New Long-Term Study on Eosinophilic Esophagitis

Doctor Looking in Microscope ca. 2000

We’re always keeping our eyes peeled and our ears tuned for new news on eosinophilic esophagitis (also EoE or EE). This matters to us because many children with EoE  use Neocate products, as part of their special, healthy diet.

The Study

Dr. Charles DeBrosse and Dr. James Franciosi at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where there is a Center for Eosinophilic Disorders, recently published a new research study about the long-term effects of EoE.  If you’re interested in reading the study here are links to the study abstract as well as a great summary.

The Results

The research team looked at over 100 patients with esophagitis; some had EoE, while others had chronic esophagitis, and compared them to patients who had no esophagitis. On average, this was about 15 years after the patients developed esophagitis. EoE research was in its early stages back then, and many patients went undiagnosed or were misdiagnosed. The participants answered questions about their symptoms and quality of life. The researchers then compared the results of each of the groups to see what differences really stood out.

Patients with EoE reported a lower quality of life and experienced more trouble swallowing and had food become stuck in their esophagus more often. Those patients with higher eosinophil counts in childhood had more trouble swallowing as adults. Also, patients with a diagnosed food allergy were more likely to have trouble swallowing and to have food become stuck in their esophagus.

The Bottom Line

As the researchers concluded, EoE “is associated with reduced quality of life and persistent symptoms 15 years after presentation.” They also noted that both increased eosinophil counts and the presence of food allergy in childhood increase the rate of trouble swallowing in young adulthood. It doesn’t sound very positive, but it’s what many of us expected: there is a strong link between food allergies and symptoms among patients with EoE, and high eosinophil levels can have a lasting impact.

What Can We Take Away from This?

Sure, the results and conclusion don’t sound great at first, but there are a few things to keep in mind. For one, a HUGE amount of research has been conducted on EoE in the last 15 years, and we’ve learned a lot! Patients who had EoE 15 years ago had a much different experience than patients with EoE today have. For instance, the way that EoE is diagnosed and treated has improved in that time. Also, many more of today’s health care teams can recognize, diagnose, and treat EoE, which is more widely known. And many teams also include allergy testing as part of the care process for EoE.

There are also options for managing EoE that are now in wide use. For instance, elimination diets and elemental diets (which we’ll blog about in a few weeks – stay tuned) have come a long way. Elemental diets (or amino acid-based formulas) can be especially helpful in getting EoE under control and are useful in diagnostic phases. These formulas can help improve trouble swallowing when EoE isn’t under control, which can mean better outcomes. They can also provide key nutrients when added to a very limited diet.

Children on elemental diets have lots of options these days in the Neocate family of products. We have Neocate Junior, which is available in several flavors. We also have Neocate Splash, which not only comes in multiple flavors, but is also in drink box form, so it’s just as ready-to-go as your child! And for children who miss solid textures on an elemental diet, Neocate Nutra can provide a change of scenery, especially prepared in one of our recipes.

What did you learn from the new research that was published in June?

– Rob McCandlish, RDN

[Photo: Microsoft Images]

Published: 10/06/2011
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