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Probiotics Can Help Preemies Against Bowel Infections

By KJ Mullins     May 10, 2007 in Health
Good bacteria can help battle bowel infections in premature infants. Necrotizing enterocolitis is a sudden deadly condition in premature infants that can kill in hours.
Necrotizing enterocolitis is literally death of the bowels. Striking between 1% to 5% of infants it's often a lethal infection. 10% of all premature infants face this devastating illnesses. No one knows exactly what causes the infection but there are several theories. The most common one is that because of their small size their bowels are weakened by the lack of oxygen they produce.
The condition can have many different effects, from lack of being able to feed to holes in the bowel. Because the infant's body systems are immature, even with quick treatment for NEC there may be serious complications.
The infection has been known to spread throughout a neonatal unit.
Tests at King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women in Perth, Australia have shown that the use of probiotics(good bacteria) reduced the risk of infection by 65% and the risk of death by 53 percent.
"If a large, well-designed trial confirms our results, it could make a very strong case for the routine use of probiotics in preterm neonates," the study's authors wrote.
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