Infant colic, or excessive crying for no apparent cause, is extremely common and can have significant consequences for the baby and their mother’s mental health. It affects up to 20% of infants.
Probiotics for treating infant colic, which was published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in April 2014, is the largest and most rigorous trial to date to show the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri is ineffective in treating both breast and formula fed infants with colic, despite other studies recommendations supporting its use.
There had been four other similar studies conducted in Europe and Canada which indicated the probiotic to be effective, however these studies were much smaller, used different measures, and included only babies who were breastfed.
Subsequently within 24 hours of her thesis publication, Valerie’s research received critical and passionate responses from which she has written and published several review articles to discuss why her results might have differed to similar studies.
Valerie says her study which was designed to be more inclusive to reflect real life situation of babies with colic was the only negative study among many others and as such received significant attention upon its completion: The BMJ article has been accessed almost 50,000 times since its release and has had 75 citations.
“To take advantage of this unique position I began collaborating with authors from the other studies so they could contribute their raw data for combined analysis to further enhance information in this area,” said Valerie.
Valerie is leading this international collaboration and a protocol paper stemming from this research has been published with the results soon to be released.
(Source: Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, British Medical Journal)