The next time you dip your chopsticks into a
shared bowl of food, you may be picking up ulcer-causing bacteria along with the
noodles and rice.
Senior Chinese scientists and a 2005 Nobel Prize winner yesterday suggested
the possibility that sharing food with chopsticks could spread the bacterium H.
The comments came at a science lecture at the Shanghai Association for
Science and Technology featuring a talk by Australian scientist Barry Marshall,
co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology 2005.
Marshall is senior principal research fellow of University of Western
Australia. He was awarded the prize for research demonstrating that stomach and
peptic ulcers and inflammation of the stomach are caused by the H. pylori
When a leading Shanghai scientist asked him about a possible link between
gastric diseases and food sharing, Marshall said it was indeed possible, though
so far there hasn't been any confirmation.
The question was raised by Wang Mingwei, pharmacologist and director of
Shanghai-based Chinese National Center for Drug Screening. Wang noted that
colleagues around the world have discussed that there could be a link between
dipping chopsticks into shared food and the spread of the bacterium among people
In an interview after the presentation, Zhao Guoping, executive director of
the Chinese National Human Genome Research Center at Shanghai, told the Shanghai
Daily, that published research reports have found that Asians do have a higher
incidence of getting gastric diseases than Westerners.
He said when Easterners migrate to Western countries, after two or three
generations, they will have a lower incidence of gastric disease.
Zhao suggests Asian eating habits may have something to do with it, but the
link to eating style remains to be confirmed, he said.