Children all over the world, especially in poorer countries, suffer from diseases and illnesses that hinder their growth and put their lives in jeopardy. Unfortunately, not all of these children can receive help and some suffer from diseases that still do not have a cure. However, to the surprise of many, one of the more common conditions found in these countries may have just obtained a treatment, and it comes from the most unlikely of places.
The original study took place in the rural parts of India, where scientists began to test out the effect that different probiotics would have on children, specifically with the goal of finding a way to fight Sepsis. Sepsis is an illness in which the body has a severe response to bacteria or other germs. Sepsis can be found mostly in poorer countries such as India and countries near it and is usually caused by malnutrition and diarrhoea.
Having Sepsis can lead to fevers, rashes or even loss of major organs like kidneys, livers and lungs. Its prevalence in these countries is so high that it’s managed to kill up to 600,000 newborns a year.
Usually, the solution for something like Sepsis would be probiotics, which are used for cleaning the stomach and getting rid of bacteria in it (such as Kombucha). But probiotics aren’t like vitamins; you need to consume the right probiotic for the right problem. Otherwise, it could have troublesome effects for your organism; they are still bacteria after all.
Given this, scientists led by health statistician from the University of California, Daniel J. Tancredi, started a journey to find a bacteria that could fight Sepsis without entering the bloodstream. It wasn’t a short project either; they spent over a decade trying out 258 different strains of bacteria, from things such as Indian Yogurt and Health Food products in an attempt to find the right pressure.
The winner of this study ended up being a strain of Lactobacillus bacteria, a type of bacteria obtained in the diapers of healthy babies (yes, it’s what you think). Children tested with this probiotic overcame not only Sepsis but also had fewer cases of pneumonia and fewer bouts of diarrhoea.
That being said, as beneficial as the results are, it still isn’t clear how accurate they can be considered. The Lactobacillus bacteria still needs to go through more rigorous tests. At the same time, the results of this test, if confirmed, could be a real game changer in the realm of health, especially for poorer countries due to how cheap and easy to supply the probiotic.
Sadly, the word probiotic itself might make things difficult when it comes to ironing out the kinks behind these tests. Probiotics are still seen as part of naturopathy which, while gaining traction, is treated as fake or a different type of medicine by a lot of doctors and people in the medical world, so it’ll probably be a while before we can hear any more on this subject.
Photo Credits: Medineuro, New York Times