Fusobacterium varium may contribute to ulcerative colitis (UC). In the August issue of The American Journal of Gastroenterology, authors conducted a double-blind placebo-controlled multicenter trial to determine whether antibiotic combination therapy induces and/or maintains remission of active UC. Patients with chronic mild-to-severe relapsing UC were randomly assigned to oral amoxicillin, tetracycline and metronidazole versus placebo. Read the abstract.
Several studies show probiotics help the gastrointestinal system but no one-size-fits-all answer exists. Doses between 100 million and 1 billion colony forming units can help boost the immune system and improve the digestive tract, but the actual amount needed varies by bacteria strain. In addition, probiotics don't work the same in everyone.
American explorer Thomas Davenport of Maryland was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2006 and had parts of his colon removed. However, he still intends to participate in an expedition to ski to the South Pole in Antarctica and then kite back to the coast. Davenport says his battle with cancer has changed his perspective about what is important and has taught him to put a "much greater priority on family and friends."
Virtual colonoscopies appear to be gaining popularity with patients and some doctors, though digestive disease specialists continue to raise questions about quality, patient risks and costs associated with the test, which requires a follow-up colonoscopy if anything suspicious is found. Also, many insurers don't yet cover CT colonography.
Surveys show 15% to 25% of people shopping for gluten-free products don't actually have celiac disease. This group includes undiagnosed celiac patients and people with gluten sensitivity who test negative for celiac disease but still feel better eating a gluten-free diet. Most nutritionists say avoiding gluten is not particularly risky for people who don't have celiac disease.