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BMJ Paediatr Open. 2017 Nov 25;1(1):e000176. doi: 10.1136/bmjpo-2017-000176. eCollection 2017.

Probiotics, prematurity and neurodevelopment: follow-up of a randomised trial.

Author information

1
Neonatal Services, The Royal Women's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.
2
Clinical Sciences, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia.
3
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.
4
Department of Neonatal Medicine, The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.
5
Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Unit, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia.
6
Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.
7
Department of Paediatrics, Mercy Hospital for Women, Melbourne, Australia.
8
Women's Centre for Infectious Diseases and Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, The Royal Women's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.
9
Infection and Immunity group, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia.
10
Department of Microbiology, The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.

Abstract

Objective:

To determine the impact of one probiotics combination on the neurodevelopment of very preterm children at 2-5 years corrected gestational age (CA).

Design:

Follow-up study of survivors of a double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomised trial of probiotic effects on late-onset sepsis in very preterm infants that found reduced necrotising enterocolitis.

Setting:

10 tertiary perinatal centres in Australia and New Zealand.

Patients:

1099 very preterm infants born <32 weeks' gestation and weighing <1500 g.

Intervention:

Probiotics (Bifidobacterium infantis, Streptococcus thermophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis) or placebo administered from birth until discharge home or term CA, whichever came sooner.

Main outcome measures:

Major neurodevelopmental impairment comprised any of moderate/severe cerebral palsy (Gross Motor Function Classification System score 2-5), motor impairment (Bayley-III Motor Composite Scale <-2SD or Movement Assessment Battery for Children <15th centile if >42 months' CA), cognitive impairment (Bayley-III Composite Cognitive or Language Scales <-2SD or Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence Full Scale Intelligence Quotient <-2SD if >42 months' CA), blindness or deafness.

Results:

Outcome data were available for 735 (67%) participants, with 71 deaths and 664/1028 survivors assessed at a mean age of 30 months. Survival free of major neurodevelopmental impairment was comparable between groups (probiotics 281 (75.3%) vs placebo 271 (74.9%); relative risk 1.01 (95% CI 0.93 to 1.09)). Rates of deafness were lower in probiotic-treated children (0.6% vs 3.4%).

Conclusion:

Administration of the probiotics combination Bifidobacterium infantis, Streptococcus thermophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis to very preterm babies from soon after birth until discharge home or term CA did not adversely affect neurodevelopment or behaviour in early childhood.

Trial registration number:

Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Register (ANZCTR): ACTRN012607000144415.

KEYWORDS:

Neurodevelopment

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