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Probiotic May Help Treat Crohn's Disease

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Updated: 3/19 12:50 pm

Oct. 20, 2008 -- A gut bacterium called F. prausnitzii may make a good probiotic treatment for Crohn's disease, French researchers report.

The scientists noticed that patients whose Crohn's disease recurred within six months of Crohn's disease surgery tended to be low on F. prausnitzii, compared to other patients.

Lab tests on cells showed that F. prausnitzii has anti-inflammatory effects, though it didn't kill bad bacteria. So the researchers went one step further, using F. prausnitzii to treat colitis in mice. Those mice lost less weight and had less inflammation than other mice with colitis that didn't get F. prausnitzii treatment.

Using F. prausnitzii as a probiotic "appears to be a promising strategy" for treating Crohn's disease, write the researchers, adding that more work is needed to develop the treatment and to identify which Crohn's patients are most likely to benefit from such treatment.

The findings appear in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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