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"This rigorous new research finds that probiotics modify the gut microbiota to prevent hepatic encephalopathy in patients with cirrhosis of the liver," said
"By virtue of its size, study duration and design, as well as the thorough nature of the baseline and follow-up assessments, this study represents an important contribution to the hepatic encephalopathy literature," added Dr. Victor, a practicing hepatologist in the Methodist J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center at
Up to 45 percent of patients with cirrhosis develop hepatic encephalopathy, a loss of brain function that occurs when the liver is unable to remove toxins from the blood. Prognosis is poor, with a 58 percent mortality rate at one year, and a 77 percent mortality rate at three years. Research into safer and more effective treatments is essential for these patients.
For more information on probiotics, read AGA's patient brochure (http://www.gastro.org/patient-center/diet-medications/probiotics).
The microbial communities that reside in the human gut and their impact on human health and disease are one of the most exciting and promising areas of research today.
1 Lunia, MK. Probiotics Prevent Hepatic Encephalopathy in Patients With Cirrhosis: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2014;12(6):1003-1008.e1
2 Victor, DW. Hepatic Encephalopathy Involves Interactions Among the Microbiota, Gut, Brain. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2014: 12(6): 1009-1011
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