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Gum disease bacteria linked to esophageal cancer

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KATHMANDU — At least three types of bacteria in the mouths may heighten or lower their risk of developing esophageal cancer, Researchers at NYU Langone Health’s Perlmutter Cancer Center have reported.

The study, publishing online Dec 1 in the journal Cancer Research, tracked the oral health of 122,000 Americans for 10 years which found that the presence of two types of bacteria linked with gum disease may hike the risk of the cancer.

An analysis of data from two national studies, finds a 21 percent increased cancer risk tied to the presence of Tannerella forsythia, bacteria commonly linked to gum disease.

By contrast, types of Streptococcus and Neisseria bacteria were associated with as much as a 24 percent decrease in risk for esophageal cancer. Neisseria are known to break down the toxins in tobacco smoke, and smokers are known to have lower amounts of these bacteria in their mouths than nonsmokers.

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The study,led by NYU Langone Health’s Perlmutter Cancer Center in New York, NY, also reveals that some types of mouth bacteria are linked to lower risk of esophageal cancer.

Gum disease has already been linked in numerous studies to a heightened risk of the number one killer, heart disease. But an expert in esophageal cancer who reviewed the new findings stressed that researchers can’t yet prove a causal link to esophageal tumors.

“What is not clear is whether the presence of these bacteria or the resultant periodontal disease is primarily responsible for the development of cancer,” said Dr Anthony Starpoli, associate director of esophageal endotherapy at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

Starpoli believes specialists should consider a proper evaluation of the oral cavity as well as the remainder of the digestive tract in the hope of early diagnosis of esophageal cancer.

Senior investigator of the study Jiyoung Ahn, an associate professor and epidemiologist at NYU School of Medicine, believes that the findings will take us closer to establishing the causes of esophageal cancer.

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Esophageal cancer is the eighth most common cancer and the sixth leading cause of cancer death worldwide, the study authors noted.

“Our study brings us much closer to identifying the underlying causes of these cancers because we now know that at least in some cases disease appears consistently linked to the presence of specific bacteria in the upper digestive tract,” says Ahn.

“Conversely, we have more evidence that the absence or loss of other bacteria in the mouth may lead to these cancers, or to gut diseases that trigger these cancers.”

Ahn said, “Esophageal cancer is a highly fatal cancer, and there is an urgent need for new avenues of prevention, risk stratification, and early detection.”

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Kidney disease may up risk of diabetes

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Kidney disease may up risk of diabetes. Representational image.

KATHMANDU — It is known that diabetes increase a person’s risk of kidney disease. But, now a new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that the converse also is true which means Kidney dysfunction also increases the risk of diabetes.

The researchers deduced that a likely culprit of the two-way relationship between kidney disease and diabetes is urea. The risk may be attributed to the rising level of urea — the nitrogen-containing waste product in blood, which comes from the breakdown of protein in foods.

“We have known for a long time that diabetes is a major risk factor for kidney disease, but now we have a better understanding that kidney disease, through elevated levels of urea, also raises the risk of diabetes,” said the Ziyad Al-Aly, Assistant Professor at the Washington University in St. Louis.

The nitrogen-containing waste product in blood comes from the breakdown of protein in foods. Kidneys normally remove urea from the blood, but it can build up when kidney function slows down.

Kidneys normally remove urea from the blood, but it can build up when kidney function slows down, resulting in greater insulin resistance as well as secretion in the body.

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“When urea builds up in the blood because of kidney dysfunction, it often results in increased insulin resistance and impaired insulin secretion,” Ziyad added.

The findings are significant because urea levels can be lowered through medication, diet — for example, by eating less protein — and other means, thereby allowing for improved treatment and possible prevention of diabetes, the researchers said.

For the study, the team evaluated the records of 1.3 million adults without diabetes over a five-year period, beginning in 2003.

Out of these, 117,000 of those without diabetes — or 9 per cent — had elevated urea levels, signalling poor kidney function and were at 23 per cent higher risk of developing diabetes .

The study, conducted in collaboration with the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System, is published December 11 in Kidney International journal.

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