The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point

Probiotics and dermatitis: A review in infants and kids

Researchers from Alfa Institute of Biomedical Sciences (AIBS) in Athens, Greece reviewed the evidence for probiotics in treating or preventing atopic dermatitis in children.

First, the details.

  • The results of 13 studies were reviewed.
  • 10 evaluated probiotics as treatment of atopic dermatitis.
  • 3 for prevention of atopic dermatitis.
  • The main outcome measure in 9 studies was SCORAD (SCORing Atopic Dermatitis) — a tool developed by the European Task Force on Atopic Dermatitis to evaluate the severity of this condition.

And, the results.

  • 4 studies reported a significant decrease in SCORAD using probiotics in infants or children with atopic dermatitis for 1 or 2 months vs placebo.
  • But there was no consistent response in the various immunological/biochemical laboratory studies used to study atopic dermatitis.
  • In 2 studies, mothers given Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG with or without other probiotics during the time before birth, followed by treating the infants with the same probiotics for the first 6 months of life developed atopic dermatitis significantly less frequently during the first 2 years of life vs placebo.
  • However, another study reported no difference in frequency nor severity of atopic dermatitis using this treatment.

The bottom line?
It appears that probiotics — especially L. rhamnosus GG — prevents atopic dermatitis. The probiotics studied also reduced the severity of atopic dermatitis in approximately half of the studies, although they didn’t change most of the inflammatory markers of this condition.

The findings are not conclusive, however. According to the authors, “More… [studies] need to be conducted to elucidate whether probiotics are useful for the treatment or prevention of atopic dermatitis.”

5/3/08 21:52 JR

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