Scientists have identified how a type of infection can change a person’s appetite, leading to increased body mass index which is a significant factor in the development of coronary heart disease.

The infection Helicobacter pylori affects the stomach and an area of the small intestine and can cause abnormal glucose and lipid metabolism, chronic inflammatory reactions, and vitamin deficiency.

The infection causes death in some countries, but the link between Helicobacter pylori and coronary heart disease (CHD) is not clear.

Researchers set out to examine this relationship using the bidirectional Mendelian randomization (MR) method, a type of analysis that attempts to differentiate whether factor A is a cause or a consequence of factor B or whether there is a true bidirectional causal effect between A and B.

The team from the First Hospital of Jilin University in China analysed data from 60,801 individuals and 123,504 controls from 48 research studies.

They found that Helicobacter pylori infections were linked to increased body mass index, a significant factor in CHD incidence.

It is thought that the infection’s operation could be via the brain-gut axis, resulting in a changed appetite and triggering energy intake.

This in turns leads to greater BMI.

In summary, the study found that BMI mediates the causal effects of Helicobacter pylori infections on CHD. Preventing or eliminating this infection could indirectly bring about benefits for people with CHD.

Read the study here.

Get our free newsletters

Stay up to date with the latest news, research and breakthroughs.

You May Also Like

Type 2 diabetes found to be a ‘significant risk factor’ among stroke victims

More evidence has been published which supports that diabetes is a “significant…

Public Health England considers low carb approach for type 2 diabetes

The low carb approach is being considered by the government to be…

Top diabetes professor drafts risk assessment document for frontline COVID-19 staff

The health and wellbeing of frontline NHS staff has been prioritised among…