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Watch Your Mouth

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A new study in the journal Gut shows that some types of bacteria found in the mouth — some of which are implicated in gum disease — could also be associated with the development of pancreatic cancer, says the Machines Like Us blog. The study's authors say the findings could help researchers find ways to stop the development of pancreatic cancer by changing the composition of the bacterial populations in a person's body. "The authors base their findings on an initial comparison of the bacteria found in the spit of 10 patients with pancreatic cancer, which had not yet spread, and 10 healthy people, matched for age and sex," the blog says. "They found significant differences between the bacterial colonies in the two groups, with 31 additional species and 25 fewer species in the spit of the cancer patients." Two bacteria, Neisseria elongata and Streptococcus mitis, were less prevalent in the mouths of the cancer patients than in the mouths of the healthy individuals, while levels of the Granulicatella adjacens bacteria were higher in cancer patients. "The combination of N. elongata and S. mitis accurately differentiated between healthy patients and those with cancer in more than 80 percent of cases," the blog adds, though it is yet unclear whether the particular bacteria are a cause or symptom of the disease.

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