Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Probiotics do not help infants with colic, study finds

Date:
April 1, 2014
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Giving probiotics to infants with colic does not appear to have any benefit, according to a large trial. Infant colic (excessive crying of unknown cause) affects up to 20% of infants and is a major burden to families and health services. Although it spontaneously resolves three to four months after birth, its cause remains elusive and no single effective treatment exists.

Probiotics cannot be routinely recommended for all infants with colic, say experts. These findings differ from previous smaller trials and do not support a general recommendation for the use of probiotics to treat colic in infants.

Infant colic (excessive crying of unknown cause) affects up to 20% of infants and is a major burden to families and health services. Although it spontaneously resolves three to four months after birth, its cause remains elusive and no single effective treatment exists.

Previous small trials suggest that the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri effectively treats colic in breastfed infants. These studies, however, had limitations as they examined only a highly selective group of infants with colic. The effects of L reuteri on formula fed infants with colic are unknown.

So researchers based in Australia and Canada set out to determine whether the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri reduces crying or fussing in 167 breastfed and formula fed infants with colic aged less than three months old.

A total of 85 infants were randomised to receive the probiotic and 82 to receive placebo for one month. Outcomes included daily duration of crying or fussing at one month, sleep duration, mother's mental health, family and infant quality of life.

Levels of gut microbial diversity, faecal calprotectin (a marker of gut inflammation) and E coli colonisation were also examined.

The results show that the probiotic group fussed significantly more than the placebo group at all time points from day seven to one month. At one month, the probiotic group cried or fussed 49 minutes more than the placebo group. This increased fussing occurred only in formula fed infants. L reuteri did not affect crying or fussing time in exclusively breastfed infants.

L reuteri treatment did not lead to changes in infant faecal microbial diversity, E coli colonisation, or calprotectin levels.

The researchers point out that this is the largest randomised controlled trial of probiotic intervention in infants with colic to date. They conclude that L reuteri treatment "did not reduce crying or fussing in infants with colic, nor was it effective in improving infant sleep, maternal mental health, family or infant functioning, or quality of life" and say "probiotics therefore cannot be routinely recommended for all infants with colic."

Further research is needed to identify which subgroups of infants with colic may benefit from probiotics, they add.

This represents the most definitive and well designed study to date on this controversial topic, writes William E Bennett Jr, Assistant Professor of Paediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine, in an accompanying editorial.

With such a dearth of good evidence, should we be treating infant colic at all, he asks? He points out that children with colic "incur no serious long term effects" from the disorder and symptoms "abate with time," whereas the potential harm associated with diagnostic testing and treatment of infants "is likely to surpass the harm from colic itself."

As the old adage goes "babies cry," he concludes. Parents and their babies "may be better served if we devote more resources to studying the interventions recommended long before the discovery of probiotics: reassurance, family social support, and the tincture of time."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. V. Sung, H. Hiscock, M. L. K. Tang, F. K. Mensah, M. L. Nation, C. Satzke, R. G. Heine, A. Stock, R. G. Barr, M. Wake. Treating infant colic with the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri: double blind, placebo controlled randomised trial. BMJ, 2014; 348 (apr01 2): g2107 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.g2107

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Probiotics do not help infants with colic, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140401210408.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2014, April 1). Probiotics do not help infants with colic, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140401210408.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Probiotics do not help infants with colic, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140401210408.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) You're more likely to gain weight while watching action flicks than you are watching other types of programming, says a new study published in JAMA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins