Monday, 16 April 2012

Select probiotic agents can either prevent or treat antibiotic-associated diarrhoea in both children and adults

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Select probiotic agents can either prevent or
treat antibiotic-associated diarrhoea in both children and adults.

According to research studies conducted by some institutions across
the country, use of specific probiotic agents can also be helpful in
dealing with diarrhoea caused by Clostridium difficile. Scientists are
also looking at the possibility developing designer probiotics to
treat specific diseases.

“Our understanding of the role of the microbiota (probiotics) in our
gut and other sites in our body is rapidly emerging and could lead to
many new and innovative approaches for health care. The promise of the
potential role of probiotics for the prevention and treatment of
enteric and other infections as an effective solution needs to be
realized,” said a study carried out by senior researchers Dr Neerja
Hajela, Dr G Balakrish Nair, Dr Philip Abraham and Dr Nirmal K Ganguly.

The gut contains more than 1000 species of microorganisms that exist
in harmony with the host and exert metabolic activities that virtually
parallels an organ within an organ, they said in a study published in
Biomed Central. They added, “The gut flora can be manipulated to
enhance the beneficial components that represent a promising strategy
for the prevention and management of various infective and
non-infective disorders”.

Probiotics offer immense potential for the prevention of a variety of
diseases including the preventive strategy for gastrointestinal
diseases, treatment and prevention of allergic disorders, chronic
inflammatory diseases, and prevention of cancers and reduction of
respiratory diseases.

Infectious and non-infectious diseases account for a large majority of
deaths annually; they said adding that there is optimism about the
ability of interventions such as probiotics to prevent health
disparities.

Randomized controlled trials have demonstrated that certain probiotic
strains are more effective than placebo in a variety of conditions
affecting the gastrointestinal tract. Multiple meta-analyses indicate
effectiveness in reducing the duration of acute enteritis in
pre-schoolers and in reducing the frequency of necrotizing
enterocolitis in pre-term babies, the researchers said.

Probiotics are also efficacious in reducing the severity and duration
of adult and paediatric diarrhoeas especially those caused by
rotavirus. However, their role in prevention of traveler's diarrhoea
is equivocal and hence limits their use in this condition.
India continues to face disproportionate morbidity and mortality due
to diarrhoeal diseases with 18 per cent of the global child diarrhoeal
deaths and 77 per cent of diarrhoeal deaths of children in Southeast
Asia.

Daily intake of a probiotic strain, Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota
played an important role in prevention of acute diarrhoea in young
children in a community setting, they said.

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