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Persons infected with H. pylori develop serum antibodies to the organism that can be detected in the blood. Serological testing for H. pylori is only one of a number of diagnostic techniques that can be used.
Culturing the organism is probably the ideal, but the method is slow and expensive. Breath testing is non-invasive, but has a higher cost. Saliva testing, though becoming more popular, is still not widely available. Blood testing for circulating antibodies to H. pylori is cheap, quick, readily available and non invasive (other than the blood collection). It is now possible to have a test in a doctor's office performed on just one drop of blood.
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Antibody: A type of serum protein (globulin) synthesized by white blood cells of the lymphoid type in response to an antigenic (foreign substance) stimulus. Antibodies are complex substances formed to neutralize or destroy these antigens in the blood. Antibody activity normally fights infection but can be damaging in allergies and a group of diseases that are called autoimmune diseases.
Helicobacter Pylori: H. pylori is a bacterium that is found in the stomach which, along with acid secretion, damages stomach and duodenal tissue, causing inflammation and peptic ulcers. Although most people will never have symptoms or problems related to the infection, they may include: dull, 'gnawing' pain which may occur 2-3 hours after a meal, come and go for several days or weeks, occur in the middle of the night when the stomach is empty and be relieved by eating; loss of weight; loss of appetite; bloating; burping; nausea; vomiting.
Serum: The cell-free fluid of the bloodstream. It appears in a test tube after the blood clots and is often used in expressions relating to the levels of certain compounds in the blood stream.