At Last, a Big, Successful Trial of Probiotics - the Atlantic
Aside from preventing sepsis, it also reduced the risk of infections by both the major groups of bacteria: the Gram-positives, by 82 percent; and the Gram-negatives, which are harder to treat with antibiotics, by 75 percent. It even reduced the risk of pneumonia and other infections of the airways by 34 percent. That was “completely unexpected,” says Panigrahi, and it’s the result he’s especially excited about. It suggests that the synbiotic isn’t just acting within the gut, but also giving the infants’ immune systems a body-wide boost.
Probiotics are not without risk. There have been rare cases where the bacteria in these products have caused sepsis in newborn or preterm infants. But Panigrahi saw no signs of that in his study: His synbiotic didn’t seem to cause any harmful side effects.