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Gastroenterologists treat diseases of the digestive system, from chronic heartburn to cancer. The American College of Gastroenterology was founded in 1932. The study of the digestive system is as old as medicine, but in recent years there have been a number of important breakthroughs. Peptic ulcers, a common type of ulcer affecting millions of people, have been linked to the Heliobacter pylori bacteria. Through research, gastroenterologists learned that treating patients with antibiotics, along with the regular treatments given for ulcers, dramatically lowered recurrence of the disease. Other advances are technological in nature. Computers and fiber-optic technology have allowed gastroenterologists tremendous flexibility in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions that in the past would have required surgery.

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