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Sleep Tight to Keep Ulcers at Bay

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About one in 10 Americans develops painful peptic ulcers, open sores in the lining of the stomach and duodenum, that are sometimes caused by an overgrowth of the Helicobacter pylori bacteria. Drug therapy to eradicate the bacteria involving two antibiotics and one acid suppressant is usually successful, but about 10 percent of cases recur.

A key factor may be sleep quality, suggests a new study from the University of Hong Kong. Researchers followed 1,420 people that had been treated for peptic ulcers for three years. The ulcers recurred in 8.3 percent of them, and those that had poor sleep—including taking longer to fall asleep and waking more during the night—were significantly more likely to be re-infected. Longer total sleep times helped reduce infection recurrence.

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