About gutsandgrowth

I am a pediatric gastroenterologist at GI Care for Kids (previously called CCDHC) in Atlanta, Georgia. The goal of my blog is to share some of my reading in my field more broadly. In addition, I wanted to provide my voice to a wide range of topics that often have inaccurate or incomplete information. Before starting this blog in 2011, I would tear out articles from journals and/or keep notes in a palm pilot. This blog helps provide an updated source of information that is easy to access and search, along with links to useful multimedia sources. I was born and raised in Chattanooga. After graduating from the University of Virginia, I attended Baylor College of Medicine. I completed residency and fellowship training at the University of Cincinnati at the Children’s Hospital Medical Center. I received funding from the National Institutes of Health for molecular biology research of the gastrointestinal tract. I have authored numerous publications/presentations including original research, case reports, review articles, and textbook chapters on various pediatric gastrointestinal problems. Currently, I am the chair of the section of nutrition for the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In addition, I am an adjunct Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine. Other society memberships have included the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Food Allergy Network, the American Gastroenterology Association, the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. As part of a national pediatric GI organization called NASPGHAN (and its affiliated website GIKids) I have helped develop educational materials on a wide-range of gastrointestinal and liver diseases which are used across the country. Also, I have been an invited speaker for national campaigns to improve the evaluation and treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease, celiac disease, eosinophilic esophagitis, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Some information on these topics has been posted at my work website, www.gicareforkids.com, which has links to multiple other useful resources. I am fortunate to work at GI Care For Kids. Our group has 15 physicians with a wide range of subspecialization, including liver diseases, feeding disorders, eosinophilic diseases, inflammatory bowel disease, cystic fibrosis, DiGeorge/22q, celiac disease, and motility disorders. Many of our physicians are recognized nationally for their achievements. For many families, more practical matters include the following: – 14 office/satellite locations – physicians who speak Spanish – cutting edge research – on-site nutritionists – on-site psychology support for abdominal pain and feeding disorders – participation in ImproveCareNow – office endoscopy suite (lower costs and easier scheduling) – office infusion center (lower costs and easier for families) – easy access to nursing advice (each physician has at least one nurse) I am married and have two sons. I like to read, walk/hike, exercise, swim, and play tennis with my free time as well as go to baseball games. I do not have any financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies or other financial relationships to disclose. I have participated in industry-sponsored research studies.

#NASPGHAN19 Selected Abstracts (Part 2)

Link to full NASPGHAN 2019 Abstracts.

Here are some more abstracts/notes that I found interesting at this year’s NASPGHAN meeting.

A study (poster below) from Cincinnati found that a vedolizumab level ≥34.8 mcg/mL at week 6 (prior to 3rd infusion) predicted clinical response at 6 months

Related blog posts:

The poster below reported a high frequency of eosinophilic disorders in children who have undergone intestinal transplantation. Related blog post: Eosinophilic disease in children with intestinal failure

This study from Boston indicates that acid suppression was not associated with improved outcomes in infants with laryngomalacia (eg. lower supraglottoplasy rates or lower aspiration rates.

Related blog posts:

The study below showed that “less than half of children who started the low FODMAP diet were able to complete the elimination phase.” This indicates the need for careful dietary counseling when attempting this therapy.

Related blog posts:

The abstract below showed that the dietary intake of children with inflammatory bowel disease, who were not receiving enteral nutrition therapy, was similar to healthy control children.

The next two studies provide some pediatric experience with tofacitinib in teenagers with inflammatory bowel disease (14-18 years of age).  The first poster had 12 children and reported a 67% clinical response rate (cohort with 5 with CD, 5 with UC, and 2 with IC).  The second poster had 4 of 6 with a clinical response and 3 in remission.

Related blog posts -Tofacitinib:

Disclaimer: This blog, gutsandgrowth, assumes no responsibility for any use or operation of any method, product, instruction, concept or idea contained in the material herein or for any injury or damage to persons or property (whether products liability, negligence or otherwise) resulting from such use or operation. These blog posts are for educational purposes only. Specific dosing of medications (along with potential adverse effects) should be confirmed by prescribing physician.  Because of rapid advances in the medical sciences, the gutsandgrowth blog cautions that independent verification should be made of diagnosis and drug dosages. The reader is solely responsible for the conduct of any suggested test or procedure.  This content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a condition.

