evidence on effectiveness is limited. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture for irritable bowel syndrome in primary care when provided as an adjunct to usual care. METHODS: Design: A two-arm pragmatic randomised controlled trial.Setting: Primary care in the United Kingdom.Patients: 233 patients had irritable bowel syndrome with average duration of 13 years and score of at least 100 on the IBS Symptom Severity Score (SSS).Interventions: 116 patients were offered 10 weekly individualised acupuncture sessions plus usual care, 117 patients continued with usual care alone.Measurements: Primary outcome was the IBS SSS at three months, with outcome data collected every three months to 12 months. RESULTS: There was a statistically significant difference between groups at three months favouring acupuncture with a reduction in IBS Symptom Severity Score of -27.43 (95% CI: –48.66 to -6.21, p = 0.012). The number needed to treat for successful treatment (>=50 point reduction in the IBS SSS) was six (95% CI: 3 to 17), based on 49% success in the acupuncture group vs. 31% in the control group, a difference between groups of 18% (95% CI: 6% to 31%). This benefit largely persisted at 6, 9 and 12 months. CONCLUSIONS: Acupuncture for irritable bowel syndrome provided an additional benefit over usual care alone. The magnitude of the effect was sustained over the longer term. Acupuncture should be considered as a treatment option to be offered in primary care alongside other evidenced based treatments.Trial RegistrationCurrent Controlled Trials ISRCTN08827905.

Concepts: Clinical trial, The Canon of Medicine, Randomized controlled trial, Statistical significance, Effectiveness, Avicenna, Irritable bowel syndrome, Flatulence


Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a syndrome characterized by gastrointestinal and extra-intestinal symptoms occurring in a few hours/days after gluten and/or other wheat protein ingestion and rapidly improving after exclusion of potential dietary triggers. There are no established laboratory markers for non-celiac gluten sensitivity, although a high prevalence of first generation anti-gliadin antibodies of IgG class has been reported in this condition. This study was designed to characterize the effect of the gluten-free diet on anti-gliadin antibodies of IgG class in patients with non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Concepts: Immune system, Wheat, Coeliac disease, Gluten, Gluten-free diet, Dermatitis herpetiformis, Rice, Wheat gluten


BACKGROUND: The objective of this study was to compare celiac disease (CD)– specific antibody tests to determine if they could replace jejunal biopsy in patients with a high pretest probability of CD. METHODS: This retrospective study included sera from 149 CD patients and 119 controls, all with intestinal biopsy. All samples were analyzed for IgA and IgG antibodies against native gliadin (ngli) and deamidated gliadin peptides (dpgli), as well as for IgA antibodies against tissue transglutaminase and endomysium. RESULTS: dpgli were superior to ngli for IgG antibody determination: 68% vs. 92% specificity and 79% vs. 85% sensitivity for ngli and dpgli, respectively. Positive (76% vs. 93%) and negative (72% vs. 83%) predictive values were also higher for dpgli than for ngli. Regarding IgA gliadin antibody determination, sensitivity improved from 61% to 78% with dpgli, while specificity and positive predictive value remained at 97% (P < 0.00001). A combination of four tests (IgA anti-dpgli, IgG anti-dpgli, IgA anti- tissue transglutaminase, and IgA anti-endomysium) yielded positive and negative predictive values of 99% and 100%, respectively and a likelihood ratio positive of 86 with a likelihood ratio negative of 0.00. Omitting the endomysium antibody determination still yielded positive and negative predictive values of 99% and 98%, respectively and a likelihood ratio positive of 87 with a likelihood ratio negative of 0.01. CONCLUSION: dpgli yielded superior results compared with ngli. A combination of three or four antibody tests including IgA anti-tissue transglutaminase and/or IgA anti- endomysium permitted diagnosis or exclusion of CD without intestinal biopsy in a high proportion of patients (78%). Jejunal biopsy would be necessary in patients with discordant antibody results (22%). With this two-step procedure, only patients with no CD-specific antibodies would be missed.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Fc receptor, Glycoproteins, Positive predictive value, Negative predictive value, Antibodies, Coeliac disease


