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(Probiotics) - Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) trial showing good results 

Monday, May  31, 2004 .  ABC News

Australian doctors say they are having good results with a natural treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Preliminary results of a trial show probiotics or good bacteria can help relieve symptoms of the condition.

Probiotics are living organisms, found in some yoghurts and in concentrated probiotic supplements, which can improve gastrointestinal health. Scientists at the University of New South Wales are now trialing it on patients with irritable bowel syndrome, a condition which affects one in five people.

Jules Andrews battled Crohn's disease eight years ago, after that, he was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome. Last year he took a seven week course of one particular strain of probiotics. "I had a fairly immediate improvement in my symptoms and after time it got better and better," Mr. Andrews said.

A small study showed most patients including Mr. Andrews benefited from using the probiotics.

"We actually divided the subjects up into those who were diarrhea dominant, constipation dominant and with abdominal pain, and it helped across the board. So that was particularly exciting," Professor Patricia Conway, chief scientist for VRI biomedical and study author, said.

Researchers are now seeking volunteers for a much larger trial. While doctors agree that probiotics can help, they say one draw back is that symptoms vary significantly between patients. "One thing is pretty clear, there won't be a magic bullet, there won't be one probiotic which helps everybody. Different probiotics have different effects on different people and different symptoms," Dr Katie Ellard, from the Digestive Health Foundation, said.

Doctors say often patients can get relief through exercise and adding fluid and fibre to their diet.


Breakthrough medical discovery for bowel disease treatment

Thursday, November 6, 2003 ABC News

A Brisbane research team has made a world-first discovery that could lead to the better treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.

Dr David Purdie from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research says the study shows people who have had their appendices removed have less chance of developing Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. He says the finding will have international ramifications as little is known about what causes the diseases.

But Dr Purdie says the evidence does not necessarily justify voluntary appendicectomies. "Clearly, an appendicectomy is a serious operation," he said.  "It's not something you'd want to undertake just to reduce the risk of a disease but I think the main use of this finding is in helping us understand why the diseases occur in the first place because it's unknown why inflammatory bowel disease occurs in some people."

Health-Report Comment:

This is the medical profession at their very best. Just remove what nature supplied, in this case the appendix, and the problem is fixed. Too often doctors resort to surgery to eliminate a problem caused by lifestyle and dietary factors, to find that the "cure is worse than the disease".  Let's give serious consideration to the real causes of diseases like IBS and Crohn's disease rather than taking the attitude of removing a specialist part of the human digestive tract to fix a problem which is readily fixed in the vast majority of cases by a probiotic diet. Perhaps this approach is too simple to understand for doctors indoctrinated into the "legal" drug syndrome.

Geoff Goldie

Wednesday, October 22, 2003. ABC News

Claim hypnotherapy helps irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), one of the commonest disorders of the digestive tract, can be lastingly treated by hypnotherapy, a study says.

A long-term survey of more than 200 patients with this condition found that 71 per cent responded well to hypnotherapy and averred that the improvement lasted for at least five years. The patients underwent one-hour hypnotherapy sessions that lasted up to 12 weeks.

They were quizzed about their symptoms, quality of life and mood before, immediately after and up to six years following their treatment.  Their improvement was so good that less than 10 per cent of the patients bothered to seek alternatives to hypnotherapy afterwards.

Irritable bowel syndrome is the term given to a common but little understood condition typically characterised by recurrent abdominal pains, constipation or diarrhoea.

The research appears in Gut, a specialist publication of the British Medical Association (BMA).

The authors are led by Wendy Gonsalkorale, of the Hypnotherapy Unit at Manchester's Withington Hospital in north-western England.  Critics of hypnotherapy say the number of sessions needed for it to work make it a costly treatment option.

Supporters say it is cheaper than the bill for prescription drugs and consultations with specialists.

Hypnotism, once the preserve of quacks and fairground chicanery, is gaining ground within the medical profession.  It is being used more and more as a form of pain control - to help women give birth without drugs and dampen dental pain, for instance, to help treat phobias and severe anxieties, as well as address lifestyle problems such as weight loss, smoking and sporting or academic prowess.

Health-Report Comment:

At least hypnotherapy would have to be better than cutting the appendix out of hapless individuals with IBS as discussed in the preceding news item. Perhaps the benefits of hypnotherapy lie with the relaxation and de-stressing that occurs for patients receiving the therapy.

Geoff Goldie

Thursday, 21 December, 2000 BBC News

Yoghurt (probiotic) bacteria 'fights' super-bugs

A bacterium related to those found in "bio" yoghurts may be able to restrict the growth of the so-called "superbug" MRSA.

Laboratory research, reported in New Scientist, found that a strain of the Lactobacillus fermentum bacterium, had an effect on the spread of the more dangerous Staphylococcus aureus.

This strain is similar, although not identical, to those contained in many varieties of "live" yoghurts which are marketed as a way of maintaining digestive health.  Scientists coated small sheets of silicone with Staphylococcus aureus, and half also recieved a coating of the Lactobacillus bacteria.

These were then implanted under the skin of rats and left for a few days. They discovered that those given a sheet with only Staphylococcus had developed sores filled with pus - a sign of serious developing infection.

Those given both types of bacteria had clean and healthy wounds.

Gregor Reid, one of the microbiologists carrying out the research at the University of Western Ontario, is not sure why Lactobacillus appears able to inhibit the growth of the more dangerous bacteria. He believes it may secrete a protein which stops Staphylococcus binding onto human cells.

In addition, simply slowing down rather than destroying the Staphylococcus may help prevent strains becoming more resistant to antibiotic treatment. Antibiotics work by killing the bacteria, so the weaker strains are more likely to perish, leaving any which have developed resistance to thrive.

Survival of the toughest

Over time, this means powerful strains have the right environment to survive. In immunosuppressed patients, or those weakened by illness or surgery, antibiotic resistant bacteria can be dangerous. Many of these strains are present in the UK's general hospitals. A treatment which inhibits rather than kills bacteria is less likely to speed the arrival of resistant strains.  Dr Reid told New Scientist that using "live" was an option: "In patients facing death or amputation it is worthy of investigation."

The potential of using harmless bacteria such as Lactobacillus has been investigated by other doctors as a potential treatment for life-threatening diarrhoea, particularly in children.  Dr James Soothill, a consultant microbiologist at Great Ormond Street children's hospital in London, said that the protective effect of particular strains in the vagina was well known.

He told BBC News Online: "They produce acid which in turn produces an environment in which it is difficult for other, more harmful, bacteria to live.

"There is certainly a lot of interest in using live bacteria for a wide variety of applications."

Health-Report Comment:

Anecdotal evidence has shown for many years now, properly prepared probiotic formulas with "good" bacteria give remarkable results for people with gastro-intestinal disorders such as IBS and Crohn's disease and colitis. However, due to the huge numbers of variables when trying to scientifically evaluate a trial involving probiotics, the scientific community dismiss the obvious results that most people attain on probiotics as "unscientific". Isn't it about time more credence was given to people who have recovered good health when using a natural approach rather than dismiss it as anecdotal rubbish and advocate toxic drugs instead?

Really when all is said and done, we only need to look back into history a very short span of time to find that auto-immune conditions which are so prevalent today, were virtually unheard of except in the more affluent members of the community.

I believe it's YOUR health and YOUR decision!  You are ultimately responsible for your health. No-one else can take that responsibility on for you!

Geoff Goldie

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