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Lactose Intolerance: Article Analysis

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Lactose Intolerance: Article Analysis

Lactose intolerance occurs when the body produces an insufficient amount of the lactase enzyme, which is necessary to break down lactose into two smaller sugars- glucose and galactose. When there is not enough lactase in the body, it does not decompose lactose properly, and this can cause bacteria to ferment, causing gasses and acids. In a two-decade follow-up study conducted in Finland, scientist studied whether primary hypolactacia can make itself present after the age of twenty among the Finnish population. According to the article, lactose intolerance starts in early childhood, and it is not often seen among adults (age 20 or above). However, scientists noted an increase of primary hypolactacia among the adult population of Finland.

In order to prove whether primary hypolactacia manifests among Finnish people age twenty or above, scientists selected forty-two subjects who at the age of 20 did not have, nor showed, symptoms of hypolactacia, but that later in life reported "gastrointestinal" symptoms- something common among those who suffer this condition. Also, to see the accuracy of their diagnostics, scientists used different diagnostic methods to see which one was the most useful and accurate. These methods included Lactose tolerance test with ethanol, genotype determination, and statistical methods. As stated before, the study took place in Finland, and all of the test subjects were of Finnish origin, who at the age of 21 years or older had previously participated in a study on lactose maldigestion study. This time, however, they were much older and claimed to have symptoms of primary hypolactacia.

One of the methods used in this study was the Lactose tolerance test with ethanol. They conducted the tests in the same way they had two decades ago. For further examination, the samples of each subject were taken to University Central Hospital of Helsinki. As stated in the article, if the results in the LTTE showed, "a rise in blood glucose of 1.1 mmol/l or higher and in blood galactose of 0.3 mmol/l or higher indicated lactose digestion, and a rise lower than these limits indicated lactose maldigestion and hypolactasia"(pg. 1083) Furthermore, the test subjects were asked to rank their gastrointestinal symptoms on a scale of 0-10 (10 being severe). Those subjects with "inconclusive” results, were taken to the hospital for a small-intestinal biopsy, where they examined the samples further.

Genotyping was also performed on the majority of the test subjects. However, seven out of the 42 subjects declined to be subject of DNA analysis. The DNA taken was analyzed for the C/T_13910 polymorphism, associated with "lactase persistence/non-persistence by solid-phase mini-sequencing" (pg.1084). The scientist also used statistical methods to analyze the results of independent samples; t-test were utilized to compare the increase in glucose and galactose, as well as the lactase activity between genotypes CT_13910 and T/T_13910.

After the LTTE had been performed, the results showed that 64% (20) of the subjects were diagnosed as "lactose absorbents," 5% (2) were positive for lactose maldigestion, and 31% (13) of the subjects were “inconclusive.” Of the 13 people whose results’ were “inconclusive” in the LTTE, only



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