Helicobacter connections

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34 Citations (Scopus)


After preliminary studies in 1981, Marshall and Warren conducted a study in which the new bacterium Helicobacter pylori was cultured. In that series, 100% of 13 patients with duodenal ulcer were found to be infected. The hypothesis that peptic ulcer was caused by a bacterial infection was not accepted without a fight. Most experts believed that Helicobacter was a harmless commensal, infecting people who had ulcers for some other reason. In response, Marshall drank a culture of Helicobacter to prove that the bacteria could infect a healthy person and cause gastritis. The truth behind peptic ulcers was revealed; that is, very young children acquired the Helicobacter organism, leading to a chronic infection which caused a lifelong susceptibility to peptic ulcers. Marshall developed new treatments for the infection and diagnostic tests which allowed the hypothesis to be evaluated and proven. After 1994 Helicobacter was generally accepted as the cause of most gastroduodenal diseases including peptic ulcer and gastric cancer. As a result of this knowledge, treatment is a simple procedure, and stomach surgery has become a rarity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)783-802
Number of pages20
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes


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