TRACKING THE BUG:: A reliable test that just takes too much time

Doctors accept that the H pylori bug is responsible for many cases of persistent dyspepsia. The trouble is that they don’t have a simple and reliable test to detect it.
The UK’s health service alone spends £500m a year treating dyspepsia with a range of medications – and yet the H pylori bug can be eliminated with a simple course of antibiotics, assuming anyone knows that it’s there.
The most simple and reliable test is the breath test, which detects the products of the enzyme urease produced by the live H pylori bug in the stomach. It’s also 95 per cent accurate.
With that sort of track record, you can bet your house on the fact that it’s the one test that has not been adopted by the National Health Service. Why? Because it’s time consuming, is the official response. The test takes fully 20 minutes to complete and involves a test at the beginning and the end of that time period.
So instead the UK tends to use the serology test, which is dramatically less accurate than the breath test. Even a positive result can mean one of three things: that the patient has the bug, that he did have the bug, or that he doesn’t have the bug at all and the result is being caused by other infections. Overall it causes four times as many false positives as the breath test.
So what can we learn from this? If we’ve got the time, we can save you the money.

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What Doctors Don't Tell You Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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