More than 20 million Americans suffer from chronic heartburn, and for most people medication and antacids only provide temporary relief. At UCSD, a free clinical trial hopes to solve your sour stomach.
For years, Gina Levine has suffered from a burning, painful heartburn that forces her to burp after every meal.
"It doesn't happen right away, but I'm saying 'excuse me' an awful lot," she joked.
Gina suffers from what's called gastroesophageal reflux disease - or GERD. Just one day ago, Doctor Santiago Horgan performed a simple 20-minute procedure on Gina. He slipped a bracelet-looking contraption called a LINX around her esophagus.
"It truly amazed me that magnets can now be used not to play like when we were kids, but to treat patients," Gina said.
People who suffer from GERD often have a malfunctioning muscle in their lower esophagus that allows stomach gas and reflux to bubble back up into their chest and throat. Doctors hope the LINX can create a reliable and flexible valve that allows food to pass through to the stomach and stay there, putting a halt to heartburn.
Just hours after surgery, Gina is already drinking coffee and eating meals.
"It's kind of fun, something to talk about... it's like an internal jewelry because it looks like a little bracelet," she said.
Gina is just the second person in the world to take part in this free one-year clinical trial, and she says she's noticing a difference already.
"Actually I feel great. I'm surprised how well I'm doing and as I was eating my first meal afterwards I wasn't really thinking about, you know, my stomach at all. I don't feel the device and it feels good," she said.
Not only is the LINX procedure reversible, but rare earth magnets are so high end they won't wear out over time and lose their magnetism. In fact, they are expected to outlast the patients.
If you are between the ages of 18 and 75 and suffer from GERD, you may qualify for the free clinical trial. The program is looking for up to 40 new patients.
Several people in the News 8 newsroom have called in sick lately, which is pretty common this time of year. Flu and cold season runs from October through April and while they're both tough to deal with, there are some major differences between the two.
Two more flu deaths in San Diego County have brought this season's death toll to 11, county health officials announced Wednesday.
Cold, wet weather can prove to be the perfect breeding ground for viral infections. The nurse practitioners at CVS Minute Clinic said recent conditions have lead to an increase in flu cases.
A trip to the hospital can be costly, but a new federal law that went into effect on Wednesday aims to make hospital costs more transparent by requiring all hospital to list their prices online.
Another flu death was reported in San Diego County last week, bringing this season’s total to seven, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced on Wednesday.
San Diego County could have reduced the risk of the spread of hepatitis A last year with better organization and hastened vaccination efforts, according to a report released Thursday by State Auditor Elaine Howle.
A variety of health issues is slowing things down for some San Diegans as the holiday rush enters its final phase. The nurse practitioners at CVS Minute Clinic said knowing how to treat those symptoms can make or break your yule tide cheer.
As cold and flu season ramps up, it's important to keep your immune system up as well. The nurse practitioners at CVS Minute Clinic have some good reminders for getting through though the holidays while keeping those bugs at bay.
The sounds of the Holidays can be heard throughout the county, but some San Diegans might have trouble picking them up. The nurse practitioners at CVS Minute Clinic said ear health is front and center and some of their clinics right now.
Vaccines are in high demand across San Diego County, but the nurse practitioners at CVS Minute Clinic said they are prepared.