NIH-funded Study Finding: Investigational Oral Regimen for Hepatitis C Shows Promise
In a study of an all-oral drug regimen, a majority of volunteers with liver damage due to hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection were cured following a six-month course of therapy that combined an experimental drug, sofosbuvir, with the licensed antiviral drug ribavirin. The results showed that the regimen was highly effective in clearing the virus and well tolerated in a group of patients who historically have had unfavorable prognoses. The findings appear in the Aug. 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The Phase II trial involved 60 volunteers with genotype-1 HCV, which tends to be less responsive to interferon-based treatment. Fifty of the 60 participants were African-American, a population that represents more than 22 percent of people with chronic HCV infection and has lower cure rates with traditional therapy than whites.
“There is a pressing need for hepatitis C virus treatments that are less burdensome to the patient, have fewer side effects and take less time to complete. Building on previous work, this trial provides compelling evidence that interferon-free regimens can be safe and effective,” said National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., the study’s co-author.
NIH-funded Study Finding: Data Supports Benefits of Colon Cancer Screening
According to research findings from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, people who underwent colorectal cancer screenings were less likely to develop colon cancer or die from the disease than people who were not screened.
The study and its follow-up looked at 88,902 participants, followed over a 22-year period. During that time, 1,815 incident cases of colorectal cancer were documented. Researchers estimate that 40 percent of colorectal cancers that developed during follow-up may have been prevented if all study participants had undergone colonoscopy.
Researchers note that these findings support the 10-year examination interval recommended by existing guidelines for persons at average risk for colorectal cancer who have a negative colonoscopy. More frequent screening intervals may be necessary for people with a family history of colorectal cancer.
Tips for Finding Reliable Health Information Online
Finding accurate, reliable, and current health information online can be difficult and overwhelming. The Internet has a wealth of health information—some information is true and accurate, and some is not.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when visiting a website:
- Websites should have a way to contact the organization or webmaster. If the site provides no contact information or it is not clear who runs the site, use caution.
- Beware of claims that offer one cure for a variety of illnesses, like a breakthrough or secret ingredient.
- Look for latest findings from research, not an individual’s opinion.
- And, always remember to write down questions to bring to doctor visits.
Several Government resources offer additional tips when searching for online health information:
MedlinePlus Guide to Healthy Web Surfing
Evaluating Internet Health Information: A Tutorial from the National Library of Medicine
NIDDK Healthy Moments Series
FAQ: Reference & Consumer Health Questions
Finding and Evaluating Online Resources on Complementary Health Approaches
Evaluating Online Sources of Health Information
Online Health Information: Can You Trust It?
New and Updated Publications
- Digestive Diseases Statistics for the United States
- Dumping Syndrome
- The Digestive System and How It Works
- Virtual Colonoscopy
- What I need to know about Bowel Control (Spanish)