Vitamin D shows promise for treating Crohn’s disease in pilot study

(June 10, 2015) New research published in this month’s edition of United European Gastroenterology Journal suggests that supplementation with vitamin D may  impact on the intestinal barrier dysfunction associated with Crohn’s disease, and could have a role in the treatment of the condition.

The study is by Professor Maria O’Sullivan and Tara Raftery. Department of Clinical Medicine, Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, St. James’s Hospital, Dublin, Ireland. Crohn’s disease (CD) is a lifelong chronic relapsing and remitting gastrointestinal condition, characterised by inflammation, which can involve any portion of the gastrointestinal tract. CD is associated with abdominal pain, diarrhoea, fatigue and in many cases can result in a reduction of quality of life, time off work, hospitalisations and surgery. The exact causes are unknown; however, immune, genetic and environmental factors are thought to be involved. Incidence of CD varies across Europe, with up to 10 cases per 100,000 population per year. Generally, case rates are higher in northern and western Europe than southern and eastern Europe. There is emerging data that Vitamin D supplementation may prolong remission in CD; however, the clinical efficacy and underlying mechanisms remain unclear. In this new research, the authors aimed to determine changes in gut barrier function (as determined by intestinal permeability and antimicrobial peptide concentrations) as well as disease markers in CD, in response to vitamin D supplementation. In a double-blind randomised placebo-controlled study, the authors assigned 27 CD patients in remission to 2000 IU/day vitamin D supplementation or placebo for 3 months. They found, that patients treated with the supplementation were more likely to maintain their intestinal permeability, whereas this deteriorated in the placebo group. Increased intestinal permeability is considered a measure of gut leakiness, which is shown to predict and precede clinical relapse in CD. In addition, patients with the highest blood levels of vitamin D had signs of reduced inflammation (measured by C-reactive protein and antimicrobial peptides), and these patients also reported better quality of life. The authors conclude: “This is the first reporting of effects of vitamin D supplementation on intestinal permeability and antimicrobial peptide measures in a CD cohort. Whilst the data requires further confirmation, it broadly supports evidence from previous experimental studies that suggest a role for vitamin D in maintaining intestinal barrier integrity.”  Whilst the data is promising, the authors highlight that in order to understand its translation into treatment for CD, further larger randomised controlled trials will be required. UEG’s inflammatory bowel disease expert, Dr Charles Murray of the Royal Free Hospital, London, UK comments; “This is an exciting development in the treatment of Crohn’s disease and we welcome anything new that could potentially help patients with this debilitating condition”. Notes to Editors  Media Contacts Dr Charles Murray, Royal Free Hospital, London, UK - please contact Luke Paskins, UEG. T. +44 (0) 1444 811099.  E. media@ueg.eu Associate Professor Maria O’Sullivan, Department of Clinical Medicine, Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, St. James’s Hospital, Dublin, Ireland. T. + 353 1 896 4039. E. maria.osullivan@tcd.ie About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. To advance standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across Europe and the world, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including: · UEG Week, the biggest congress of its kind in Europe, and one of the two largest in the world. MEDIA REGISTRATION NOW OPEN · UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion · Training Support, funding for innovative training and educational programmes, as well as international scientific and professional co-operations · UEG Journal, published bi-monthly, covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology · EU Affairs, promoting research, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and helping develop an effective health policy for Europe Find out more about UEG’s work. Visit www.ueg.eu For further information and interviews, please contact:         Luke Paskins: media@ueg.eu Tel: +44 (0)1444 811099 References For the full UEG Journal article, see: http://ueg.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/02/06/2050640615572176.full.pdf+html For further information on incidence of Crohn’s disease in Europe, see: https://ueg.eu/epaper/WhiteBook.Brochure/index.html#/6

Eating less salt may reduce the risk of stomach cancer: UEG calls for greater salt-awareness across Europe.

(Vienna January, 12, 2015) Stomach cancer is diagnosed in around 80,000 people in the European Union (EU) each year and is associated with a very poor prognosis. The most well-established risk factor for stomach cancer is infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), which causes inflammation within the stomach that can progress to stomach cancer.

