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Severe burns could cause dangerous gastrointestinal imbalances

Ohio residents may be interested in a new study that indicates people who suffer severe burns have the potential to experience harmful changes in the bacteria inside their gastrointestinal, or GI, tract. The research was published in peer-reviewed journal in July.

In the study, researchers from Loyola University Chicago examined fecal samples from four patients who suffered severe burns and compared them with samples from patients with minor burns. They found that the patients with severe burns experienced a large increase in the number of harmful bacteria in their GI tract. Meanwhile, there was a corresponding drop in more beneficial bacteria. The dangerous bacteria are from a family that includes salmonella and E. coli.

This type of microbiotic imbalance is called "dysbiosis," and it has been associated with conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, obesity and diabetes. Researchers believe the imbalance may also contribute to deadly complications in severe burn patients. In order to restore microbiotic balance, the authors of the study suggest that burn patients be given probiotics, which are live beneficial bacteria. They also said their findings may be applicable to patients with traumatic brain injuries or other types of trauma. It should be noted that the study sample was very small and no cause-and-effect relationship was established.

A person who suffers a serious burn injury due to the negligent actions of another party may benefit by retaining an attorney. In some cases, legal counsel may recommend filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party seeking compensation for damages. A successful claim could bring needed financial relief for current and future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages.

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