Probiotics for Pediatric Fatty Liver Disease and Bumblebee Microbiota

Zinnia elegans with Bombus
Changes in bumblebee intestinal microbiota can leave them susceptible to infection.
This week on BBS! VSL#3 proves useful for the treatment of children with fatty liver disease, Bumblebee microbiota helps prevent parasite infections, and frozen fecal bacteria are an option for fecal microbiota transplantation.

Probiotics for Pediatric Fatty Liver Disease

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is characterized by the deposition of fat in the liver, and it is associated with insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. Previous studies indicated that probiotics could be helpful for adult patients, however, it was unknown if the same results could be achieved in children. To investigate if probiotics could be useful for children with NAFLD, Dr. A. Alisi of “Bambino Gesu” Children’s Hospital in Rome offered children with NAFLD the probiotic VSL#3. After four months of treatment, the livers of the children were analyzed, and it was found that the children with VSL#3 had significant reductions in liver fat deposits.

Bumblebee Microbiota Staves off Infection

Like humans, insects also depend on gut bacteria for optimal health. To determine the relationship between changes in the bumblebee’s intestinal bacteria and disease, Dr. Daniel P. Cariveau of Rutgers University looked at the microbiota composition of different bumblebee species and their susceptibility to a common parasite. He found that most bumblebees share a “core” set of bacteria species. Susceptibility to parasites increased when both the abundance of core bacteria was low and when the variety of non-core species was increased.

Frozen Fecal Bacteria for Clostridium Difficile

Clostridium difficile infection, which is the main culprit in antibiotic associated diarrhea, is often treated with high doses of antibiotics. A new method of treatment, which is proving successful, is fecal microbiota transplantation. This method transfers bacteria collected from healthy donor stools to patients suffering from C. difficile infection. The method traditionally uses fresh donor stools, however, this is not always possible to arrange. To find a solution, Dr. Ilan Youngster of Massachusetts General Hospital examined the possibility of using bacteria from frozen stool samples. He found that this method could result in an overall cure rate of 90%. This could make the technique more attractive to many practitioners and patients.

References

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