HEALTH

ASGE: Electronic diagnosis provided inaccurate results for Barrett’s esophagus patients

BY Michael Johnsen

OAK BROOK, Ill. In a review of more than 2,000 patients coded for Barrett’s esophagus, electronic diagnosis overestimated the prevalence of the disease, according to researchers in California, the American Society for Gastroinestinal Endoscopy announced last week.

According to the review, researchers found that only 61.9% of patients assigned a billing diagnosis code for Barrett’s esophagus actually had Barrett’s esophagus after a manual record review.

The misdiagnosis could potentially undermine or skew future research into patients diagnosed with Barrett’s esophagus, a condition where the lining of the esophagus changes due to chronic inflammation, generally from gastroesophageal reflux disease. Definitive diagnosis requires a biopsy, taken at upper endoscopy, demonstrating replacement of the normal cell lining with one more like the cell lining of the small intestine. This is also known as intestinal metaplasia. Barrett’s esophagus itself has no specific symptoms, but this change can increase the risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma (a type of esophageal cancer).

Researchers concluded that electronic coding alone overestimates the prevalence of Barrett’s esophagus, and most clinical and research uses will require a manual verification of disease status.

The study appears in the May issue of GIE: Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, the monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal of the ASGE.

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FMI postpones, reschedules annual events due to flu outbreak

BY Michael Johnsen

ARLINGTON, Va. The Food Marketing Institute last week rescheduled its date for Future Connect in Dallas, which will now be held Oct. 12 to 14, and postponed its Marketechnics to the FMI 2010 event in Las Vegas.

“FMI appreciates the support and positive reinforcement we have received from the industry as we addressed the myriad issues resulting from the postponement of two events due to the influenza outbreak,” stated Leslie Sarasin, president, CEO of FMI. “We are thrilled to announce new plans to provide the industry with the essential education and insight provided by these events.”

Future Connect will now occur Oct.12 to 14 at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Dallas. All attendee registrations from the previously scheduled May dates for this event are automatically transferred to the October event. Companies may make substitutions on existing attendee registrations as needed.

Attendees should make new hotel reservations at www.fmifutureconnect.com. Registration for the event will re-open and new attendees may register online at the same Web site.

Marketechnics is postponed and will be included in the FMI 2010 event in Las Vegas. Attendees of the postponed May 2009 event will receive a credit for attendance at FMI 2010 or any other FMI event valid through May 31, 2010. FMI 2010 is scheduled for May 10 to 13, 2010 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

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Study: Ginger reduces nausea associated with chemotherapy

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCHESTER, N.Y. People with cancer can reduce post-chemotherapy nausea by as much as 40% by using ginger supplements, along with standard antivomiting drugs, before undergoing treatment, according to scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

About 70% of cancer patients who receive chemotherapy complain of nausea and vomiting.

“There are effective drugs to control vomiting, but the nausea is often worse because it lingers,” stated lead author Julie Ryan, assistant professor of dermatology and radiation oncology at Rochester’s James P. Wilmot Cancer Center. “Nausea is a major problem for people who undergo chemotherapy and it’s been a challenge for scientists and doctors to understand how to control it,” Ryan said.

The Phase II/III placebo-controlled, double-blind study included 644 cancer patients who would receive at least three chemotherapy treatments. They were divided into four arms that received placebos, 0.5 gram of ginger, 1 gram of ginger or 1.5 grams of ginger along with antiemetics (anti-vomiting drugs such as Zofran, Kytril, Novaban and Anzemet).

Patients took the ginger supplements three days prior to chemotherapy and three days following treatment. Patients reported nausea levels at various times of day during following their chemotherapy and those who took the lower doses had a 40% reduction.

Ginger is readily absorbed in the body and has long been considered a remedy for stomach aches. “By taking the ginger prior to chemotherapy treatment, the National Cancer Institute-funded study suggests its earlier absorption into the body may have anti-inflammatory properties,” Ryan said.

The research will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in the Patient and Survivor Care Session on Saturday, May 30, in Orlando, Fla.

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