When they're not with patients, some doctors are in the lab. (Metro file photo)
Your doctor might hold the cure for a problem that’s been bugging the medical community. Read on to learn about three local physicians’ exciting fieldwork. Doctor-patient communication’s importance in cancer prevention
Who’s doing it? Columbia University’s Dr. Charles Basch, colorectal cancer researcher for the American Cancer Society
What did he do? Basch’s research is a follow-up to a previous study that led to increased awareness of colon cancer screening. But with screening rates still low, more needed to be done. “This study targets doctors as a potential source of communication,” he says. “We need to provide doctors with adaptive training and educate them on the barriers patients face. Doctors need to make patients more comfortable.”
When will treatment be available? He’s hoping to discern the study’s effectiveness “in the coming months,” he says. “All doctors agree that colonoscopies prevent colon cancer, but we need to tailor the conversation. Then we can implement it better.”
New minimally invasive procedure for diabetes and weight loss
Who’s doing it? Dr. Louis Aronne, Sanford I. Weill professor of metabolic research at Weill Cornell Medical College
What did he do? Aronne helped develop a liner “to block the absorption of calories from the first part of the intestine.” The non-surgical procedure takes a half hour to insert, and patients go home the same day. “It’s an alternative to gastric bypass and might reduce the amount of drugs diabetics take.”
When will it be available? FDA registration trials will take a couple years, but it will be longer before the procedure is available. Right now, “we’re recruiting people for the trials,” Aronne says.
Probiotics for healing acne and rosacea, and slowing skin aging
Who’s doing it? Dr. Whitney Bowe, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, and member of the American Academy of Dermatology
What did she do? Some women taking probiotics for yeast infections noticed another benefit: better skin. “We found that these microorganisms kill off the bacteria that cause acne,” says Bowe. “Then, we found probiotics benefit rosacea and skin aging.”
When will treatment be available? Some topical products are already out, but “only a few have any good evidence behind them,” she says. You can find probiotics in foods like yogurt, miso and sauerkraut.