Those Probiotics May Actually Be Hurting Your ‘Gut Health’

A very readable article in the Wall Street Journal: Those Probiotics May Actually Be Your ‘Gut Health’ –may be behind a paywall. (Thanks to Ben Enav for sharing)

This study makes the following key points:

  • “In a landmark paper by my colleague Dr. Jennifer Wargo at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center that was published in Science last year, melanoma patients with the healthiest gut microbiomes—that is, the greatest diversity of microorganisms—showed enhanced systemic and antitumor immunity as well as significantly increased odds of responding to immunotherapy.”
  • “The preliminary results [from an MD Anderson Study] showed that patients who reported taking an over-the-counter probiotic supplement had a lower probability of responding to immunotherapy as well as lower microbiome biodiversity. But those eating a high-fiber diet were about five times more likely to respond to immunotherapy and had high gut bacteria diversity, including bacteria previously linked to a strong immunotherapy response.”
  • “The cheapest and safest way to improve our microbiome and gut health is to make simple dietary changes to feed the development of good bacteria and crowd out the bad. There is no pill, special food, unique diet or quick fix for what ails our health and diet. The key is simply to focus on eating a diverse, whole-food, plant-centered, high-fiber diet.”

More information on studies alluded to above:

Related blog posts:

#NASPGHAN19 Selected Abstracts (Part 1)

Link to full NASPGHAN 2019 Abstracts.

Here are some abstracts that I found interesting at this year’s NASPGHAN meeting:

NAFLD:

  1. Off-label use of topiramate may be helpful in stabilizing weight and improving NAFLD
  2. Socioeconomic barriers are frequent in NAFLD patients (the 2nd poster did not appear to show a control population):

Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis -Use of Vedolizumab for PSC did not appear to help

Eosinophilic Esophagitis

  1. EoE is four times more likely in this cohort with inflammatory bowel disease
  2. 2nd poster describes very early-onset EoE

Inflammatory Bowel Disease:

  1. Use of infliximab in VEO IBD.  Used in 46/122 (38% of patients) and 50% had persistent use 3 years later

Enteral nutrition –poster from our group describing good tolerance of plant-based formula (with Ana Ramirez).

Celiac disease.  This poster indicates low yield of additional serology for celiac disease besides TTG IgA and serum IgA. This includes testing in young patients (< 2 years) with celiac disease.

Food-borne Outbreaks and Lack of FDA Transparency

A recent opinion piece from FoodSafetyNews highlights the lack of transparency from the FDA regarding food-borne outbreaks (several more listed below).

Bill Marler: Publisher’s Platform: A bit more about the FDA and lack of Transparency

Here’s an excerpt:

The Halloween disclosure of a multistate E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce raises another concern about the FDA and transparency — the failure to disclose where consumers purchased the tainted product..

Under the Freedom of Information Act and Title 21 of the Code of Regulations, government agencies — and specifically, the FDA — are told to exempt trade secrets and commercial information from any of their releases…

Formulations, ingredients and how products are made are trade secrets.  Who supplied the tainted raw material, who made the tainted product and where the tainted product was sold are not a trade secrets – especially during an outbreak.  Simplicity, transparency and consistency allows for a visible supply chain and one that consumers can have confidence in. 

Recent outbreaks (thanks to colleague for these references):

Multistate Salmonella Outbreak Linked To Ground Beef Causes One Death, Eight Hospitalizations

  • Reuters (11/1, Maddipatla) reported, “A multistate outbreak of salmonella linked to ground beef has caused one death in California and eight hospitalizations, U.S. health officials said on Friday. A total of 10 people in six U.S. states were infected with a strain of the bacteria called Salmonella Dublin, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
  • TIME (11/2, Carlisle) reported, “Officials have not yet identified a single common source of the ground beef that is believed to be spreading the Salmonella Dublin based on epidemiological and laboratory evidence. According to the CDC, the sick individuals reported eating different brands of ground beef at different locations.”
  • CNN (11/1, Christensen) also reported the story.