BACKGROUND: Haemorrhoids (piles) are a very common condition seen in surgical clinics. After exclusion of more sinister causes of haemorrhoidal symptoms (rectal bleeding, perianal irritation and prolapse), the best option for treatment, depends upon persistence and severity of the symptoms. Minor symptoms often respond to conservative treatment such as dietary fibre and reassurance. For more severe symptoms treatment such as rubber band ligation may be therapeutic and is a very commonly performed procedure in the surgical outpatient setting. Surgery is usually reserved for those who have more severe symptoms, as well as those who do not respond to non-operative therapy; surgical techniques include haemorrhoidectomy and haemorrhoidopexy. More recently, haemorrhoidal artery ligation has been introduced as a minimally invasive, non destructive surgical option. There are substantial data in the literature concerning efficacy and safety of ‘rubber band ligation including multiple comparisons with other interventions, though there are no studies comparing it to haemorrhoidal artery ligation. A recent overview has been carried out by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence which concludes that current evidence shows haemorrhoidal artery ligation to be a safe alternative to haemorrhoidectomy and haemorrhoidopexy though it also highlights the lack of good quality data as evidence for the advantages of the technique. Methods/design The aim of this study is to establish the clinical effectiveness and cost effectiveness of haemorrhoidal artery ligation compared with conventional rubber band ligation in the treatment of people with symptomatic second or third degree (Grade II or Grade III) haemorrhoids. DESIGN: A multi-centre, parallel group randomised controlled trial. Outcomes: The primary outcome is patient-reported symptom recurrence twelve months following the intervention. Secondary outcome measures relate to symptoms, complications, health resource use, health related quality of life and cost effectiveness following the intervention. Participants: 350 patients with grade II or grade III haemorrhoids will be recruited in surgical departments in up to 14 NHS hospitals. Randomisation: A multi-centre, parallel group randomised controlled trial. Block randomisation by centre will be used, with 175 participants randomised to each group. DISCUSSION: The results of the research will help inform future practice for the treatment of grade II and III haemorrhoids. Trial Registration ISRCTN41394716.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Randomized controlled trial, Efficacy, Dietary fiber, Prolapse, Hemorrhoid, Rubber band ligation, Perianal hematoma


BACKGROUND: Oral lichen planus (OLP) is seen frequently in patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. The aim of this study was to evaluate the occurrence of oral candidiasis, other mucosal lesions, and xerostomia during interferon (IFN) therapy for HCV infection. METHODS: Of 124 patients with HCV-infected liver diseases treated with IFN therapy in our hospital, 14 (mean age 56.00 +/- 12.94 years) who attended to receive administration of IFN once a week were identified and examined for Candida infection and other oral lesions and for the measurement of salivary flow. Serological assays also were carried out. RESULTS: Cultures of Candida from the tongue surfaces were positive in 7 (50.0%) of the 14 patients with HCV infection at least once during IFN therapy. C. albicans was the most common species isolated. The incidence of Candida during treatment with IFN did not increase above that before treatment. Additional oral mucosal lesions were observed in 50.0% (7/14) of patients: OLP in three (21.4%), angular cheilitis in three (21.4%) and recurrent aphthous stomatitis in one (7.1%). OLP occurred in one patient before treatment with IFN, in one during treatment and in one at the end of treatment. 85.7% of the oral lesions were treated with topical steroids. We compared the characteristics of the 7 patients in whom Candida was detected at least once during IFN therapy (group 1) and the 7 patients in whom Candida was not detected during IFN therapy (group 2). The prevalence of oral mucosal lesions (P=0.0075) and incidence of external use of steroids (P=0.0308) in group 1 were significantly higher than in group 2. The average body weight of group 1 decreased significantly compared to group 2 (P=0.0088). Salivary flow decreased in all subjects throughout the course of IFN treatment and returned at 6th months after the end of treatment. In group 1, the level of albumin at the beginning of the 6th month of IFN administration was lower than in group 2 (P=0.0550). According to multivariate analysis, one factor, the presence of oral mucosal lesions, was associated with the detection of Candida. The adjusted odds ratio for the factor was 36.00 (95% confidence interval 2.68-1485.94). CONCLUSION: We should pay more attention to oral candidiasis as well as other oral mucosal lesions, in patients with weight loss during IFN treatment.

Concepts: Interferon, Hepatitis C, Candida albicans, Candidiasis, Aphthous ulcer, Oral pathology, Lichen planus, Stomatitis


BACKGROUND: Studies have shown psychological distress in patients with cirrhosis, yet no studies have evaluated the laboratory and physiologic correlates of psychological symptoms in cirrhosis. This study therefore measured both biochemistry data and heart rate variability (HRV) analyses, and aimed to identify the physiologic correlates of depression, anxiety, and poor sleep in cirrhosis. METHODS: A total of 125 patients with cirrhosis and 55 healthy subjects were recruited. Each subject was assessed through routine biochemistry, 5-minutes ECG monitoring, and psychological ratings of depression, anxiety, and sleep. HRV analysis were used to evaluate autonomic functions. The relationship between depression, sleep, and physiologic correlates was assessed using a multiple regression analysis and stepwise method, controlling for age, duration of illness, and severity of cirrhosis. RESULTS: Reduced vagal-related HRV was found in patients with severe liver cirrhosis. Severity of cirrhosis measured by the Child-Pugh score was not correlated with depression or anxiety, and only had a weak correlation with poor sleep. The psychological distress in cirrhosis such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia were correlated specifically to increased levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), increased ratios of low frequency to high frequency power, or reduced nonlinear properties of HRV (alpha1 exponent of detrended fluctuation analysis). CONCLUSIONS: Increased serum AST and abnormal autonomic nervous activities by HRV analysis were associated with psychological distress in cirrhosis. Because AST is an important mediator of inflammatory process, further research is needed to delineate the role of inflammation in the cirrhosis comorbid with depression.

