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October 4, 1995

Helicobacter pyloriThe Etiologic Agent for Peptic Ulcer

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, Charlottesville.

JAMA. 1995;274(13):1064-1066. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530130070032

UNRAVELING the puzzle of Helicobacter pylori and its pivotal role in gastric disease was not done in isolation. Many of the pieces were already available but dispersed over 100 years in journals of different languages and subspecialties. The prevailing dogma was that the stomach was sterile and that bacteria could not survive in gastric acid, but there were articles describing gastric spiral bacteria as far back as 1886.1 Even after the advent of endoscopy, descriptions of the presence of curved organisms on the surface of the gastric mucosa were ignored by mainstream medicine.

REDISCOVERY OF H PYLORI  Fourteen years have passed since my work on H pylori began. In 1981, Robin Warren at Royal Perth Hospital in Western Australia first showed me the spiral bacteria he had discovered in patients with gastritis. Together we embarked on an attempt to culture the organisms by taking gastric biopsy specimens from patients

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