Barrett’s Esophagus, and intestinal metaplasia

Barrett’s esophagus is a condition in which the tissue lining the esophagus—the muscular tube that carries food and liquids from the mouth to the stomach—is replaced by tissue that is similar to the intestinal lining. This process is called intestinal metaplasia. People with Barrett’s esophagus are at increased risk for a rare type of cancer called esophageal adenocarcinoma. The upper GI tract includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. The stomach slowly pumps the food and liquids into the intestine, which then absorbs needed nutrients. This process is automatic and people are usually not aware of it, though people sometimes feel their esophagus when they swallow something too large, try to eat too quickly, or drink very hot or cold liquids.
Photo credit: testastretta-999 / / CC BY-NC-SA

LINX Reflux Management Device for GERD

The LINX Reflux Management System by Torax Medical, Inc. is available for patients affected by gastroesphageal reflux disease (GERD) at the Medical University of South Carolina.

A three year study funded by Torax found that 64% of the patients tested with the device, had their acid reflux cut in half or more. Around 87% of participants were able to stop taking their proton pump inhibitor medication all together.

The market in the US alone is over $14 billion a year on prescription proton pump inhibhitors. This number can be dramatically reduced if people affected by GERD opt into getting the LINX system procedure.

LINX is often seen as a better option than the outdated 50-year-old procedure called the Nissen fundoplication.

Get more information about the LINX System.

Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet

In a multicenter trial in Spain, we randomly assigned participants who were at high cardiovascular risk, but with no cardiovascular disease at enrollment, to one of three diets: a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts, or a control diet (advice to reduce dietary fat).

Among persons at high cardiovascular risk, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts reduced the incidence of major cardiovascular events.

Read the full study here.

Photo credit: 96dpi / / CC BY-NC

Diet Soda Doesn’t Lead to Increased Appetite

North Carolina researchers are refuting the claim that diet sodas actually increase the appetite in individuals who consume these products. This new study goes against previous research that blamed the over-consumption of food on diet drinks.

The news must be considered as a win for beverage companies who market these products to people who are looking to a sugary soda alternative that still has the fizzy reward.

It is recommended to reduce or remove soda entirely from your diet for an optimal diet. Of course you can cheat from time to time, but a diet soda is still not as healthy as other options available to you.

Via Yahoo.

Islet Cell Autotransplant and Pancreatectomy (Video Experience)

In May of 2012, twelve-year-old Brittany Alexander underwent a total pancreatectomy and islet cell autotransplant procedure at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Alexander had been suffering from chronic pancreatitis since the age of four and the procedure was recommended as a way to alleviate her symptoms and bring comfort back into her life.

A month after the surgery, Alexander came back to MUSC to speak with Dr. Katherine Morgan and nurse coordinator Betsy Shuford to discuss how much better her life is.

For patients with intractable pain caused by chronic pancreatitis, pancreatic resection can be beneficial and help them get back to leading normal lives. Islet Cell Autotransplantation is offered by the gastrointestinal surgery division of the Digestive Disease Center at MUSC.

Calorie Counts On Food Are Often Wrong

Researchers at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) proposed that the current system in place to estimate the number of calories in food may have significant inaccuracies.

This leads to major increased and decreased calculations.

What’s causing the error? 

The current system Atwater does not take how the body processes different foods into account. The amount of energy that we actually absorb from these items can be grossly overstated.

This means that while you are setting up a diet or health plan to include 2,000 calories you may be eating way more or way less. A better system that takes into account how we process the food, would serve people better.

Info via AAAS. Image courtesy of mybodyhealth.

Has drinking coffee suddenly become good for you?

Coffee seems to getting a better reputation these days. For years, the mantra coming from most medical people was to lay off the caffeine for better health. Not anymore. Drinking a lot of coffee has been associated with lowering the risk of diabetes, and coffee drinkers seem to be at less risk for colon cancer. There may be a link to better cognitive functions in coffee drinkers, and perhaps even some disease protection.

Coffee does have some beneficial nutrients, but not large amounts. It is high in antioxidants, chiefly due to the amount consumers drink every day. The downside is the things we put in our coffee. Rich creams and sugar are not very healthy for you, however, coffee drinkers are beginning to embrace a touch of cinnamon, vanilla, or nutmeg. These help reducing the harshness of rich coffees, so you can add less of the bad stuff.

Like all stimulants you can have too much of a good thing. More than three eight-ounce cups of coffee a day might be too much. And drinking coffee late in the day can create a restless night of sleep. And certain types of cardiac patients should not drink stimulants in any form.

Has drinking coffee suddenly become good for you? Things look promising, but more research needs to be done.

DDC Does “Harlem Shake” for Colon Cancer Awareness Month

While a diagnosis for colon cancer can be devastating to the individual and his or her loved ones, it is highly treatable when discovered early. The DDC decided to create their own video of the internet meme “Harlem Shake” to create awareness for Colon Cancer.

Colorectal Cancer in the United States Facts:

  • affects approximately 1 in 20 people
  • is the second leading cause of cancer deaths
  • affects both men and women, with men being more susceptible
  • African Americans are more susceptible than other ethnic groups
  • 90% of new cases and 95% of deaths occur in people 50 or older
  • most screenings should begin at age 50; age 45 for African Americans
  • five-year survival rate at early detection – approx. 90%
  • five-year survival rate when detected at latter stages – as low as approx. 12%

Read more about Colon Cancer Awareness.

Is Your Seafood Being Mislabeled?

A new study by advocacy group Oceana found that up to one-third of seafood sold in the United States may be fraudulently labeled.

Fraudent labeling occurs when a restaurant labels a fish on the menu as one thing, but really is serving a much less expensive product. A nationwide test found that if you ordered snapper, 87% of the time something else was served in its place.

The fraud doesn’t just occur on the restaurant end. Suppliers can also benefit from taking advantage of unsuspecting chefs and restauranteurs by offering similar products or by artificially increasing the weight of a fish by inflating them with water.

This problem was most common at you guessed it, sushi restaurants. Oceana found that 95% of the sushi restaurants surveyed were found selling mislabeled seafood.

Darren Lee Norris, co-owner of Kushi Izakaya & Sushi to the Washington Post,

“I think it comes down to a restaurant or chef who’s trying to buy something cheaper and jazz it up and call it something else.”


Read the full article at Washington Post.

NEJM report on GERD treated with LINX magnetic sphincter

The LINX magnetic sphincter has been offered as an alternative for patients who do not respond well to proton pump inhibitors. The procedure is less invasive, and does not involve significant alteration to the patient’s anatomy. The device is removable if needed, and is well tolerated. Patients usually go home the day of surgery or the day after. Magnetic sphincters reduce acid exposure to the esophagus. Patients notice an improvement in heartburn and regurgitation symptoms.

The New England Journal of Medicine reports that in this single-group evaluation of 100 patients before and after sphincter augmentation with a magnetic device, exposure to esophageal acid decreased, reflux symptoms improved, and use of proton-pump inhibitors decreased.

Nutrition: The Ultimate Guide to Nuts

Nuts are more than just an occasional snack! Nuts are full of protein and nutrients. Recent studies indicate that people who eat nuts are less likely to suffer from heart disease, or have heart attacks. Nuts are full of unsaturated fats, and increase the good (HDL) cholesterol in your body. They also contain vitamin E, folic acid, and fiber.
Photo credit: s58y / / CC BY

Get health and fitness tips at