Previously Undisclosed E. Coli Outbreak Linked To Romaine Lettuce Sickened Nearly Two Dozen People, FDA Says

  • The Washington Post (11/1, Brice-Saddler) reported, “A previously undisclosed E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce sickened nearly two dozen people between July and early September, the Food and Drug Administration said Thursday – a delayed announcement one food safety lawyer called a ‘lie to the public in all respects.’” The piece added, “Illnesses associated with the outbreak infected 23 people across 12 states from July 12 to Sept. 8, according to the FDA. No patients died of their illnesses, and officials say there is no ongoing public health risk.”

Dozens more fresh vegetable products because of Listeria monocytogenes risk (11/4) (FoodSafetyNews.com)

  • A (Canadian) nationwide recall of freshcut vegetables continues to expand with dozens of products and multiple brands now on the list. Products potentially contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes are cole slaw, riced cauliflower, green beans, noodles, kale salads and more.  Some of the products do not expire for 10 days or more, so consumers and businesses are urged to check their supplies for the recalled products listed here by the Canadian government

My take: Food-borne illnesses cause 48 million cases in U.S. each year (CDC estimates) and 3000 deaths (MMWR 64:2, 2015). More transparency is needed.

Related blog post: Food Safety Lecture-It’s Still A Jungle Out There

 

Prevalence of Bloodstream Infections in Children with SBS and Fever

Abstract Link: Prevalence of Bloodstream Infections in Children With Short‐Bowel Syndrome With a Central Line Presenting to Emergency Department With Fever

AC Fifi et al JPEN; https://doi.org/10.1002/jpen.1701

This retrospective study with 246 encounters identified the rate of bloodstream infections (BSI) in children with short bowel syndrome (SBS).

Key findings:

  • The adjusted calculated prevalence rate for BSI in children with SBS and fever was 55% (95% CI, 42.3%–65.4%)
  • There were 114 gram‐negative infections (72.6%), 46 gram‐positive infections (29.3%), and 17 fungal infections (10.8%)
  • Each additional 10 units above 20 mg/L CRP increased the odds of BSI by 26%. There was no association between WBC count and the presence of BSI

My take: This study supports the practice of using broad‐spectrum antibiotics in children with SBS and fever.

Related blog posts:

Atlanta Botanical Garden

In the News, New Cystic Fibrosis Study

More information related to today’s earlier post: In the News: Big Therapeutic Advance for Cystic Fibrosis

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Cystic fibrosis is caused by mutations in the gene encoding the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein, and nearly 90% of patients have at least one copy of the Phe508del CFTR mutation. In a phase 2 trial involving patients who were heterozygous for the Phe508del CFTR mutation and a minimal-function mutation (Phe508del–minimal function genotype), the next-generation CFTR corrector elexacaftor, in combination with tezacaftor and ivacaftor, improved Phe508del CFTR function and clinical outcomes.

METHODS

We conducted a phase 3, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to confirm the efficacy and safety of elexacaftor–tezacaftor–ivacaftor in patients 12 years of age or older with cystic fibrosis with Phe508del–minimal function genotypes. Patients were randomly assigned to receive elexacaftor–tezacaftor–ivacaftor or placebo for 24 weeks. The primary end point was absolute change from baseline in percentage of predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) at week 4.

RESULTS

A total of 403 patients underwent randomization and received at least one dose of active treatment or placebo. Elexacaftor–tezacaftor–ivacaftor, relative to placebo, resulted in a percentage of predicted FEV1 that was 13.8 points higher at 4 weeks and 14.3 points higher through 24 weeks, a rate of pulmonary exacerbations that was 63% lower, a respiratory domain score on the Cystic Fibrosis Questionnaire–Revised (range, 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating a higher patient-reported quality of life with regard to respiratory symptoms; minimum clinically important difference, 4 points) that was 20.2 points higher, and a sweat chloride concentration that was 41.8 mmol per liter lower (P<0.001 for all comparisons). Elexacaftor–tezacaftor–ivacaftor was generally safe and had an acceptable side-effect profile. Most patients had adverse events that were mild or moderate. Adverse events leading to discontinuation of the trial regimen occurred in 1% of the patients in the elexacaftor–tezacaftor–ivacaftor group.

CONCLUSIONS

Elexacaftor–tezacaftor–ivacaftor was efficacious in patients with cystic fibrosis with Phe508del–minimal function genotypes, in whom previous CFTR modulator regimens were ineffective. (Funded by Vertex Pharmaceuticals; VX17-445-102 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03525444. opens in new tab.)