This transcript has been edited for clarity. For more episodes, download the Medscape app or subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your preferred podcast provider.
Sunanda Kane, MD, MSPH: Hello. I’m Dr Sunanda Kane. Welcome to Medscape’s InDiscussion series on ulcerative colitis (UC). Today we’ll be discussing alternative therapies in UC with our guest, Dr David Hass. Dr Hass is the medical director for the PACT Gastroenterology Center and Director of Endoscopy at the Yale New Haven Hospital, Saint Raphael Campus. Welcome to InDiscussion. David, thanks for joining me this afternoon. My question is, first, how did you get interested in this topic in the first place?
David J. Hass, MD: Thanks so much for having me. It is always a privilege to see you. Thanks for inviting me. I would say my interest in this topic about 18 years ago, when I was at the University of Pennsylvania. When I was there, I saw many veterans in my clinic who used all kinds of supplements, and I could not in any way, shape, or form counsel them on the safety of those supplements. A gentleman who was there and is still there, James Lewis, who you might know, and I started working on a project. Through the institutional review board (IRB), we wrote to every supplement company that promoted digestive health and asked for literature supporting efficacy and supporting the data for the health claim that they made. We asked them to provide safety data and we asked them to provide us medication interaction data. We learned over the course of that year that there really isn’t a whole lot of data. That spawned my interest in supplement therapy and regulation. Fast-forward a few years later, I was now practicing in Connecticut and had a very, very interesting population of young college students and graduate students, many of whom had been treated for a variety of different conditions and had been to several gastroenterologists. These students had had every scope, scan, and medication trial and were coming to me for functional abdominal pain or something of that nature. I started looking into and reading to find out what was evidence-based from a complementary and alternative perspective so that I could be helpful. I was lucky enough to find someone locally who was a certified hypnotherapist. At that time, hypnotherapy wasn’t really so mainstream; we’re talking about maybe almost 15 years ago. I did the coursework, which was over 100 hours of coursework, to become a certified hypnotherapist so that I could implement that in my arsenal of treating functional bowel patients. From that, I was afforded wonderful opportunities to learn more and self-educate about a variety of different technologies and strategies for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). The most important thing I learned through this journey was that it enabled me to form the best relationships with patients. Historically, we as physicians don’t know a lot about CAM, so we tend to dismiss it, which