Concepts: Inflammation, Psychology, Regression analysis, Cirrhosis, Liver, Aspartate transaminase, Alanine transaminase, Hepatic encephalopathy


BACKGROUND: Data about prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux diseases (GERD) from Asian populations are still scarce. To provide additional data on prevalence of GERD and investigate its potential risk factors, we performed this cross-sectional study in the Taizhou Retiree Cohort. METHODS: After physical examination, the participants were asked whether they suffered with heartburn or acid regurgitation in the last 12 months by trained interviewers, and if yes, the severity and frequency of the symptoms were recorded. Odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the associations of obesity and other risk factors with GERD were derived from logistic regression models. RESULTS: 8831 retirees completed the questionnaire and physical examination. In total 150 (1.7%) reported the symptoms occurring at least once per week within the last 12 months before the interview. Compared with subjects without GERD, having a history of diabetes mellitus (OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.4-3.5), hypertension (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.0-2.1), gastritis (OR 8.2, 95% CI 5.8-11.5), peptic ulcer (OR 3.3, 95% CI 1.8-6.1) and high triglyceride level (>=1.81mmol/L) (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.2-3.4) were associated with a significantly increased risk of GERD. However, there was no significant association between body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio or waist alone, smoking, consumption of alcohol & tea, and the occurrence of reflux symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: Compared with Western populations, the prevalence of GERD in this Chinese retiree cohort is low. A history of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, gastritis, peptic ulcer or hypertriglyceridaemia increases GERD risk in this population.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Diabetes mellitus, Obesity, Body mass index, Metabolic syndrome, Gastroesophageal reflux disease, Peptic ulcer, Waist-hip ratio


BACKGROUND: Epidemiologic studies have reported inconsistent results regarding coffee consumption and the risk of liver cancer. We performed a meta-analysis of published case–control and cohort studies to investigate the association between coffee consumption and liver cancer. METHODS: We searched Medline, EMBASE, ISI Web of Science and the Cochrane library for studies published up to May 2012. We performed a meta-analysis of nine case–control studies and seven cohort studies. RESULTS: The summary odds ratio (OR) for high vs no/almost never drinkers was 0.50 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.42–0.59), with no significant heterogeneity across studies (Q = 16.71; P = 0.337; I2 = 10.2%). The ORs were 0.50 (95% CI: 0.40–0.63) for case–control studies and 0.48 (95% CI: 0.38–0.62) for cohort studies. The OR was 0.38 (95% CI: 0.25–0.56) in males and 0.60 (95% CI: 0.33–1.10) in females. The OR was 0.45 (95% CI: 0.36–0.56) in Asian studies and 0.57 (95% CI: 0.44–0.75) in European studies. The OR was 0.39 (95% CI: 0.28–0.54) with no adjustment for a history of liver disease and 0.54 (95% CI: 0.46–0.66) after adjustment for a history of liver disease. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this meta-analysis suggested an inverse association between coffee consumption and liver cancer. Because of the small number of studies, further prospective studies are needed.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Cancer, Infectious disease, Evidence-based medicine, Cochrane Library, Odds ratio, MEDLINE, Study design


Current knowledge suggests that small intestinal overgrowth participates in the pathogenesis of irritable bowel syndrome. It is questionable if this association is modulated by intake of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs).

Concepts: Bacteria, Constipation, Large intestine, Intestine, Gastroenterology, Small intestine, Irritable bowel syndrome, Flatulence


BACKGROUND: Liver function tests (LFTs) can be affected by many factors and the proposed effects of coffee on LFT require a comprehensive evaluation. The aim of this study was to elucidate whether drinking coffee, smoking, or drinking alcohol have independent effects on LFTs in Korean health-check examinees. METHODS: We used the responses of 500 health-check examinees, who had participated in a self-administered questionnaire survey about coffee, alcohol drinking, and smoking habits. RESULTS: Coffee consumption was closely related to male gender, high body mass index (BMI), alcohol drinking, and smoking. On univariable and multivariable analyses, drinking coffee lowered serum levels of total protein, albumin, and aspartate aminotransferases (AST). On multivariable analyses, smoking raised serum gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) level and decreased serum protein and albumin levels, while alcohol drinking raised GGT level after adjustment for age, gender, regular medication, BMI, coffee and alcohol drinking amounts, and smoking. CONCLUSIONS: Coffee consumption, smoking, and alcohol drinking affect the individual components of LFT in different ways, and the above 3 habits each have an impact on LFTs. Therefore, their effects on LFTs should be carefully interpreted, and further study on the mechanism of the effects is warranted.

Concepts: Liver, Liver function tests, Aspartate transaminase, Coffee, Body mass index, Alanine transaminase, Albumin, Affect