The new study adds to previous research by the University of Helsinki into the merits of probiotics on dermatitis in children, but uses an independent analysis index to confirm the results.
Professor Susan Prescott and colleagues from the University of Western Australia in Perth used the Severity Scoring of Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD) index to classify a group of children aged between 6-18 months and assess their improvements.
They investigated the effects of a course of L fermentum VRI-003 PCC, made by Probiomics Australia, on 53 children scoring more than 25 on the SCORAD index.
Twenty-seven children were given 1 billion cfu of L fermentum freeze-dried powder twice daily for 16 weeks. The remaining children received maltodextran without probiotics twice daily for the same duration.
Both supplements were reconstituted by parents with 5-10 ml of water and administered orally as a suspension.
Results indicated that the reduction in the SCORAD severity scale over time was significant in the probiotic group - 92 per cent scored better at 16 weeks than at baseline - but not the placebo group.
The control set saw only a 63 per cent SCORAD improvement in their conditions.
Further tests proved that the probiotic group enjoyed a reduction in severe AD symptoms, with 54 per cent recording a drop from acute to mild AD, compared with the placebo group who saw a 30 per cent decline in severe conditions.
The SCORAD index, originally developed by the European Task Force on AD as a referent clinical severity scale, scores the extent and subjective symptoms according to clinically approved consensus agreed by more than 20 dermatologists.
First defined in 1933, AD is one of the most common skin conditions in children. Its course is chronic and recurrent. The main symptom of AD is acute pruritus accompanying eczematous skin lesions.