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Journal: European journal of internal medicine


BACKGROUND: Previous research has suggested an interaction between personality factors and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) as well as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). We therefore aimed to elucidate differences in psychological and coping functioning between patients with IBD and IBS, and to assess the relationship of disease activity with these functions. METHODS: Seventy-four patients with IBD (mean age 43±17years, range 18-82years) and 81 patients with IBS (mean age 37±12years, range 21-66years) completed the questionnaires; Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, Toronto Alexithymia, Experiences in Close Relationships, and Sense of Coherence. Disease activity was evaluated either by the Harvey-Bradshaw index, the Simple Clinical Colitis Activity Index, or the Visual Analogue Scale for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. RESULTS: The study revealed that patients with IBS had higher degree of anxiety in close relationships than patients with IBD (p=0.003), and lower self-esteem (p=0.001). No other statistical differences between the whole groups IBS and IBD or between subgroups were seen. CONCLUSIONS: The fact that patients with IBS seem to have higher levels of anxiety in relationships and lower self-esteem could influence the way the patient deal with the disease and how the communication with health care professionals works out. A higher awareness of the importance of past negative life events should be taken into consideration. Whether the disease or the personal traits are the primary event should be addressed in future research.

Concepts: Inflammation, Health care provider, Patient, Ulcerative colitis, Gastroenterology, Psychometrics, Inflammatory bowel disease, Irritable bowel syndrome


Muscular strength, an important component of physical fitness, has an independent role in the prevention of chronic diseases whereas muscular weakness is strongly related to functional limitations and physical disability. Our purpose was to investigate the role of muscular strength as a predictor of mortality in health and disease. We conducted a systematic search in EMBASE and MEDLINE (1980-2014) looking for the association between muscular strength and mortality risk (all-cause and cause-specific mortality). Selected publications included 23 papers (15 epidemiological and 8 clinical studies). Muscular strength was inversely and independently associated with all-cause mortality even after adjusting for several confounders including the levels of physical activity or even cardiorespiratory fitness. The same pattern was observed for cardiovascular mortality; however more research is needed due to the few available data. The existed studies failed to show that low muscular strength is predictive of cancer mortality. Furthermore, a strong and inverse association of muscular strength with all-cause mortality has also been confirmed in several clinical populations such as cardiovascular disease, peripheral artery disease, cancer, renal failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, rheumatoid arthritis and patients with critical illness. However, future studies are needed to further establish the current evidence and to explore the exact independent mechanisms of muscular strength in relation to mortality. Muscular strength as a modifiable risk factor would be of great interest from a public health perspective.

Concepts: Medicine, Epidemiology, Cancer, Disease, The Canon of Medicine, Cardiovascular disease, Physical exercise, Strength training


Osteoporosis results in approximately one-half of older white women and one-third of men sustaining fractures, which cause significant disability and increased mortality. Interventions are now available which reduce fracture risk by about one-half, and there is evidence that they also reduce mortality in frail elderly by about 10%. The mechanism of this reduced mortality is unclear but it has the potential to substantially impact on the cost-benefit of osteoporosis treatment. Available treatments are generally well-tolerated. Bisphosphonates cause gastrointestinal side-effects when administered orally, and acute phase responses when given intravenously. Osteonecrosis of the jaw is overwhelmingly a problem of cancer sufferers rather than those with osteoporosis, but atypical patterns of fracture in the upper femoral shaft sometimes occur in users of these drugs, though they are very rare in comparison with the other osteoporotic fractures which these drugs prevent. Thus, the cost-benefit of bisphosphonate use is clearly positive in those with osteoporosis. In contrast, calcium supplements probably increase the risk of myocardial infarction, admissions to hospital with acute gastrointestinal complaints and risk of renal calculi, whereas their impact on fracture is marginal (about a 10% reduction). Thus, they are not cost-effective, and a balanced diet is a safer way of obtaining one’s calcium requirements.

Concepts: Bisphosphonate, Osteoporosis, Bone, Vitamin D, Bone fracture, Myocardial infarction, Calcium


Drug-induced liver injury (DILI) is among the most challenging acute or chronic liver conditions to be handled by physicians. Despite its low incidence in the general population, DILI is a frequent cause of acute liver failure. As such, the possibility of DILI should be considered in all patients who present with acute liver damage, independent of any known pre-existing liver disease. DILI can be classified as intrinsic/dose-dependent (e.g., acetaminophen toxicity) or idiosyncratic/dose-independent, with the latter form being relatively uncommon. Amoxicillin-clavulanate is the antimicrobial that is most frequently associated with idiosyncratic DILI. Large, ongoing, prospective studies in western countries have reported other drugs associated with DILI, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, statins, and herbal and dietary supplements. An important safety issue, DILI is one of the most frequently cited reasons for cessation of drug development during or after preclinical studies and for withdrawal of a drug from the market. This review summarizes the epidemiology, risk factors, commonly implicated drugs, clinical features, and diagnosis of DILI, with the aim of aiding physicians in the management of this debated problem. Old and new biomarkers for DILI and pharmacogenetic studies are also described.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Liver, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, Anti-inflammatory, Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Adverse drug reaction, Hepatotoxicity


Acute pancreatitis (AP) in elderly may have an aggressive course due to co-morbidity high rate and severe presentation. We retrospectively evaluated AP severity and its underlying factors in a group of elderly patients compared with an adult population sample.

