Showing posts with label probiotics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label probiotics. Show all posts

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Microbiome and Vaccine Responsiveness

By: Editor-in-Chief Lewis First, MD, MS
Bifidobacterium adolescentis by YTambe via Wikimedia Commons

It seems that almost every recent issue of our journal has had an article on the microbiome and the role of probiotics in cultivating the composition of this environment to reduce the incidence and prevalence of common childhood illnesses like upper respiratory and gastrointestinal infections.

This month, we share a study by Huda et al. (doi: 10.1542/ peds.2013-3937) noting how the composition of the stool microbiome might indicate a better or worse response to oral and parenteral infant vaccines. For example, when the stool microbiota composition is rich in Bifidobacterium, thymic development and response to vaccines is enhanced. Other microbiome organism predominance appears to do just the opposite—again suggesting that what organisms predominate in the microbiome of the intestines can influence a child’s health and well-being.

Are you using probiotics in your patients? Are they getting fewer infections as a result? Share your opinion on this topic via a response to our blog, an eLetter, or by way of Facebook or Twitter.

Related Reading: 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Saccharomyces boulardii in Treating Childhood Diarrhea: Another Victory for Probiotics

By: Lewis First, MD, MS

Saccharomyces. Photo by Bob Blaylock
We have published several studies recently on probiotics and their benefits, but this week, we focus on Saccharomyces boulardii—one organism of the yeast family—and share its benefits courtesy of Feizizadeh et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-3950), who have done a systematic review of its effectiveness in treating acute diarrhea in children.

According to the authors, S. boulardii has been shown to  prevent and manage diarrhea effectively (especially antibiotic-associated diarrhea), which is potentially very helpful since nearly 760,000 children die from diarrhea every year, especially in developing countries.

To see if S. boulardii really is an effective treatment for childhood diarrhea, Feizizadeh et al. specifically focused on randomized and non-randomized controlled trials, of which 22 out of 1,248 articles met study criteria. The bottom line of this systematic review is that this probiotic appears safe and beneficial, although dosages vary in these studies and the optimal dosing regimen has yet to be determined.

So are you using probiotics to help treat your patients’ diarrheal illnesses? Does it work? Share your thoughts by responding below, sending us an eLetter or via Facebook or Twitter.

Related Reading:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Gut Check on Prophylactic Probiotics and Diarrhea

We have been publishing more and more studies on the effects (positive, negative, or neutral) of probiotics in children. This week, we have another probiotic study that warrants your attention.

Lactobacillus. Photo by  Janice Carr via the CDC
This time the study performed by Gutierrex-Castrellon et al. (doi: 10.1542/ peds.2013-0652) involves the prophylactic daily administering of lactobacillus reuteri for three months in a randomized controlled
trial to more than 160 infants and toddlers in day care centers as well as an equal number of controls. The outcome measure was the frequency and duration of diarrheal episodes up to three months after the medication was stopped. Respiratory tract infections were also monitored along with the number of doctor visits, antibiotics used and absenteeism from school for the child or work for the parents. The authors even performed a cost-benefit analysis.

With so much data to report, one would hope the findings would be well-worth reading about—and they are. Would you consider using lactobacillus reuteri in your practice? Why or why not? Share your comments with us below or via an eLetter on our website or commenting on Facebook or Twitter.

Related Reading:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Take Heart in Synbiotics: They May Play a Beneficial Role in Infants with Cyanotic Congenital Heart Disease

When prebiotics (a food or dietary supplement that can modulate gut flora) combine with probiotics (intestinal bacterial flora that are beneficial to one’s health), one gets “synbiotics”, the term reflecting the beneficial effect they can both have on each other.  So if one gives synbiotics to a sick infant, can it influence outcome?  Dilli et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-1262) attempted to do just that by performing a prospective, randomized, blinded controlled trial on 100 infants to determine if synbiotics influence outcome in infants with cyanotic congenital heart disease.  Outcome measures studied included nosocomial sepsis, necrotizing enterocolitis, length of NICU stay, and death. 


The results are impressive in this study and suggest that synbiotics may be playing a helpful role in these sick infants.  There is a lot of interesting and informative information to digest, so if you want to learn more about synbiotics and their possible use in your sickest newborn patients, hyperlink to this study and read on.