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Why bad bacteria thrive in inflamed bowels

Researchers say they have a clearer picture of why “bad” bacteria flourish in the intestines of people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

The team discovered a biological mechanism by which harmful bacteria grow, edge out beneficial bacteria, and damage the gut in IBD. This new understanding, published in Science, may lead to treatments with fewer side effects than current therapies.

IBD begins when “good” bacteria are mistakenly killed by the immune system, while harmful bacteria multiply—resulting in inflammation and damage to the intestines, and chronic episodes of abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, and other changes in bowel habits.

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