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BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 06 October 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:804
  1. Harvey Marcovitch, BMJ syndication editor (

    Probiotic may treat eczema in infants

    A probiotic supplement, Lactobacillus fermentum powder, reduces the severity and extent of atopic dermatitis in infants in the short term. In a double blind randomised controlled trial, an Australian team compared the probiotic with a placebo in 56 infants with moderate or severe atopic dermatitis. All but one had been breast fed and all but one had a family history of allergy. The children continued with their usual treatment, which for 88%, was the use of topical corticosteroids. After eight weeks' treatment, the probiotic group had less extensive dermatitis, and this improvement was still apparent two months later. Steroid use and parental perceptions were similar in the groups, but parents in the probiotic group reported significantly less respiratory illness. Longer term studies are needed.

    Arch Dis Child 2005;90: 892-7

    Nervous Swedes die early

    Three random samples of Swedes (35 000 in all), …

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