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New studies examine the evidence on probiotics in IBS

HONOLULU, October 31, 2005 -- A new study of the probiotic strain B. infantis 35624 shows promising results in normalizing frequency of bowel movements in patients suffering from constipation or diarrhea the two ends of the spectrum in Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Probiotics, viable microorganisms with beneficial physiologic or therapeutic activities, were the subject of several analyses presented at the 70th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology. Recent studies have suggested a role for probiotics in treating IBS.

Dr. Eamonn M.M. Quigley and colleagues at University Cork College, Ireland and the University of Manchester in the U.K. presented the results of a subset analysis of a trial of the novel probiotic strain B. infantis 35624 in which 85 women with IBS received the probiotic and 80 women received placebo for four weeks. These researchers found that use of this probiotic strain significantly normalized bowel habit among IBS patients with diarrhea or constipation, increasing the number of bowel movements in constipated patients and reducing frequency in those with diarrhea.

Researchers at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, conducted a meta-analysis of clinical trials of probiotics in IBS, examining seven randomized, controlled trials in their research. Specifically, they looked at improvement in the symptom of bloating. There was a significant variation in the effect of probiotics across the studies, and the Mayo researchers concluded that these studies reveal only a modest improvement in bloating, but they note that larger trials are needed.

A team of investigators at the University of New Mexico conducted a systematic review of the safety and efficacy of probiotics in IBS that included eight randomized clinical trials in adults. The New Mexico group noted that there was large variation among the studies, and that many of the trials included only a small number of patients. "We found that various p
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31-Oct-2005


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