Monday, November 24, 2008

Does my breath smell?

It appears that Helicobacter pylori may be the cause of halitosis (aka 'bad breath') as well.

H. pylori is a very interesting bug. It appears to have first been identified in the 1800's, though the work didn't really go anywhere. The issue was readdressed in the early 80's, with the work of scientists Barry Marshall and J.R. Warren, who linked the organism to stomach ulcers. This was met with a fair bit of skepticism, but Marshall showed them (did he ever!) by drinking a flask of the bug and promptly coming down with a stomach ulcer. In addition to being a really stupid thing to do, it eventually earned them the Nobel Prize in 2005. There are also links between H. pylori and stomach cancer, which makes the issue of halitosis rather small potato's in the grand scheme of things. It's estimated that roughly 50% of the worlds population carries the organism, though only a percentage of those carriers ever present with any sort of symptoms.

4 comments:

Rhea Miller said...

H. pylori is my favorite bug. Everyones gotta have one...well....every nerd has to have one.......

Lena said...

are there any old country docs (or nurses) out there who can suspect h-pylori infection by the odor of the pts. breath? here in a small village high in the Himalayas we don't have easy access to labs. and gastritis is affecting 70% of the population.......

Anonymous said...

Hey,

Thanks for sharing this link - but unfortunately it seems to be down? Does anybody here at bioenergyrus.blogspot.com have a mirror or another source?


Cheers,
James

Thomas Joseph said...

James, It seems to be working for me.