The bacterium is called Helicobacter pylori
and it is linked to such health problems such as gastritis, ulcers, and gastric cancer in some people (although many healthy people carry the bacterium without any illnesses developing. It has been estimated
that more than 50% of the world's population harbor H. pylori
in their upper gastrointestinal tract.).
Researchers now think that the bacterium also plays a role in the development of diabetes. Unlike the other diseases this is not by the bacterium being present but through its absence. The bacterium appears to function by balancing the stomach's ecosystem and controlling body weight and glucose tolerance.
has come from studies in mice. With the research, mice infected with H. pylori showed less insulin resistance than uninfected mice or other mice infected with a more virulent strain of H. pylori
The bacterium has been associated with people
for thousands of years. Based on this, the findings suggest that H. pylori
may provide important metabolic traits required to ameliorate diabetes in a way that humans have not managed to evolve on their own.
The decline with the H. pylori
population in people may be connected to the overuse of antibiotics. The overuse of antibiotics is linked to misdiagnosed infections in humans or to supplementary livestock feed.
The research has been conducted by immunologists at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute of Virginia Tech