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Stomach ulcer risk is high for black kids

Black children are more likely than white children to get a bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers, a new study shows.In a 12-year study of 212 children, researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston found race to be a determining factor in H. pylori infection, even when socioeconomic status was consistent. Results were published in a recent edition of the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Scientists are guessing that the differences could be attributed to cultural background, diets or genetic susceptibility.

Helicobacter pulori is a bacteria that can cause gastritis, gastric and duodenal ulcers or gastric cancer. Previous studies have shown the infection to relate to socioeconomic status during childhood. But this study examined children in a biracial community with a homogeneous lower-middle socioeconomic class.

The study found that by age 7, 40 percent of the black American children but only 11 percent of the white children were infected with H. pylori. The risk of carrying the infection to early adulthood was 78 percent, a figure ranging from 50 percent in whites to 96 percent in blacks.

Self-eradication was significantly higher among whites, with 50 percent losing the infection, compared with only 4 percent of blacks.

1 adult in 5 may have irritable bowel woes

Irritable bowel syndrome is so common it affects as many as one in five adults. It causes frequent, sometimes disabling abdominal pain and discomfort, along with highly disruptive irregularities in bowel movements like diarrhea or constipation or even both.

There are things people can do to better manage the disorder, from dietary changes to relaxation techniques.

Glaxo Wellcome, a leader in research of gastrointestinal disorders, is offering a patient education booklet titled "Understanding IBS." It can be obtained by calling 1-800-307-7107.