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

    This blog is 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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