U.S. researchers reported that a bacteria only recently revealed as a major cause of ulcers and stomach cancer may help protect children from developing asthma.
Children infected with the bacteria, called Helicobacter pylori, were much less likely to have asthma than uninfected children, they reported.
The findings suggest that absence of H. pylori may be one explanation for the increased risk of childhood asthma.
“Among teens and children ages 3 to 19 years, carriers of H. pylori were 25 percent less likely to have asthma.”
Children aged 3 to 13 were 59 percent less likely to have asthma if they also had H. pylori, they reported in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.
The researchers used data on more than 7,000 U.S. children from the National Health and Nutrition Survey conducted from 1999 to 2000 by the National Center for Health Statistics.
The study showed that 5.4 percent of children born in the 1990s tested positive for H. pylori.
“The disappearance of Helicobacter … is consistent with the decline of both ulcer disease and stomach cancer.
It is also consistent with the rise of asthma and esophageal diseases like GERD (gastric reflux disease) and adenocarcinoma (cancer) of the esophagus.” [Esophagus cancer]
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