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{bio,medical} informatics

Friday, March 10, 2000

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JAMA Clinical Aspects of Genetic Variability in Helicobacter pylori
"Helicobacter Pylori organisms have been infecting human stomachs for centuries. Antigens of these microaerophilic, gram-negative bacteria have been found in stool samples of ancient mummies. Today, it appears that more than half of the world's population is infected with H pylori. These organisms are adapted for survival in the stomach in which infection causes a chronic gastritis that persists for decades.

H pylori infection is strongly associated with peptic ulcer disease, and is widely accepted as a risk factor for gastric adenocarcinoma and mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma.

Recently, some researchers have proposed that H pylori strains that express cytotoxin-associated gene A (cagA) may be especially virulent, and that laboratory tests for cagA status might be useful for directing the management of infected patients. Others have disputed these claims. This report reviews the available epidemiological and clinical data to determine if tests for cagA status should be recommended for clinical application."

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Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs.


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