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New screening techniques, treatments shed light on gastrointestinal disorders in children

CHICAGO, IL (May 9, 2011) Research being presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) focuses attention on the needs of pediatric patients, including screening for obesity and raising awareness of the increase risk of functional gastrointestinal disorders in athletes. Additional research emphasizes the need for more research in treating pediatric liver disease patients and shows the benefit of using smaller colonoscopies in young patients. DDW is the largest international gathering of physicians and researchers in the field of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery.

"When coordinating the medical care of children, it is important for healthcare practitioners to remember that their bodies are not like adults'," said Miriam Vos, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine. "Research into the screening, diagnosis and treatment of children with gastrointestinal illnesses is allowing us to better treat and manage our youngest patients to ensure better outcomes of care and higher quality of life."

Body Mass Index Screening Starting Between Ages Two to Five Years Impacts Obesity and Related Morbidity Better than Current Recommendations (Abstract #Mo1347)

Current U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines recommend that children six to 18 years old should be screened for obesity and, if needed, referred for more comprehensive therapy. However, recent research evaluating children ages two to 21 found that those aged two to five years responded nearly seven times more favorably than older children after completion of six months in the same obesity program. Investigators employed a multidisciplinary behavioral intervention program to treat pediatric obesity. Patients and caregivers were taught behavior change techniques such as goal setting, accountability, self-monitoring and stimulus control.

Dr. Sather will present these data on Monday, May 9 at 8:00 a.m. CT in Hall A, McCormick Place.

A prospective clinical trial shows that intravenous N-acetylcysteine (NAC) does not improve survival in pediatric patients with non-Acetaminophen acute liver failure (Abstract #622)

N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is the treatment of choice for patients with Acetaminophen toxicity, especially when associated with liver failure, but a new study shows it does not benefit children with acute liver failure who do not have acute Acetaminophen toxicity. Investigators sought to learn whether NAC would benefit children with acute liver failure that is not caused by Acetaminophen, and whether children given NAC had improved survival at one year, including those who received a liver transplant. Previous studies suggested NAC might be helpful, but investigators found that not only was it not helpful, but children under 2 fared worse than those who received the placebo.

Dr. Squires will present these data on Monday, May 9 at 8:30 a.m. CT in S105, McCormick Place.

Division I College Athletes of the Highest Intensity Sports Have More Functional GI Disorders (Abstract #Su1346)

College athletes involved in the highest intensity sportssuch as crew, lacrosse and swimminghave more functional gastrointestinal disorders than their peers in other sports or general college students. They found that up to 60 percent of athletes on the university's Division 1 crew, lacrosse and swim teams experienced at least one symptom of a gastrointestinal (GI) problem, from constipation or diarrhea to abdominal bloating or pain. By comparison, half of non-athletes and less than 35 percent of athletes across all Drexel teams reported any GI symptom.

Dr. Eva Alsheik will present these data, on Sunday, May 8, at 12:00 p.m. CT in South Hall, McCormick Place.

Experience with the new ultrathin pediatric colonoscope: A case series (Abstract #Sa1608)

Researchers studying a new ultra-thin colonoscope (UT-CS) that was specially designed for infants and toddlers found it had excellent insertability and operability, and that the children did not suffer any complications related to the colonoscopy. Investigators used a colonoscope with an insertion diameter of 6.5mm, an outside diameter of the tip of 5.0mm, an accessory channel diameter of 2.0mm, a working length of 1100mm, and a 4-way angulation. The successful outcomes are important because previously there was no dedicated colonoscope for infants and toddlers. Dr. Nakayama cautioned that the pediatric colonoscope should be used only by a trained pediatric endoscopist who has extensive experience with conventional colonoscopes.

Dr. Nakayama will present these data on Saturday, May 7 at 8:00 a.m. CT in Hall A, McCormick Place.


Contact: Amy Levey
Digestive Disease Week

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