The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Novel use of probiotics in critically ill patients

    Ventilator-associated pneumonia is a form of pneumonia that occurs in hospitalized patients receiving assisted breathing (mechanical ventilation) through a tube for at least 48 hours.

    Researchers in Sweden conducted a study to evaluate the value of a probiotic to prevent the growth of unwanted bacteria along the breathing (endotracheal or tracheostomy) tube.

    First, the details.

    • 50 critically ill patients on mechanical ventilation were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 treatments.
      • Mechanical cleansing followed by washing with 0.1% chlorhexidine solution.
      • Same cleansing procedure followed by oral application of an emulsion of Lactobacillus plantarum 299 (Lp299).
    • Chlorhexidine is a chemical antiseptic that kills microbes.
    • Samples were taken from the throat area and from the trachea (breathing tube) at defined intervals.

    And, the results.

    • Potentially disease-causing bacteria that were not present at the start of the study were identified in the throat samples from 8 patients treated with Lp299 and 13 treated with chlorhexidine — not a significant difference.
    • Analysis of samples from the trachea (airway) gave similar results.

    The bottom line?
    Chlorhexidine is an effective way to lower the risk for growing bacteria that can lead to pneumonia in these patients.

    This is the first study to show that the probiotic Lp299 is as effective under these conditions.

    11/7/08 19:13 JR

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