21 Feb 2013

Probiotic study aims to cut eczema and allergies

9:32 pm on 21 February 2013

Researchers are urging women in early pregnancy to join a study aimed at reducing eczema and allergies including asthma in children.

The study involves women taking healthy organisms known as probiotics.

Teams of researchers at Auckland University and Otago University in Wellington are running the study.

Wellington paediatrician Thorsten Stanley says an earlier study involving women in late pregnancy taking a probiotic halved eczema rates in their children.

He says researchers hope that giving a potent probiotic to women earlier - starting at 16 weeks gestation - might rid their children of allergies altogether.

Dr Stanley says probiotics have been shown to help a wide range of conditions, but just the right one is needed to target allergies.

He says it is safe and will involve participants taking a capsule a day, which would be either a probiotic or a placebo.