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 www.Vicus.com, 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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  • Recent Comments

    Probiotic effects on respiratory tract infection

     Reviewers at the Alfa Institute of Biomedical Sciences in Athens, Greece evaluated the evidence.

    First, the details.

    • The reviewers identified 14 well-designed studies of probiotics for the prevention of upper or lower respiratory tract infections (RTIs).
      • 12 in healthy subjects and 2 involving patients with RTIs.
    • Various Lactobacillus strains were used in 7 studies, combinations of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains were used in 5 studies, and a Bifidobacterium strain and a non-pathogenic Enterococcus faecalis strain were each used in 1 study, respectively.

    And, the results for various aspects of the studies.
    The risk of getting a RTI

    • 4 studies favored probiotics to reduce risk.
    • 10 studies reported no effect with probiotics vs the comparative group.

    Symptom control

    • 5 of 6 studies reported reduced symptoms with probiotics.

    Duration of infection

    • 3 of 9 studies reported shorter RTIs with probiotics.
    • No difference was found in the remaining 6 studies.

    The bottom line?
    The authors concluded, “Probiotics may have a beneficial effect on the severity and duration of symptoms of RTIs but do not appear to reduce the incidence of RTIs.”

    It’s probably an oversimplification to report on probiotics as a group. However, there were probably too few studies to warrant reporting their individual effects.

    A primer on pre, pro, and synbiotics is here.

    2/1/09 18:36 JR

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