HEALTH

Study: Probiotic strain effective in alleviating IBS

BY Michael Johnsen

CLEVELAND A new study published in the March issue of Postgraduate Medicine found that a strain of probiotic bacteria, Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, PTA-6086 was effective in relieving abdominal pain and bloating in subjects with irritable bowel syndrome.

As many as 25% of the U.S. population suffer from IBS, a condition characterized by a number of digestive problems. The new study adds to the growing body of evidence that certain probiotics can help with IBS and provides hope for IBS sufferers of a new option.

“IBS is the most common functional gastrointestinal disorder and represents a tremendous public health problem,” stated Nicholas Talley, author of a scientific review article about the impact functional gastrointestinal disorders have on society.

The study found that subjects taking the Bacillus coagulans probiotic strain experienced statistically significant reductions in abdominal pain and bloating versus baseline at each of the weekly measurements taken throughout the 8-week study. Subjects taking placebo experienced statistically significant reductions in just two of the weekly abdominal pain measurements and saw no statistically significant effect in bloating.

“This study helps confirm that Bacillus coagulans is effective in IBS,” stated Larysa Hun, author of the 44-subject study. “A combination of Bacillus coagulans, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Streptococcus thermophilus was previously shown in a clinical trial to significantly improve IBS symptoms, but it was not possible to determine what effect, if any, each strain had by itself.”

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Influenza activity levels off as flu season nears its end

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA This year’s flu and cold season is nearing its end, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday, as influenza activity decreased slightly in the United States for the week ended March 14.

Influenza-like illnesses decreased nationally and in 8-of-the-9 regions, compared with the previous week, the CDC reported.

A total of 30 states reported widespread influenza activity, while 18 states reported regional activity. Two states reported local influenza activity; and Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia reported sporadic influenza activity.

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U.S. District Court finds FDA’s actions on Plan B tainted by politics

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK A federal judge ordered the Food and Drug Administration to allow 17-year-olds to buy the Plan B (levonogestrel) contraceptive pill behind the counter Monday, accusing the FDA of giving in to political influence.

Edward Korman, U.S. district judge for the Eastern District of New York, accused the FDA of dragging its feet in deciding whether to approve BTC sales of the drug to teenage girls. The drug already is sold behind the counter to women 18 and older.

The court has ordered the FDA to make Plan B available to 17-year-olds without prescription starting in 30 days.

Barr Labs, which Teva Pharmaceutical Industries recently acquired, markets Plan B.

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