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Jan 2008 article: gut bacteria, ibd, ibs, fibromyalgia, etc, etc

December 6, 2007

Journal: Current Opinion in Gastroenterology
Issue: January 2008; 24(1):11-6. PMID: 18043226

Article: Alterations in intestinal microbial flora and human disease

The January 2008 article in a prominent medical journal focuses on the role of "gut flora in human disease." Below, I've attempted to summarize/describe parts of the article relating to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS):

The article starts off with an introduction which reads:

Our intestinal microbial flora includes a variety of microorganisms, predominantly bacteria, which colonize the gut of all living organisms. Colonization of the gut begins at birth with the first exposure to the flora of the birth canal. Shortly after birth, hundreds of species of bacteria and archaea establish themselves in the human gastrointestinal tract [1,2]. For decades the importance in human health of gut microbes, commonly referred to as commensal flora, despite advanced knowledge of the microbial world, has been underappreciated. [italics added]

The summary of the article reads: We focus on the example of an abnormal expansion of gut microbial flora into the small bowel or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and discuss the effects of bacterial overgrowth on the human host in acute pancreatitis, bacterial gastroenteritis, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, hepatic encephalopathy, and fibromyalgia and burn injury. The identification of the underlying role of altered commensal gut microbiota in these and other human diseases could lead to novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies that would improve clinical outcome.