Stomach ulcer protects against heart attack and cancer?

A team of scientists from New York University, USA, found that one of the most virulent strains of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. Pylori) has no effect on overall mortality and, on the other hand, can reduce the risk of developing stroke and some types of malignant diseases.

In what way?

Not everything is so simple

To better understand how exactly H. Pylori affects overall mortality / that is, the occurrence of death as and to be the reason/, scientists for years observed the human carriers of this bacterium, including those with the highly virulent strains in whose genome the cagA gene is present.

This study involved about 10,000 patients and lasted about 12 years. It was found that although people are carriers of this bacteria, it does not in any way affect their life expectancy and they do not die earlier than people not infected with H. Pylori.

However, as confirmation of previous research, this bacterium was found to increase the death rate from stomach cancer by 40 times .

On the other hand, the scientists found that when a personcarried the cagA strain of H. Pylori, they were 55% less likely to die from a stroke and with 45% of lung cancer compared to people in whom these strains of Helicobacter pylori are not detected.

This finding is surprising, as previously it was believed that H. pylori are extremely harmful bacteria, which cause the development of such diseases as gastritis, peptic ulcer disease and stomach cancer. However, one of the virulent strains, in the genome of which the specific gene cagA is present, interacts with the human organism in an ambiguous way.

If we talk about H. Pylori in general, the bacterium inhabits the stomach lining of more than half of the world’s population.

This especially applies to developing countries, including Bulgaria, where it is not safe enough from a sanitary and epidemiological point of view and antibiotics are not used as often as in developed countries.

However, excessive use of antibiotics is also risky, as bacteria gradually become insensitive to them, even recently, startling data was published, according to which deaths due to infections with such microorganisms will surpass those of oncology diseases.

H. Pylori infection usually occurs in early childhood up to 10 years and is passed on to family members. But despite this, scientists are not aware of the mechanism of infection with this bacterium.

What is the reason for the “duplicity” of H. Pylori?

Unfortunately, at the moment it is not known what mechanisms determine the positive impact of the bacterium on health and what is the function of the gene cagA in this. Some health experts suggest that this may be related to the activation of a special population of regulatory T-lymphocytes as a result of the developing infectious process.

However, research in this direction should continue and one day we will know the answer.

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