The Discovery Of Helicobacter Pylori

August 30, 2019

Thanks for joining me again about helicobacter.
It’s Eric Bakker, naturopath from New Zealand. We’re going to talk about the discovery of
H. pylori. It’s quite an interesting story and it all started in Australia. The country
where I was born. If we go back probably to the 1970s, there
was a doctor called Dr. Robin Warren who was born in 1937. Dr. Warren, I still believe
he’s alive today. He would probably be in his late 70s. He is an internal specialist,
so he’s a digestive specialist doctor. What he basically discovered is many people with
gastric problems have this particular bacterium. He started to look at lots of samples of gastric
fluid from people with ulceration of the stomach and he found, particularly down the atrium,
the bottom part of the stomach, this curve shaped bacteria that they really didn’t have
any idea what it was. What he also noticed was every time they found this bacteria, they
found inflammation of the stomach in the area. That’s very crucial information that we’ll
talk about later. Robin Warren discovered this but then Barry
Marshall who is a friend of Robin’s, got very excited and interested in this. What they
did is they got 100 patients with stomach problems and they took biopsies and they found
that over 80 percent of these people, particularly if they had ulceration, had this bacterium
that was originally called campylobacter pylori, but later got called helicobacter pylori.
But the crucial finding as I mentioned before was the inflammation.
What Doctors Marshall and Warren discovered was they could give antacids and drugs to
these people and eradicate the symptoms, but it would always come back again. And only
when they eradicated the bacteria with different kinds of antibiotics, which we now call “triple
therapy.” Only when they successfully pulled those numbers right down, the inflammation
went away. That’s when the digestive symptoms were significantly improved in the patient.
Later on, they tried to discuss their findings, but basically, they were ridiculed for a long
time until Dr. Barry Marshall infected himself with a test tube of this stuff and basically
developed the inflammation. He had an endoscopy performed, which is basically a camera down
into the stomach and did an internal digestive examination that revealed he was clear. There
was nothing in there. Then he infected himself with the tube of the helicobacter, developed
the inflammation, and consequently got rid of it with an antibiotic. From that day, doctors
are for sure that most gastric ulceration comes from a helicobacter infection.
What I’m discovering in my clinic that many people, in fact, have symptoms of helicobacter
infection, but they don’t really have helicobacter upon diagnosis. We’ll talk about that later
on, which is very mysterious. Many of these patients improve significantly once we start
treating for bacteria of the upper digestive system. My suspicion is there are many different
kinds of bacteria apart from H. pylori that potentially live in different people. And
I think in years to come, we’ll start noticing different kinds of bacteria can live in many
parts of the digestive system that currently we are ignoring.
That’s a little bit about Doctors Marshall and Warren. I think they got that conjoined
or they both together got the Nobel Prize in 2005 for that discovery, which is incredible.
I’m just looking at my other computer here and there’s a saying I really like from a
guy who got the Nobel Prize in 1937. “Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen
and thinking and what nobody has thought.” How’s that? Every one of you would’ve seen
the stomach inflammation, but nobody would’ve thought that bacteria could have been possibly
causing the problem. Meet me in the next video and we’re going
to be talking about the signs and symptoms of H. pylori infection. Thank you.

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