The Swansea Baby Study

Use of colony-based bacterial strain typing for tracking the fate of Lactobacillus strains during human consumption

Aim

This large randomised, double blind, placebo controlled study was designed to evaluate whether Lab4b probiotics given during infancy could prevent allergy in children.

Method

  • The study was carried out at Swansea University Medical School.
  • 454 mother/baby pairs took part in the trial.
  • Half of the mothers took 10 billion of the Lab4b group of probiotics per day during the last month of pregnancy and then gave the same probiotic to their newborn babies every day for 6 months following birth.
  • Half of the mothers and babies took the placebo preparation.
  • Skin prick tests were carried out on both the Lab4b probiotic and placebo infant groups to detect allergic reaction to the most common allergens, including cow’s milk, egg, house dust mite and pollen.
  • Atopic eczema was defined as eczema with one or more positive SPT’s

The results

The babies given the Lab4b probiotics were 57% less likely to develop atopic eczema than those receiving the placebo.

The babies given Lab4b were 44% less likely to develop allergic reaction to common allergens, including pollen, cow’s milk, egg and house dust mite.

Atopic eczema – Infants (%)
Atopic eczema – Infants (%)
Atopic sensitization – Skin prick testing positive (%)
Atopic sensitization – Skin prick testing positive (%)

Conclusion

The primary author, Prof. Steve Allen, concluded the following key message from the trial:

‘Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria administered to pregnant women and infants aged 0-6 months prevented atopic sensitization and atopic eczema.’

Reference

Allen SJ et al 2014.
Probiotics in the prevention of eczema: a randomised controlled trial.
Archives of Disease in Childhood 99(11): 1014–1019

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