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Probiotics, gastroenteritis and Helicobacter

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Probiotics, usually in the form of live Lactobacillus species, have become popular as both a treatment and a preventative agent for a wide variety of childhood conditions. For example, there is evidence that they work in antibiotic-related diarrhoea, necrotising enterocolitis and possibly infantile colic. So if the diarrhoea that occurs in straightforward viral gastroenteritis is partly due to an altered intestinal microbiome, would you expect them to help this as well? You might, but two robust new studies suggest that they don’t. The NEJM published two large randomised double-blind placebo-controlled …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.