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Probiotics May Help Fight Flu in Children: Study

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Probiotics may help prevent flu symptoms and reduce their duration in children, according to a study sponsored by a company that makes probiotics products. But some experts are skeptical about the findings.

The study of nearly 250 Chinese children, ages 3 to 5 years old, found that taking probiotics for six months reduced fever incidence by up to 72.7 percent, decreased coughing by up to 62.1 percent, and reduced runny noses by up to 58.5 percent, ABC News reported.

The Danish nutritional supplement company Danisco funded the study, which was published in the journal Pediatrics.

"It is a surprising result and one that is hard to reconcile with traditional medical wisdom," Dr. Julie Gerberding, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told ABC News. "I would take (the findings) as 'interesting but still very preliminary.'"

"Most practitioners will feel more confident when these results are replicated in trials sponsored by government or other parties without a potential conflict of interest," noted Dr. Kathi Kemper of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C.

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