Probiotics May Help Colic in Breastfed But Not Formula Fed Babies

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Valerie Sung MBBS (Hons) FRACP MPH PhD Department of Paediatrics The University of Melbourne Murdoch Childrens Research Institute Parkville, Australia

Dr. Sung

Dr Valerie Sung MBBS (Hons) FRACP MPH PhD
Department of Paediatrics
The University of Melbourne
Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Parkville, Australia

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Infant colic is excessive crying in babies less than 3 months old with no underlying medical cause. It affects 1 in 5 newborns, is very distressing, and is associated with maternal depression, Shaken Baby Syndrome, and early cessation of breastfeeding. Up to now, there has been no single effective treatment for colic. The probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 has recently shown promise but results from trials have been conflicting. In particular, a previous trial from Australia, the largest in the world so far, did not find the probiotic to be effective in both breastfed and formula-fed infants with colic.

This international collaborative study, which collected raw data from 345 infants from existing trials from Italy, Poland, Canada and Australia, confirms Lactobacillus reuteri to be effective in breastfed infants with colic. However, it cannot be recommended for formula-fed infants with colic.

Compared to a placebo, the probiotic group was two times more likely to reduce crying by 50 per cent, by the 21st day of treatment, for the babies who were exclusively breastfed. The number needed to treat for day 21 success in breastfed infants was 2.6.

In contrast, the formula fed infants in the probiotic group seemed to do worse than the placebo group, but the numbers for this group were limited.

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Minimal Acupuncture Seems To Calm Infant Colic

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Acupuncture Wikipedia imageDr Kajsa Landgren

Faculty of Medicine, Department of Health Sciences
Lund University, Sweden

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Infantile colic is common, affecting 10-20% of newborns. These infants have intense crying and fussing, more than 3 hours/day more than 3 days/week. There is no medical treatment, causing desperate parents to seek complementary medicine. The evidence for acupuncture is sparse.

In this trial including 147 infants with colic, we tested two types of acupuncture. Both types of acupuncture were minimal, i.e needles were inserted for only a few seconds without further stimulation.

Group A received only one single needle for 2-5 seconds. Group B received up to five needle insertions for maximum 30 seconds. A third group, C, received no acupuncture. All families came to four extra visits to their Child Health Center where they met a nurse who gave advice and support. During these visits the infants were separated from their parents for five minutes, being alone with an acupuncturist who gave acupuncture to the infants in group A and B, but not to infants in group C. Parents and the nurse were blinded to which group the infant was randomized to.

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Probiotics: Not Helpful in Soothing Infants With Colic

Dr Valerie Sung MBBS(Hons) FRACP MPH NHMRC PhD Candidate, Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne, and Community Health Services Research, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute Paediatrician, Centre for Community Child Health, The Royal Children’s HospitalMedicalResearch.com Invitation with:
Dr Valerie Sung MBBS(Hons) FRACP MPH
NHMRC PhD Candidate, Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne, and Community Health Services Research, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Paediatrician, Centre for Community Child Health
The Royal Children’s Hospital

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Sung: Lactobacillus reuteri was NOT effective in reducing crying or fussing in infants with colic, whether they are breast or formula fed. This is the largest and most rigorous trial to date to show this.

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Probiotics to Prevent Infantile Colic, Regurgitation and Functional Constipation

Flavia Indrio, MD Department of Pediatrics Aldo Moro University of Bari Bari, ItalyMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Flavia Indrio, MD
Department of Pediatrics
Aldo Moro University of Bari
Bari, Italy

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: The main finding is that for the first time the use in prevention instead of treatment with a probiotic for the colic regurgitation and constipation.
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Probiotics and Infant Colic

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Valerie Sung MBBS(Hons) FRACP MPH
NHMRC PhD Candidate

Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne, and
Community Health Services Research, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute Paediatrician, Centre for Community Child Health
The Royal Children’s Hospital
Parkville | 3052 | Victoria
 Australia

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Sung: The systematic review identified 12 studies (1825 infants)  that investigated the use of probiotics to treat or prevent infant colic (excessive crying of unknown cause in babies less than 3 months old). Three of the 5 treatment trials concluded probiotics effectively treat colic in breastfed babies; one suggested possible effectiveness in formula-fed babies with colic, and one suggested ineffectiveness in breastfed babies with colic. The three effective trials used the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri in breastfed babies only; in two of these trials, the mothers were on a dairy-free diet. Five of the 7 prevention trials suggested probiotics to be ineffective in preventing colic.

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