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SPECIAL TOPICS

Probiotics

Published: February 2010

The baseline time span for this database is (publication years) 1999-October 31, 2009 from the fifth bimonthly update (a 10-year + 10-month period). The resulting database contained 6,120 (10 years) and 2,679 (2 years) papers; 15,274 authors; 106 nations; 1,015 journals; and 4,014 institutions. See additional information below in the overview & methodology sections.

Top 20 Papers

  10-year period
  2-year period

Top 20 Overall

  Authors
  Institutions
  Journals
  Nations

Research Front Map

  Map title: PROBIOTICS AND ANTIOXIDANT CAPACITY

Time Series

  1- & 5-year periods

Field Distribution

Interviews

  Interviews, first-person essays, and profiles about people in a wide variety of fields which pertain to this special topic of Probiotics.
   

OVERVIEW

Probiotics have become quite the buzzword in nutritional marketing these days, but what exactly are they, and what do they do? According to the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, probiotics are live microorganisms, similar to microflora found in the human gut, and can convey health benefits. Clinical trials have been performed to explore the benefits of these "friendly bacteria" in various conditions, and probiotics are commercially available in food products and supplement forms, but their benefits to general health and wellness are not fully proven; the field of probiotic therapy is still in its infancy.

Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Bifidobacterium bifidum. Photo Credit: SciMAT/Photo Researchers, Inc.

Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Bifidobacterium bifidum. This image is from an article titled, "An Introduction to Probiotics," from the NIH.  NCCAM Publication No. D345.

Photo Credit: SciMAT/Photo Researchers, Inc.

This month, ScienceWatch.com examines the literature on probiotics over the past decade and over the past two years. The initial data pool was constructed using the keyword "probiot*" to search titles, abstracts, and keywords of original articles, reviews, and proceedings papers published between January 1, 1999 and October 31, 2009. To make the paper lists more on-target to the topic, the search term was restricted to the title only.

Over the past decade, the most-cited clinical trials include the comparison of the probiotic Escherichia coli Nissle 17 with the anti-inflammatory agent mesalazine for maintaining remission in patients with ulcerative colitis; placebo-controlled trials of VSL#3 for maintaining remission in patients with refractory or recurrent pouchitis; and perinatal administration of Lactobacillus GG for the prevention of atopic disease. Another trial showed that Lactobacillus GG did not help patients with Crohn's disease.

Other studies garnering citation attention over the past decade include fecal analyses of healthy subjects and patients taking probiotics; the role of toll-like receptor 9 signaling in the anti-inflammatory effects of probiotics; the probiotic potential of a variety of Lactobacillus strains; and the effects of VSL#3 in mouse models of disease, including colitis and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Two trials with negative results headline the two-year list: the first shows that probiotic prophylaxis is not beneficial for patients with predicted severe acute pancreatitis, and the second shows that probiotic supplements given during the first six months of life in high-risk children do not reduce the risk for atopic dermatitis, and may in fact increase the risk of allergen sensitization. Other clinical trials on this list show the benefit of prenatal administration of probiotics and prebiotics; in addition, probiotics can help prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea in adults and children, and are useful in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome and in eradicating Helicobacter pylori. On the other hand, still more studies on this list show no benefit of certain probiotics in Crohn's disease.

Meta-analyses examine the issues of probiotics for preterm neonates at high risk for necrotizing enterocolitis, as well as the controversy of whether or not probiotics can prevent and treat atopic dermatitis in children. Other studies on the two-year list include a rat model of acute pancreatitis, a mouse model of symbiotic gut microbial-host metabolic interactions, and the role of VSL#3 in mucin gene expression.

Methodology: The baseline time span for this database is (publication years) 1999-October 31, 2009 from the fifth bimonthly update (a 10-year + 10-month period). The resulting database contained 6,120 (10 years) and 2,679 (2 years) papers; 15,274 authors; 106 nations; 1,015 journals; and 4,014 institutions.

Rankings: Once the database was in place, it was used to generate list of authors, journals, institutions, and nations. Rankings for author, journal, institution, and country are listed in three ways: according to total cites, total papers, and total cites/paper*. The paper thresholds and corresponding percentages used to determine scientist, institution, country, and journal rankings according to total cites/paper, and total papers respectively are as follows:

Entity Authors Institutions Nations Journals
Thresholds 11 32 10 5
Percentage: 1% 1% 50% 50%
*Unless otherwise specified, all rankings have a 5 paper threshold for all measures.

SPECIAL TOPIC KEYWORDS: probiotics, prophylaxis, atopic disease, pouchitis, probiotic bacteria, intestinal epithelial barrier function, anti-inflammatory effects, ulcerative colitis, atopic eczema, enteric microflora, inflammatory bowel diseases, antibiotics, prebiotics, toll-like receptor 9, fecal microflora, tnf, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, antibiotic-associated diarrhoea, crohn's disease, aquaculture, biological control agents, lactobacillus spp, escherichia coli spp, dairy foods, pancreatitis, galacto-oligosaccharides, necrotizing enterocolitis, irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhoea, allergic diseases, neonates, children, beta-defensin 2, mucin gene, symbiotic gut microbial-host metabolic interactions, multispecies probiotic supplementation, clinical trials.

           



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