Helping Patients Make Informed Choices about Probiotics
The Common Fund’s Human Microbiome Project is generating interest in bioengineered therapies based on probiotics, dietary supplements or foods that contain beneficial or ’good‘ bacteria similar to those normally found in the human body. Although people do not need probiotics to be healthy, these microorganisms may provide some of the same health benefits, such as improved digestion and protection against harmful bacteria, produced by bacteria already existing in the body. The national debate on ethical and social considerations for using probiotics has focused on “over the counter” applications in which doctors are not typically involved in the selection and use of the probiotic. While new probiotic therapies are becoming increasing common among caregivers, little is known about how patients perceive these treatment options. To be successfully integrated into patient care, we must understand patient attitudes and beliefs about treatments involving bioengineered probiotics.
Sharp RR, Achkar JP, Brinich MA, and Farrell RM. Am J Gastroenterol. 2009 104:809-813. Link: http://www.nature.com/ajg/journal/v104/n4/full/ajg200868a.pdf
Up to Top