Blastocystis hominis. Is It Really A Problem?

Thursday, 15 October 2009 by | Comments: 84
Blastocystis hominis cyst-like forms in a wet mount stained in iodine

Blastocystis hominis cyst-like forms in a wet mount stained in iodine


Michael Ash BSc DO ND FDipION reviews the latest studies on this pathogen.

Blastocystis is an unusual enteric protozoan parasite of humans and many animals. It has a worldwide distribution and is often the most commonly isolated organism in parasitological surveys. The parasite has been described since the early 1900s, but only in the last decade or so have there been significant advances in the understanding of Blastocystis biology.

coverfigThe epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus is dramatically increasing. Environmental factors, such as sedentary life-style, hypercaloric, fat-rich diet and genetic susceptibility are considered major determinants of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Obesity and peripheral insulin resistance are hallmarks and major risk factors for development of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Cardiovascular complications (eg, atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease) of both metabolic disorders are associated with chronic subclinical inflammation.

Recent findings suggest that the amino acid glutamine reduces Helicobacter pylori-associated pathology in mice and may therefore have similar effects in humans with gastric ulcers caused by H. pylori.

Comment: Nearly 20 years ago, it was discovered that bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori were responsible for stomach ulcers. Since then, antibiotics have become the primary therapy used to combat the H. pylori infection, which affects approximately six percent of the world population and is also a primary cause of stomach cancer. But today the bacteria is growing increasingly resistant to antibiotics.

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