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Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis is a rare, though increasingly common, disorder of the GI tract. The condition is often marked by difficulty swallowing, nausea and vomiting. In this episode of Patient Power, you will hear from two medical experts who specialize in treating gastrointestinal problems. Host Andrew Schorr first speaks with Dr. Phil Putnam, Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatric Gastroenterology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital , and secondly with Dr. Glen Furuta, who heads the American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders and is a pediatric gastroenterologist at the Children’s Hospital of Boston. These two specialists discuss eosinophils, how they function normally and how they can harm the body, and most importantly what you can do about it.

Dr. Putnam works for one of the leading centers in the world for pediatric GI disorders. He explains exactly what eosinophils are, and how having an excess of them in the esophagus or intestine can cause problems in both children and adults. Dr. Putnam describes symptoms exhibited by different age groups who suffer from the disorder, as well as what you should do if you think you or your child might have the condition.

Dr. Furuta helps us to understand what causes this condition and how it can be treated, as well. He also stresses the importance of getting an accurate diagnosis, and the benefits to seeking out doctors who specialize in your condition, especially in cases of rare, chronic conditions. Dr. Furuta goes into how best to advocate for yourself or your child in obtaining the best treatment and diagnosis possible.

It is vital to obtain an accurate diagnosis of eosinophilic gastroenteritis, especially in children, whose normal development can be affected more seriously by the disorder. While doctors are still researching new treatments and the exact causes of the condition, this program will explain the most up-to-date understandings of it from leading experts in the field. Listen to this program now to learn more.

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Produced in association with Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

Transcript

Ruthie:

Hi, this is Ruthie Schorr on Andrew Schorr's Patient Power. We’re here in Cincinnati for the Children's Hospital Conference on Eosinophilic Diseases. Here's my dad on Andrew Schorr's Patient Power.

Andrew Schorr:

Isn't she terrific? That's Ruth Schorr. She's 11-years old, and why are we in Cincinnati? We're in Cincinnati because it kind of follows a Patient Power principle. If you're new to the program, some people may know that every week I'm here at this time, and I'm a leukemia survivor, and I'm in what they call molecular remission. I was in a clinical trial. They can't find leukemia, and I'm convinced, and I think it may apply to your family too, that if you're diagnosed with something really serious and maybe uncommon, like my leukemia was, or the condition we'll talk about today that relates to gastrointestinal conditions, sometimes you have to get on a plane, connect with other patients, and connect with doctors who specialize in that condition because as you heard if you were listening to the news a minute ago they were talking about new research in eating disorders. So things are changing all the time. How can your own local doctor keep up, or if you have a specialist, if their subspecialty is not what you have, it may be that you need at least a consultation with somebody who focuses on that particular condition.

That's why we've come 2000 miles from where we are normally in Seattle all the way to Cincinnati, Ohio. We're broadcasting live from the Hilton Hotel here, the Netherland Plaza I believe it's called, where there's a conference going on of about 200 parents and children from really around the world, and these are people where there's been a diagnosis of a condition that my daughter Ruth has. They're called eosinophilic disorders of the GI tract basically, and we're going to learn more about that in a minute, but the point is these people said, 'You know what? I need to get smart.' And that's what Patient Power is about, because I want to make sure that the latest research, the latest understanding, the correct diagnosis is brought to bear for me as an adult or my child.

Now it so happens that there's a group of doctors here in Cincinnati, Ohio, who have made that their specialty, so that's why we're here in Cincinnati. There are some others in Philadelphia, Boston, and some other cities. Interestingly, there's nobody in Seattle that specializes in that. So when you really get down to the nitty-gritty of what's the latest, really paying attention to it, having research going on in your community so that you get the benefit of that, that's not happening where Ruth and I live, so we've come here.

What I want to talk about today is use this as an example of getting smart about your condition or your loved one's and if you need to, if it's not particularly common, maybe going somewhere or certainly networking with other patients, seeing if there's a patient advocacy group that deals with it, and then connecting with specialists and maybe even being in a clinical trial so that you, the family touched by this condition, are "at one" if you will, with the researchers trying to get to a cure and better understanding. That's exactly what's going on in the ballroom here in Cincinnati.

Now the reason we're here is there's this wonderful organization called The American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders, and we're going to learn what eosinophils are in just a second. A wonderful woman name Beth Mays, a mom from Houston, Texas, her child has this condition. She said, 'I'm going to get smart.' She networked with other moms and dads, formed an organization, got some unrestricted grants from some drug companies that were also doing research in this area, got some private contributions, got connected with doctors like the ones here in Cincinnati and the other researchers in Boston, Philadelphia, etc., and said, 'Let's form a community.' So there actually is a website. If for some reason you are touched by this condition, it's www.apfed.org.

Okay, let's go on and learn about this but also about this whole Patient Power concept and as it applies to this sort of gastrointestinal condition as an example. With me here in Cincinnati is a gentleman who lives here, a clinician, Dr. Phil Putnam. Dr. Putnam is an Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatric Gastroenterology at Cincinnati Children's, which is one of the leading centers in the world for this particular condition. Dr. Putnam, thank you so much for being with us today on Patient Power.

Dr. Putnam:

Good morning. Thanks for having me.

Andrew Schorr:

Dr. Putnam, did I say it right that there's a benefit for people who are told they may have a diagnosis, maybe not a particularly common one, where if they're not getting all the answers or it's not the clarity, or maybe the treatments have not proved effective where they live that sometimes they need to go the distance, if you will, and in the case of eosinophilic gastroenteritis, there are only a few places to go, right?

Dr. Putnam:

That's correct.

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