National Digestive Diseases
Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC)

A service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

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NIH-funded Study Finding: Investigational Oral Regimen for Hepatitis C Shows Promise

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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:

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MedlinePlus Guide to Healthy Web Surfing
This page includes suggestions for evaluating the quality of health information on websites.

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Evaluating Internet Health Information: A Tutorial from the National Library of Medicine
This 16-minute tutorial from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) teaches consumers to evaluate the health information found on the Web.

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NIDDK Healthy Moments Series
Healthy Moments is an annual series of weekly radio episodes featuring National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Director Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., M.A.C.P. Each week, Dr. Rodgers provides tips on how to prevent and manage a variety of diseases and conditions. See the 7/15/13 radio broadcast “4 Tips for Finding Reliable Health Information Online.”

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FAQ: Reference & Consumer Health Questions
This page from the NLM provides health information and NLM resources based on frequently asked consumer health questions.

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Finding and Evaluating Online Resources on Complementary Health Approaches
This guide from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine provides help for finding reliable websites, and outlines things to consider in evaluating health information from websites and social media sources.

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Evaluating Online Sources of Health Information
The National Cancer Institute provides a list of questions for consumers to ask when looking for cancer information online. A video from the Federal Trade Commission is included.

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Online Health Information: Can You Trust It?
The National Institute on Aging provides information for older adults on finding reliable sources of health information online.

New and Updated Publications

The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse is a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health.

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse
2 Information Way
Bethesda, MD 20892–3570
Phone: 1–800–891–5389
TTY: 1–866–569–1162
Fax: 703–738–4929
Email: nddic@info.niddk.nih.gov
Internet: www.digestive.niddk.nih.gov

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