The so-called hygiene hypothesis is not new but theorizes that children exposed to few viruses and bacteria may have higher risks of abnormal reactions due to poor immune system development, which could increase their risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease. A new study found children living in rural areas -- deemed less hygienic than urban settings -- and those with multiple siblings had lower rates of IBD.
Gastroenterologists are seeing an increasing number of acid reflux patients with unusual symptoms, such as chronic cough, asthma, indigestion and nausea. These patients actually have non-acid reflux, which stems from the success of their acid reducing medications in eliminating acid in the stomach. Physicians now have a new monitor that can detect non-acid reflux by measuring electrical resistance in the esophagus rather than acid levels.
A study is under way to see whether reducing stress through alternative medicine can help ease symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. Rush University Medical Center researchers say up to 50% of patients use some type of alternative therapies, so it is important to know if they work. Rush also is conducting a study looking at how diet interacts with Crohn's disease.
Studies and anecdotal evidence show some patients feel growing mistrust and frustration with their doctors, possibly due in part to the increasing media coverage of medical errors and the drug industry's influence, while others have come to rely on medical Web sites and other sources of information. Time demands on doctors also have led to a breakdown in communication that can strain the relationship.
It can be difficult for newly diagnosed celiac disease patients to transition to a gluten-free diet, and some people go through periods of denial, says Melinda Dennis, of the Celiac Disease Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Dennis, herself a celiac patient, says eating gluten-free is not only about removing gluten from food but also about ensuring the foods you do eat have enough nutrients. She cautions, as well, gluten can be found in all sorts of products -- including toothpaste.