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This study talks about how doctors have seen success with supplementing certain strains of probiotics to preterm babies.  The neonate's (baby's) rate of survival went up with supplementation.  Babies that had a disease called necrotizing enetercolitis were also supplemented with certain strains of probiotics.  The doctors also saw a rise in the baby's survival when they did that.  This once again goes to show how restoring your natural bacteria can prove beneficial to your health.  Call us at 409-740-6800 if you would like more information on how to improve your health.  Read below for more information on this article.....

Probiotics May Reduce Death and Disease in Preterm Neonates

Laurie Barclay, MD

April 22, 2010 - Use of probiotic supplements may help reduce deaths and necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in preterm neonates, according to the results of an updated meta-analysis reported online April 19 and to be published in the May issue of Pediatrics.

"Systematic reviews of randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) indicate lower mortality and ...NEC and shorter time to full feeds after probiotic supplementation in preterm (<34 weeks' gestation) very low birth weight (VLBW; birth weight <1500 g) neonates," write Girish Deshpande, FRACP, from King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women in Perth, Western Australia, and colleagues. "The objective of this study was to update our 2007 systematic review of RCTs of probiotic supplementation for preventing NEC in preterm VLBW neonates."

In March 2009, using the Cochrane Neonatal Review Group search strategy, the investigators searched the Cochrane Central register; MEDLINE, EMBASE, and CINAHL databases; and proceedings of the Pediatric Academic Society meetings and gastroenterology conferences. Inclusion criteria were randomized controlled trials in preterm very-low-birth-weight neonates of any enteral probiotic supplementation initiated within the first 10 days of life and continued for at least 7 days, with reporting on stage II NEC or higher using Modified Bell Staging criteria.

A total of 11 trials, enrolling 2176 subjects, met inclusion criteria for the meta-analysis by use of a fixed-effects model. Of these, 4 trials, enrolling a total of 783 subjects, were new since the previous meta-analysis.

Although the risk for NEC and death was significantly lower with use of probiotics, the risk for sepsis was not significantly different. The incidence of NEC was 30% lower with probiotics, based on trial sequential analysis (α = .05 and α = .01; power, 80%). No significant adverse effects of probiotic use were reported.

"The results confirm the significant benefits of probiotic supplements in reducing death and disease in preterm neonates," the study authors write. "The dramatic effect sizes, tight confidence intervals, extremely low P values, and overall evidence indicate that additional placebo-controlled trials are unnecessary if a suitable probiotic product is available."

Limitations of this study include those inherent in a meta-analysis and those of the included trials, and inability to determine the effects of specific product/strain(s), dosage, duration, and practicalities of administration. The study authors note that the effect of a probiotic bacterium is strain specific and cannot be extrapolated even to other strains of the same species.

"Selection of a safe and suitable product with documented probiotic properties and close monitoring of the target population is a must before offering this therapy as a routine in this high-risk but most deserving population," the study authors conclude.

The study authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Pediatrics. Published online April 19, 2010.

Authors and Disclosures


Laurie Barclay, MD

Freelance writer and reviewer, Medscape, LLC

Disclosure: Laurie Barclay, MD, has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.