Probiotics May Abate Genetic Eczema
TURKU, Finland--Scientists have found that probiotics may stymie such atopic conditions as eczema in young children. In the April 7 edition of The Lancet (357, 9262:1076-9, 2001), a placebo or the probiotic Lactobacillus GG was given three weeks before a baby's due date twice a day to mothers with a genetic history or who had a partner with a genetic history of atopic eczema. After the women gave birth to a total of 132 children, the children were then given twice a day either a placebo or the probiotic for the next six months. The researchers followed up with the children for the next two years, looking for any signs of eczema. The researchers noted that the frequency of atopic eczema in the probiotic group was half of that in the placebo group (15 vs. 31 children). The researchers, led by Marko Kalliomaki from the University of Turku, concluded that because a newborn's intestinal tract is sterile at birth, the first few months of life are crucial in establishing stable microflora in the gut; probiotics may potentially prove "indispensable in the fight against the increasing frequency of atopic [diseases such as eczema and other allergies], and possibly other, immunological diseases." For more, visit www.thelancet.com.