Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a condition that causes swallowing problems, particularly in younger
patients. EoE, which is believed to result from allergic processes, has
dramatically increased in frequency in the last decade, but the reasons
for this increase remain unknown.
After a series of epidemiologic articles and presentations at national
gastroenterology meetings, in which they detailed the frequency of EoE
in various United States populations, Researchers Genta and Lash of Inform Diagnostics
Life Sciences, in collaboration with Evan Dellon and other researchers
from the Center for Esophageal Diseases and Swallowing of the University
of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC, made a discovery
that may help better understand the recent increase in EoE.
In a paper just published in
Gastroenterology, the authors investigated about 8,000 patients with EoE and 155,000 subjects
without this condition, all of whom had their biopsy specimens diagnosed
at Inform Diagnostics. They found that
H. pylori infection was inversely associated with esophageal eosinophilia.
H. pylori infection of the stomach has been declining in the United States for several
years, the authors suspect that the decreasing exposure to
H. pylori may have resulted in a greater incidence of allergic conditions, including EoE.
Even if this proves to be correct, the authors warn that this is an epidemiologic
study, and no individual patient should think that having a gastric infection
is good because it prevents eosinophilic esophagitis!
Inverse association of esophageal eosinophilia with Helicobacter pylori
based on analysis of a US pathology database.
Dellon ES, Peery AF, Shaheen NJ, Morgan DR, Hurrell JM, Lash RH,
Gastroenterology, Jul 12 2011 (epub)