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Helicobacter pylori is the bacteria that causes gastritis (inflammation of stomach lining) and gastric/peptic ulcer disease and its discovery paved a new and effective way of treating these debilitating diseases. Australian scientists discovered the bacterium by studying gastrointestinal tissue biopsies under a microscope and then consuming some of the bacteria seen to support their theory of the bacteria's involvement in producing inflammation and ulceration of the gut. Before this time it was believed that stress and lifestyle play an important role in the development of peptic ulcers, which can cause serious disease with gut perforation, bleeding and cancer. Now, the previously chronic illness can be cured with antibiotics and reduction of stomach acid with agents such as proton pump inhibitors.
Source: summary of medical news story as reported by The Scientist
About: Nobel Prize for Medicine to discoverers of bacteria causing ulcers
Date: 3 October 2005
Source: The Scientist
Author: Stephen Pincock
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