Effect of Oral Administration of a Mixture of Probiotic Strains on SCORAD Index and Use of Topical Steroids in Young Patients With Moderate Atopic Dermatitis

Key Points

Question  Can treatment with an oral probiotic reduce the SCORAD index and the use of topical steroids in children with moderate atopic dermatitis?

Findings  This randomized clinical trial of 50 children treated with a mixture of probiotics or placebo for 12 weeks found that SCORAD and topical steroid use decreased significantly in the probiotic group compared with the placebo group.

Meaning  This probiotic is an effective and safe coadjuvant treatment to reduce the SCORAD index and topical steroid use in children with moderate atopic dermatitis.


Importance  Oral intake of new probiotic formulations may improve the course of atopic dermatitis (AD) in a young population.

Objective  To determine whether a mixture of oral probiotics is safe and effective in the treatment of AD symptoms and to evaluate its influence on the use of topical steroids in a young population.

Design, Setting, and Participants  A 12-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled intervention trial, from March to June 2016, at the outpatient hospital Centro Dermatológico Estético de Alicante, Alicante, Spain. Observers were blinded to patient groupings. Participants were children aged 4 to 17 years with moderate atopic dermatitis. The groups were stratified and block randomized according to sex, age, and age of onset. Patients were ineligible if they had used systemic immunosuppressive drugs in the previous 3 months or antibiotics in the previous 2 weeks or had a concomitant diagnosis of intestinal bowel disease or signs of bacterial infection.

Interventions  Twelve weeks with a daily capsule containing freeze-dried powder with 109 total colony-forming units of the probiotic strains Bifidobacterium lactis CECT 8145, B longum CECT 7347, and Lactobacillus casei CECT 9104 and maltodextrin as a carrier, or placebo (maltodextrin-only capsules).

Main Outcomes and Measures  SCORAD index score and days of topical steroid use were analyzed.

Results  Fifty children (26 [50%] female; mean [SD] age, 9.2 [3.7] years) participated. After 12 weeks of follow-up, the mean reduction in the SCORAD index in the probiotic group was 19.2 points greater than in the control group (mean difference, −19.2; 95% CI, −15.0 to −23.4). In relative terms, we observed a change of −83% (95% CI, −95% to −70%) in the probiotic group and −24% (95% CI, −36% to −11%) in the placebo group (P < .001). We found a significant reduction in the use of topical steroids to treat flares in the probiotic arm (161 of 2084 patient-days [7.7%]) compared with the control arm (220 of 2032 patient-days [10.8%]; odds ratio, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.51 to 0.78).

Conclusions and Relevance  The mixture of probiotics was effective in reducing SCORAD index and reducing the use of topical steroids in patients with moderate AD.



Restoration of euglycemia and normal acute insulin response to glucose in obese subjects with type 2 diabetes following bariatric surgery.

Insulin resistance and loss of glucose-stimulated acute insulin response (AIR) are the two major and earliest defects in the course of type 2 diabetes. We investigated whether weight loss after bariatric surgery in patients with morbid obesity and type 2 diabetes could restore euglycemia and normal AIR to an intravenous glucose tolerance test (IVGTT). We studied 25 morbidly obese patients-12 with type 2 diabetes, 5 with impaired glucose tolerance, and 8 with normal glucose tolerance (NGT)-before and after a biliopancreatic diversion (BPD) with Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGBP). Twelve individuals with normal BMI served as control subjects. Twelve months after surgery, in the diabetes group, BMI decreased from 53.2 +/- 2.0 to 29.2 +/- 1.7 kg/m(2), fasting glucose decreased from 9.5 +/- 0.83 to 4.5 +/- 0.13 mmol/l, and fasting insulin decreased from 168.4 +/- 25.9 to 37.7 +/- 4.4 pmol/l (mean +/- SE; P < 0.001). AIR, the mean of insulin concentration at 2, 3, and 5 min over basal in the IVGTT, increased by 770 and 935% at 3 and 12 months after surgery, respectively (from 24.0 +/- 22.7 to 209 +/- 43.4 and 248 +/- 33.1 pmol/l, respectively; P < 0,001). Conversely, in the NGT group, the AIR decreased by 40.5% (from 660 +/- 60 to 393 +/- 93 pmol/l; P = 0.027) 12 months after surgery. BPD with RYGBP performed in morbidly obese patients with type 2 diabetes leads to significant weight loss, euglycemia, and normal insulin sensitivity; but most importantly, it restores a normal beta-cell AIR to glucose and a normal relationship of AIR to insulin sensitivity. This is the first study to demonstrate that the lost glucose-induced AIR in patients with type 2 diabetes of mild or moderate severity is a reversible abnormality.


