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Baylor Scott & White Researchers Link Allergy and Achalasia

Achalasia is a serious motility disorder of the esophagus that impacts more than 5,000 people in the US each year. Patients with achalasia experience damage to muscle and nerve cells in the esophagus, resulting in a loss of the peristaltic activity that normally pushes food through the esophagus into the stomach, and failure of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to relax with swallowing, which further blocks the transit of food. Thus, achalasia patients experience severe swallowing difficulty that adversely impacts their quality of life. Because the etiology of achalasia is not known, current therapies do not cure the disease and only address its symptoms. Exciting new research from Baylor Scott & White Research Institute (BSWRI) shows that LES muscle in achalasia exhibits profound mast cell degranulation, a hallmark of allergy-induced inflammation. This work adds support to the novel hypothesis developed by BSWRI researchers that achalasia might be an allergic disorder.  

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