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Probiotics a future treatment for asthma?

 

Narrator:        This is Science Today. Probiotics — or live bacteria supplements — are commonly used to foster gastrointestinal health. Now, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, suggest that probiotics could eventually be used to treat and prevent certain kinds of asthma.

Huang:            A lot of research has been done in the gastrointestinal tract but relatively little has been done in the respiratory tract.

Narrator:         Study leader Yvonne Huang discovered that asthma may be linked to the presence of bacterial colonies in the bronchial airways, a region that scientists once believed to be sterile. Her findings could lead to alternative therapies, including probiotics, that would help asthmatics maintain respiratory health.

Huang:            One sort of theoretical possibility is that we could develop probiotic-type medications that might modulate the collective community of bacteria present in the respiratory tract such that they're better able to protect against other more noxious bacteria in the airways of patients with asthma.            

Narrator:         For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.