First results from the methods: numerical, galaxy formation, large-scale structure of Universe: matter and galaxy clustering


Hydrodynamical simulations of galaxy formation have now reached sufficient volume to make precision predictions for clustering on cosmologically relevant scales. Here, we use our new IllustrisTNG simulations to study the non-linear correlation functions and power spectra of baryons, dark matter, galaxies, and haloes over an exceptionally large range of scales. We find that baryonic effects increase the clustering of dark matter on small scales and damp the total matter power spectrum on scales up to k ∼ 10 h Mpc−1 by 20 per cent. The non-linear two-point correlation function of the stellar mass is close to a power-law over a wide range of scales and approximately invariant in time from very high redshift to the present. The two-point correlation function of the simulated galaxies agrees well with Sloan Digital Sky Survey at its mean redshift z ≃ 0.1, both as a function of stellar mass and when split according to galaxy colour, apart from a mild excess in the clustering of red galaxies in the stellar mass range of109–1010 h−2 M. Given this agreement, the TNG simulations can make valuable theoretical predictions for the clustering bias of different galaxy samples. We find that the clustering length of the galaxy autocorrelation function depends strongly on stellar mass and redshift. Its power-law slope γ is nearly invariant with stellar mass, but declines from γ ∼ 1.8 at redshift z = 0 to γ ∼ 1.6 at redshift z ∼ 1, beyond which the slope steepens again. We detect significant scale dependences in the bias of different observational tracers of large-scale structure, extending well into the range of the baryonic acoustic oscillations and causing nominal (yet fortunately correctable) shifts of the acoustic peaks of around ∼ 5 per cent.

Halogens in chondritic meteorites and terrestrial accretion.


Volatile element delivery and retention played a fundamental part in Earth’s formation and subsequent chemical differentiation. The heavy halogens-chlorine (Cl), bromine (Br) and iodine (I)-are key tracers of accretionary processes owing to their high volatility and incompatibility, but have low abundances in most geological and planetary materials. However, noble gas proxy isotopes produced during neutron irradiation provide a high-sensitivity tool for the determination of heavy halogen abundances. Using such isotopes, here we show that Cl, Br and I abundances in carbonaceous, enstatite, Rumuruti and primitive ordinary chondrites are about 6 times, 9 times and 15-37 times lower, respectively, than previously reported and usually accepted estimates. This is independent of the oxidation state or petrological type of the chondrites. The ratios Br/Cl and I/Cl in all studied chondrites show a limited range, indistinguishable from bulk silicate Earth estimates. Our results demonstrate that the halogen depletion of bulk silicate Earth relative to primitive meteorites is consistent with the depletion of lithophile elements of similar volatility. These results for carbonaceous chondrites reveal that late accretion, constrained to a maximum of 0.5 ± 0.2 per cent of Earth’s silicate mass, cannot solely account for present-day terrestrial halogen inventories. It is estimated that 80-90 per cent of heavy halogens are concentrated in Earth’s surface reservoirs and have not undergone the extreme early loss observed in atmosphere-forming elements. Therefore, in addition to late-stage terrestrial accretion of halogens and mantle degassing, which has removed less than half of Earth’s dissolved mantle gases, the efficient extraction of halogen-rich fluids from the solid Earth during the earliest stages of terrestrial differentiation is also required to explain the presence of these heavy halogens at the surface. The hydropilic nature of halogens, whereby they track with water, supports this requirement, and is consistent with volatile-rich or water-rich late-stage terrestrial accretion.

Optimal timing of an invasive strategy in patients with non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndrome: a meta-analysis of randomised trials.


A routine invasive strategy is recommended for patients with non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndromes (NSTE-ACS). However, optimal timing of invasive strategy is less clearly defined. Individual clinical trials were underpowered to detect a mortality benefit; we therefore did a meta-analysis to assess the effect of timing on mortality.

We identified randomised controlled trials comparing an early versus a delayed invasive strategy in patients presenting with NSTE-ACS by searching MEDLINE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Embase. We included trials that reported all-cause mortality at least 30 days after in-hospital randomisation and for which the trial investigators agreed to collaborate (ie, providing individual patient data or standardised tabulated data). We pooled hazard ratios (HRs) using random-effects models. This meta-analysis is registered at PROSPERO (CRD42015018988).

We included eight trials (n=5324 patients) with a median follow-up of 180 days (IQR 180-360). Overall, there was no significant mortality reduction in the early invasive group compared with the delayed invasive group HR 0·81, 95% CI 0·64-1·03; p=0·0879). In pre-specified analyses of high-risk patients, we found lower mortality with an early invasive strategy in patients with elevated cardiac biomarkers at baseline (HR 0·761, 95% CI 0·581-0·996), diabetes (0·67, 0·45-0·99), a GRACE risk score more than 140 (0·70, 0·52-0·95), and aged 75 years older (0·65, 0·46-0·93), although tests for interaction were inconclusive.