Concepts: Retrospective


Aim of this review is to describe the role of clinical toxicology in the context of acute medicine. A special focus is put on antidotes and important aspects of diagnosis and therapy of acute intoxications. The data of the annual report of GIZ-Nord Poisons Centre is analyzed concerning the following aspects: what intoxications are relevant in acute medicine, are there special aspects in therapy, e.g. antidotes, and what antidotes are relevant? More over intoxication-related fatalities are analyzed.

Concepts: Medicine, The Canon of Medicine, Systematic review, Avicenna, Toxicology, English-language films, Toxicity, Poison


Cancer is a major public health problem as the leading cause of death. Palliative treatment aimed to alleviate pain and nausea in patients with advanced disease is a cornerstone of oncology. In 2007, the Israeli Ministry of Health began providing approvals for medical cannabis for the palliation of cancer symptoms. The aim of this study is to characterize the epidemiology of cancer patients receiving medical cannabis treatment and describe the safety and efficacy of this therapy.

Concepts: Medicine, Epidemiology, Cancer, Disease, Oncology, Demography, Chemotherapy, Palliative care


There is a substantial growth in the use of medical cannabis in recent years and with the aging of the population, medical cannabis is increasingly used by the elderly. We aimed to assess the characteristics of elderly people using medical cannabis and to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the treatment.

Concepts: Gerontology, Old age, Ageing


The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine conducted a rapid turn-around comprehensive review of recent medical literature on The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids. The 16-member committee adopted the key features of a systematic review process, conducting an extensive search of relevant databases and considered 10,000 recent abstracts to determine their relevance. Primacy was given to recently published systematic reviews and primary research that studied one of the committee’s 11 prioritized health endpoints- therapeutic effects; cancer incidence; cardiometabolic risk; respiratory disease; immune function; injury and death; prenatal, perinatal and postnatal outcomes; psychosocial outcomes; mental health; problem Cannabis use; and Cannabis use and abuse of other substances. The committee developed standard language to categorize the weight of evidence regarding whether Cannabis or cannabinoids use for therapeutic purposes are an effective or ineffective treatment for the prioritized health endpoints of interest. In the Therapeutics chapter reviewed here, the report concluded that there was conclusive or substantial evidence that Cannabis or cannabinoids are effective for the treatment of pain in adults; chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis. Moderate evidence was found for secondary sleep disturbances. The evidence supporting improvement in appetite, Tourette syndrome, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, epilepsy and a variety of neurodegenerative disorders was described as limited, insufficient or absent. A chapter of the NASEM report enumerated multiple barriers to conducting research on Cannabis in the US that may explain the paucity of positive therapeutic benefits in the published literature to date.

Concepts: Immune system, Medicine, Evidence-based medicine, Systematic review, Chemotherapy, Syndromes, Irritable bowel syndrome, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor


Cannabis has been employed medicinally throughout history, but its recent legal prohibition, biochemical complexity and variability, quality control issues, previous dearth of appropriately powered randomised controlled trials, and lack of pertinent education have conspired to leave clinicians in the dark as to how to advise patients pursuing such treatment. With the advent of pharmaceutical cannabis-based medicines (Sativex/nabiximols and Epidiolex), and liberalisation of access in certain nations, this ignorance of cannabis pharmacology and therapeutics has become untenable. In this article, the authors endeavour to present concise data on cannabis pharmacology related to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) et al., methods of administration (smoking, vaporisation, oral), and dosing recommendations. Adverse events of cannabis medicine pertain primarily to THC, whose total daily dose-equivalent should generally be limited to 30mg/day or less, preferably in conjunction with CBD, to avoid psychoactive sequelae and development of tolerance. CBD, in contrast to THC, is less potent, and may require much higher doses for its adjunctive benefits on pain, inflammation, and attenuation of THC-associated anxiety and tachycardia. Dose initiation should commence at modest levels, and titration of any cannabis preparation should be undertaken slowly over a period of as much as two weeks. Suggestions are offered on cannabis-drug interactions, patient monitoring, and standards of care, while special cases for cannabis therapeutics are addressed: epilepsy, cancer palliation and primary treatment, chronic pain, use in the elderly, Parkinson disease, paediatrics, with concomitant opioids, and in relation to driving and hazardous activities.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Medicine, Chemotherapy, Tetrahydrocannabinol, Pharmaceutical drug, Cannabis, Cannabidiol