Now scientists believe that eating too much salt also increases the risk of stomach cancer, with a direct relationship found between salt consumption and cancer risk. According to Professor John Atherton, UEG Secretary General and a leading H. pylori expert, the combination of H. pylori infection and a high salt intake appears to be especially dangerous. “Although we don’t know exactly why salt increases the risk of stomach cancer, studies suggest that it may encourage the growth of H. pylori and make it more toxic to the cells of the stomach,” he says. Stomach cancer in the EU The recent Survey of Digestive Health Across Europe reported that more than 80,000 new cases of stomach cancer were identified in the EU in 2012, with twice as many men as women affected. H. pylori infection, which typically occurs during childhood and is difficult to detect, has been estimated to be responsible for around three-quarters of all stomach cancers. Excessive salt consumption is thought to contribute to a quarter of all cases. “Most of us know that salt is associated with high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke,” says Prof. Atherton. “However, I suspect very few people are aware that a high-salt diet may also increase the risk of stomach cancer.” Salt consumption guidelines The European Commission and many individual European countries have taken positive action towards reducing salt consumption across the continent. Current guidelines from the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggest that no more than 5 g of salt (less than 1 teaspoon) should be eaten per day – a challenging target given that most salt in our diets is not added by us, but comes from processed foods such as bread, cheese, breakfast cereals and ready meals. “In the UK, our salt target for adults is no more than 6 g per day, which should theoretically reduce the risk of stomach cancer as well as other salt-related health problems,” says Prof. Atherton. “Although we need more studies to confirm that eating a low-salt diet reduces the incidence of stomach cancer, there is preliminary evidence from Japan to suggest this would be the case.” It is straightforward to reduce salt in your diet: take special care when shopping to, buy low-salt versions of your favourite foods; moderate your intake of some foods such as cured meat, bread, cheese and table sauces; and to add no salt during cooking or at the table. This will reduce your risk of a variety of diseases, particularly heart disease and stroke and it now looks as though it will also reduce your risk of developing stomach cancer. References: 1. WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer. http://eu-cancer.iarc.fr/. 2. D’Elia L, Rossi G, Ippolito R, et al. Clin Nutr 2012;31(4):489–98. 3. Roberts SE, Samuel DG, Williams JG, et al. Survey of Digestive Health across Europe. Part one: The burden of gastrointestinal diseases and the organisation and delivery of gastroenterology services across Europe. Report for United European Gastroenterology. August 2014. 4. Parkin DM. Br J Cancer 2011;105:S31–S33. 5. Tominaga S, Kuroishi T. Int J Cancer 1997;10(Suppl):2–6. 6. World Action on Salt & Health. Salt and stomach cancer. Available at: http://www.worldactiononsalt.com/salthealth/factsheets/stomach/index.html. Last accessed 5 January 2015. Notes to Editors About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. Find out more about UEG’s work, visit www.ueg.eu Available for interview UEG Spokesperson, Professor John Atherton is the UEG Secretary General and also a leading H. pylori expert at The University of Nottingham. Press contact Samantha Forster media@ueg.eu Tel: +44 (0)1444 811099 @UEGMedia

Wheat-related disorders – Gluten-free diet may do more harm than good.

(September 18 , 2014) Cereals such as wheat have long been considered a fundamental food source, yet growing numbers of people are intolerant to them and the list of wheat-related conditions seems to grow daily. Now, experts are calling for a greater awareness of wheat-related disorders in order that gluten-intolerant patients are diagnosed more swiftly and receive the best possible treatment.

Cereals such as wheat have long been considered a fundamental food source, yet growing numbers of people are intolerant to them and the list of wheat-related conditions seems to grow daily. Now, experts are calling for a greater awareness of wheat-related disorders in order that gluten-intolerant patients are diagnosed more swiftly and receive the best possible treatment. According to a paper, ‘Wheat-related disorders: A broad spectrum of ‘evolving’ diseases,’ published in this month’s UEG Journal,experts Professor Giovanni Gasbarrini and Dr Francesca Mangiola suggest that people eating a gluten-free diet may also be at risk of developing new food intolerances, due to excessive substitution of alternative carbohydrates and foods containing nickel which may lead to additional health problems. They offer the following practical advice to clinicians on how to differentiate between coeliac disease and other gluten-related disorders to diagnose conditions more effectively and ensure sufferers do not follow a gluten-free diet unnecessarily: ·         Perform a thorough medical history, with particular attention given to the native gut microbiota. ·         Extensively explore the symptoms and assess the presence of any history of allergies. ·         Evaluate the genetic background with great care because it is often important to target or confirm the diagnosis and in some cases, make it unlikely. Gluten: the wheat toxin Gluten is a substance found in wheat, barley and rye that is composed of the two proteins, gliaden and glutenin. Researchers believe that gliaden is the gluten component people react to when they have wheat-related disorders. A number of distinct medical conditions are now recognised to be gluten-related including coeliac disease, wheat allergy and the newly-defined condition, non-coeliac gluten sensitivity. According to Gasbarrini and Mangiola’s paper, among the problematic disorders related to gluten, around 10% may be wheat allergy, 6% may be non-coeliac gluten sensitivity and only 1% is coeliac disease.1 Commenting on the article, UEG Spokesperson, Professor Antonio Gasbarrini said it is important to raise awareness of wheat-related disorders in order that people are not left undiagnosed and suffering. “Gluten-related disorders, like all food allergies, are extremely disabling and can have a major impact on people’s lives,” he said. “Most of us have heard of coeliac disease, but the other conditions are also very distressing and they are far more common.” “Many clinicians struggle to differentiate between the wheat-related disorders so practical advice like this is always helpful,” adds Prof. Gasbarrini. “Hopefully, as clinicians and patients become more aware of the range of conditions associated with wheat and gluten, the quicker they can be diagnosed, receive the most appropriate treatment and prevent associated health problems.” Reference 1.     Gasbarrini GB, Mangiola F. Wheat-related disorders: A broad spectrum of ‘evolving’ diseases. United European Gastroenterol J 2014;2(4):254-62. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4114114/. Notes to Editors About UEG Week UEG Week is the largest and most prestigious gastroenterology meeting in Europe and has developed into a global congress. It attracts over 14,000 participants each year, from more than 120 countries, and numbers are steadily rising. UEG Week provides a forum for basic and clinical scientists from across the globe to present their latest research in digestive and liver diseases, and also features a two-day postgraduate course that brings together top lecturers in their fields for a weekend of interactive learning. About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. To advance standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across Europe and the world, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives besides UEG Week, including:    ·        UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion  ·         Training Support, funding for innovative training and educational programmes, as well as international scientific and professional co-operations ·        UEG Journal, published bi-monthly, covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology ·        EU Affairs, promoting research, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and helping develop an effective health policy for Europe Find out more about UEG’s work. Visit www.ueg.eu

Press contact    

Samantha Forster:

Email: media@ueg.eu

Tel: +44 (0)1444 811099

 

The Growing Obesity Issue

Obesity, a growing problem throughout Europe, has been shown to be strongly correlated with a number of digestive health diseases.

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