HEALTH

New study finds hormone deficiency may cause chronic diarrhea

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK A common type of chronic diarrhea may be caused by a hormone deficiency, according to new research published in the November issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Chronic idiopathic bile acid diarrhea occurs when an overload of bile acid reaches the colon and causes excess water to be secreted into the bowel. The researchers in the study found that a hormone, FGF19, which normally switches off bile acid production in the liver, does not function properly.

The researchers tested the amount of bile acid being produced in the livers of 17 patients diagnosed with bile acid diarrhea and 19 healthy controls. They did this by measuring the amount of a molecule called C4 in the blood, which indicates how much bile acid is being made. The results showed that the people with bile acid diarrhea were producing an average of nearly three times more bile acid than the controls, with 51 nanograms of C4 per mL of blood in the patient group, compared to 18 nanograms per mL in the control group.

“Bile acid diarrhea is a common condition, likely to affect more people than Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, yet until now we did not understand exactly what causes it,” said lead study author Julian Walters, from the Division of Medicine at Imperial College London. “Our new findings mean that in the future doctors may be able to diagnose the condition by doing a quick and simple blood test.”

These results suggest that there is a significant link between bile acid production and decreased levels of FGF19 in people with bile acid diarrhea. The researchers say that, following this small study, further research is needed to see if these findings can be replicated.

 

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Mintel: Cough-cold remedy sales on the rise

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO Sales of cough-cold remedies will total more than $3.6 billion in 2009, up 1.7% from last year, thanks in large part to the H1N1 pandemic, market research firm Mintel announced Thursday. And drug stores and supermarkets could see sales increases well into the double-digits through the remainder of the cold-and-flu season, Mintel projected.

“The U.S. cold, cough and throat remedy market saw a 13.4% spike in sales during 2005, when the avian flu dominated media stories,” stated Diana Nhan, senior market analyst for Mintel’s Global Market Navigator. “Already, swine flu has received equivalent media exposure, and many Americans are worried about the virus. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar trend-busting increase in U.S. cold, cough and throat remedy sales for 2009 and the early part of 2010.”

Americans dedicate more funds towards treating cold-like illnesses than people in the U.K., China or Russia, Mintel stated. In the U.S., all OTC medicine sales account for 0.22% of GDP, compared to 0.2% in Russia and approximately 0.17% in the U.K. and China.

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Drive Medical EVP new business development shifts to CEO post

BY Allison Cerra

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. Less than three months after joining Drive Medical, Vic Mazzacone has been appointed the company’s CEO retail division.

Mazzacone will be responsible for directing and managing the sales and marketing strategy for Drive Medical’s retail division, the company said last week.

Thomas Reynolds, Drive Medical’s president of the retail division, will continue in his current role and will report directly to Mazzacone.

In August, Mazzacone joined Drive Medical as its EVP new business development.

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