Bacterial blessing

Feeding non-infective bacteria to infants may protect them from diarrhoea, a recent study concludes (The Lancet, Vol 344, No 8929).

Jose Saavedra and colleagues at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA, performed a clinical trial on 55 infants aged 5 to 24 months, who were admitted to a chronic medical care hospital; 26 of them received the control infant formula and the rest had the same formula supplemented with bifidobacteria and Streptococcus thermophilus -- harmless lactic acid-producing bacteria. During the 17-month study, the researchers found that 31 per cent of the controls developed diarrhoea, while only 7 per cent of the rest.

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