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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    Synbiotics and preventing asthma-like symptoms in infants

    Researchers at the Academic Medical Center, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands studied symbiotic therapy to prevent asthma-like symptoms in infants with atopic dermatitis–chronic inflammation of the skin.

    Synbiotic refers to a product containing probiotics, which selectively enhances the action of the probiotic in the compound.

    First, the details.

    • 90 infants with atopic dermatitis were randomly assigned to a treatment group for 12 weeks.
      • Bifidobacterium breve M-16V + a galacto/fructooligosaccharide mixture (Immunofortis)
      • The same formula without synbiotics
    • After 1 year, the prevalence of respiratory symptoms and asthma medication use was evaluated.
    • Also, total IgE blood levels and specific IgE against aeroallergens (pollen or spores) were determined.
      • IgE is a naturally occurring substance that, in some people, causes chemical reactions that may lead to asthma symptoms and attacks.
    • Neither the patients nor researchers knew the treatment given — double blind.

    And, the results.

    • 75 children completed the 1-year follow-up evaluation.
    • The prevalence of “frequent wheezing” and “wheezing and/or noisy breathing apart from colds” was significantly lower with synbiotics vs placebo (14% vs 34%, respectively).
    • Significantly fewer children in the synbiotic group started using asthma drugs (6% vs 26%).
    • Total IgE levels didn’t differ between the 2 groups.
    • No children in the synbiotic and 5 children (15%) in the placebo group developed elevated IgE levels against cat–a significant difference.

    The bottom line?

    The authors concluded, “This synbiotic mixture prevents asthma-like symptoms in infants with atopic dermatitis.”

    Others have reported positive results, here, here, and here. The challenge is to determine which combination of pro-, pre-, and symbiotic is best.

    6/22/10 17:42 JR

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