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Probiotic Supplements May Help Prevent Infantile Eczema

No significant difference for prevention of asthma, wheezing, or rhinoconjunctivitis

WEDNESDAY, July 29, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Probiotic supplementation in pregnancy and early infancy can prevent infantile eczema, according to a review and meta-analysis published online July 21 in Allergy.

Gianvincenzo Zuccotti, M.D., from the University of Milan, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine the effect of probiotic supplementation during pregnancy and early infancy in preventing atopic diseases. For the meta-analysis, data were included from 17 studies involving 4,755 children (2,381 in the probiotic group and 2,374 in the control group).

The researchers found that the risk ratio (RR) was lower for eczema for infants treated with probiotics versus controls (RR, 0.78; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.69 to 0.89; P = 0.0003), especially for those supplemented with a probiotic mixture (RR, 0.54; 95 percent CI, 0.43 to 0.68; P < 0.00001). There were no between-group differences in terms of prevention of asthma (RR, 0.99; 95 percent CI, 0.77 to 1.27; P = 0.95), wheezing (RR, 1.02; 95 percent CI, 0.89 to 1.17; P = 0.76), or rhinoconjunctivitis (RR, 0.91; 95 percent CI, 0.67 to 1.23; P = 0.53).

“The results of the present meta-analysis show that probiotic supplementation prevents infantile eczema, thus suggesting a new potential indication for probiotic use in pregnancy and infancy,” the authors write.

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