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LONDON, Dec 10, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Certain types of bacteria that can survive in refrigerated food could be the cause of Crohn's disease, a common ailment of the human digestive tract.
Writing in this week's issue of the British journal, The Lancet, French researchers suggest the emergence of both Crohn's disease and the widespread availability of household refrigerators in the second half of the 20th century is no coincidence.
The disease is thought to be caused by environmental factors -- such as diet, lifestyle and smoking -- among genetically susceptible individuals. But researchers said the production and storage of food in low temperatures also seems to be a major risk factor for Crohn's.
Common bacteria found in beef, pork, chicken, sausages, hamburgers, cheese, and lettuce all contribute to the disease, researchers said, which is caused by a genetic defect that allows the bacteria to escape the immune system response.
Copyright 2003 by United Press International.