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Cholera is a gastrointestinal disease caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. Cholera can be deadly if left untreated due to severe dehydration from to the high volume of fluid lost through diarrhea. Oral rehydration therapies are one of the most effective cholera remedies because they can rehydrate the patient replacing the vital water lost from diarrhea. A key feature of the disease process is bacterial attachment to the intestinal epithelial cells of the human host. Blocking this attachment can provide both therapeutic and preventive measures for the disease. This study looks at starch additives as a means of improving oral rehydration therapy by both decreasing the symptoms of dehydration and reducing the bacterial load in the human intestines. The addition of high amylose corn starch into an attachment assay similar to the environment of the human intestines showed a decrease in Vibrio cholerae attached to the bacteria’s binding site compared to the amount of Vibrio cholerae attached in the absence of starch. This observed decrease in attachment in the presence of resistant starches is further evidence of why adding starches to oral rehydration therapies can be effectiveness at improving cholera symptoms. Future research needs to be done on other starches, carbohydrates, and granular structures that can decrease the attachment of Vibrio cholerae to human intestinal cells in order to treat cholera. The disease still plagues much of the developing world and improved therapies are still needed to prevent and treat future cholera outbreaks.
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Osborne-Schwartz, Elizabeth Samuel, "Attachment of Vibrio cholerae to Resistant Starches to Improve Oral Rehydration Therapy" (2017). Senior Projects Spring 2017. 97.