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Helicobacter pylori infection linked to decreased iron levels in otherwise healthy children, according to research at UTHealth
Date:3/7/2011

HOUSTON-(March 7, 2011)- Children without previous iron deficiencies or anemia who remained infected with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) had significantly lower levels of iron compared to children who had the infection eradicated, according to researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

"Half of the world's population is infected with H. pylori and most of the individuals are asymptomatically infected, according to several surveys," said Victor Cardenas, M.D., Ph.D., lead investigator of the study and associate professor of epidemiology at The University of Texas School of Public Health El Paso Regional Campus, part of UTHealth. "What we learned in this study is not only does H. pylori cause iron deficiency anemia and iron-deficiency, but that even among children who do not have these conditions, their levels of iron are lower than otherwise healthy children." The research is published in the March issue of the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition.

Researchers investigated the link between H. pylori infection and iron levels in non-iron-deficient preschool and school age children in El Paso and found the infection causes a decrease in the levels of iron in children who do not have anemia or an iron deficiency. The bacterium H. pylori infects the lining of the stomach resulting in chronic swelling of tissue, a condition known as gastritis. H. pylori is also a major cause of peptic ulcer disease and the cause of most cancers of the stomach, according to the World Health Organization.

"Iron is an essential nutrient which supports several body functions and exists in small amounts in the body, but it is also required by bacteria such as H. pylori," said Cardenas. "The infection decreases the body's natural progression of making iron." According to Cardenas, this is the first study conducted in the contiguous U.S. to examine the
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Contact: Jade Waddy
jade.waddy@uth.tmc.edu
713-500-3307
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Source:Eurekalert

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