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Probiotics latest weapon against superbugs
PROBIOTIC yoghurts are the latest weapons being used by hospitals to cut the risk of patients developing superbugs such as Clostridium difficile, it was revealed yesterday.
Free pots of yoghurts containing "friendly" bacteria are being handed out to patients deemed to be at a higher risk of contracting potentially fatal superbugs.

The trial is being carried out at hospitals run by Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust. Matthew Fletcher, its medical director, said: "We are providing probiotic yoghurt to patients on the wards where we ha ve previously had more cases of C diff.

"There is some evidence to suggest that using these probiotics may reduce a patient's risk of C diff, and we will be evaluating the difference this has made to the number of cases."

Friendly bacteria are said to aid digestion in the gut and reduce the chances of having stomach upsets. Research suggests they help prevent bowel conditions such as ulcerative colitis, protect children against allergies and may even cut the risk of colon cancer.

Probiotic products may be in the form of yoghurt-style drinks, supplements or powders. All claim to improve health by boosting the levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

Some 50 different products are marketed in the UK. But scientists in 2006 warned that some did not live up to the promises made on their labels. The warning did not apply to big-name brands such as Yakult, Actimel and Vitality.

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