Prebiotics May Cut Eczema Risk in Infants
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Published: Mar 28, 2013
When added to either human milk or baby formula, prebiotics — nondigestible carbohydrates that encourage the growth of healthy bacteria in the colon — may reduce the risk of developing eczema, a Cochrane review showed.
In pooled results from four studies, supplementation with prebiotics was associated with a significant reduction in eczema risk (risk ratio 0.68, 95% CI 0.48 to 0.97), with a number needed to treat of 25, according to David Osborn, MBBS, PhD, and John Sinn, MBBS, of the University of Sydney.
Supplementation did not, however, reduce the risk of asthma in a meta-analysis of two studies or of urticaria in one study.
But the quality of the evidence ranged from very low to low for the various outcomes and “further research is needed before routine use of prebiotics can be recommended for prevention of allergy in formula-fed infants,” the authors wrote.
“It is unclear whether the use of prebiotic should be restricted to infants at high risk of allergy or may have an effect in low risk populations; or whether it may have an effect on other allergic diseases including asthma,” they wrote.
Up to 8% of children develop a food allergy, 15% to 20% develop atopic eczema, and 31% to 34% develop asthma or recurrent wheezing, according to the researchers, and there is some evidence that prebiotics can reduce those risks.
Eczema and Autism
Autism – Atopic Dermatitis – Immune System : A Striking Association
The odds of having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder was significantly increased in children with AD compared with the odds in control subjects without AD (odds ratio, 1.87; 95% CI, 1.54-2.27), even after controlling for known confounders.
The adjusted odds ratios for depression, anxiety, conduct disorder, and autism were
1.81 (95% CI, 1.33-2.46) (Depression)
1.77 (95% CI, 1.36-2.29) (Anxiety)
1.87 (95% CI, 1.46-2.39) (Conduct Disorder)
3.04 (95% CI, 2.13-4.34) (Autism)
respectively, and these estimates were all statistically significant.