An early invasive strategy does not reduce mortality compared with a delayed invasive strategy in all patients with NSTE-ACS. However, an early invasive strategy might reduce mortality in high-risk patients.

Cetuximab plus carboplatin and paclitaxel with or without bevacizumab versus carboplatin and paclitaxel with or without bevacizumab in advanced NSCLC (SWOG S0819): a randomised, phase 3 study.


EGFR antibodies have shown promise in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), particularly with squamous cell histology. We hypothesised that EGFR copy number by fluorescence in-situ hybridisation (FISH) can identify patients most likely to benefit from these drugs combined with chemotherapy and we aimed to explore the activity of cetuximab with chemotherapy in patients with advanced NSCLC who are EGFR FISH-positive.

We did this open-label, phase 3 study (SWOG S0819) at 277 sites in the USA and Mexico. We randomly assigned (1:1) eligible patients with treatment-naive stage IV NSCLC to receive paclitaxel (200 mg/m2; every 21 days) plus carboplatin (area under the curve of 6 by modified Calvert formula; every 21 days) or carboplatin plus paclitaxel and bevacizumab (15 mg/kg; every 21 days), either with cetuximab (250 mg/m2 weekly after loading dose; cetuximab group) or without (control group), stratified by bevacizumab treatment, smoking status, and M-substage using a dynamic-balancing algorithm. Co-primary endpoints were progression-free survival in patients with EGFR FISH-positive cancer and overall survival in the entire study population. We analysed clinical outcomes with the intention-to-treat principle and analysis of safety outcomes included patients who received at least one dose of study drug. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov (number NCT00946712).

Between Aug 13, 2009, and May 30, 2014, we randomly assigned 1313 patients to the control group (n=657; 277 with bevacizumab and 380 without bevacizumab in the intention-to-treat population) or the cetuximab group (n=656; 283 with bevacizumab and 373 without bevacizumab in the intention-to-treat population). EGFR FISH was assessable in 976 patients and 400 patients (41%) were EGFR FISH-positive. The median follow-up for patients last known to be alive was 35·2 months (IQR 22·9-39·9). After 194 progression-free survival events in the cetuximab group and 198 in the control group in the EGFR FISH-positive subpopulation, progression-free survival did not differ between treatment groups (hazard ratio [HR] 0·92, 95% CI 0·75-1·12; p=0·40; median 5·4 months [95% CI 4·5-5·7] vs 4·8 months [3·9-5·5]). After 570 deaths in the cetuximab group and 593 in the control group, overall survival did not differ between the treatment groups in the entire study population (HR 0·93, 95% CI 0·83-1·04; p=0·22; median 10·9 months [95% CI 9·5-12·0] vs 9·2 months [8·7-10·3]). In the prespecified analysis of EGFR FISH-positive subpopulation with squamous cell histology, overall survival was significantly longer in the cetuximab group than in the control group (HR 0·58, 95% CI 0·36-0·86; p=0·0071), although progression-free survival did not differ between treatment groups in this subgroup (0·68, 0·46-1·01; p=0·055). Overall survival and progression-free survival did not differ among patients who were EGFR FISH non-positive with squamous cell histology (HR 1·04, 95% CI 0·78-1·40; p=0·77; and 1·02, 0·77-1·36; p=0·88 respectively) or patients with non-squamous histology regardless of EGFR FISH status (for EGFR FISH-positive 0·88, 0·68-1·14; p=0·34; and 0·99, 0·78-1·27; p=0·96; respectively; and for EGFR FISH non-positive 1·00, 0·85-1·17; p=0·97; and 1·03, 0·88-1·20; p=0·69; respectively). The most common grade 3-4 adverse events were decreased neutrophil count (210 [37%] in the cetuximab group vs 158 [25%] in the control group), decreased leucocyte count (103 [16%] vs 74 [20%]), fatigue (81 [13%] vs 74 [20%]), and acne or rash (52 [8%] vs one [<1%]). 59 (9%) patients in the cetuximab group and 31 (5%) patients in the control group had severe adverse events. Deaths related to treatment occurred in 32 (6%) patients in the cetuximab group and 13 (2%) patients in the control group.

Although this study did not meet its primary endpoints, prespecified subgroup analyses of patients with EGFR FISH-positive squamous-cell carcinoma cancers are encouraging and support continued evaluation of anti-EGFR antibodies in this subpopulation.

National Cancer Institute and Eli Lilly and Company.

Seven-Month Prostate-Specific Antigen Is Prognostic in Metastatic Hormone Sensitive Prostate Cancer Treated With Androgen Deprivation With Or Without Docetaxel.


Purpose We evaluated the relationship between prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and overall survival in the context of a prospectively randomized clinical trial comparing androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) plus docetaxel with ADT alone for initial metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer. Methods We performed a landmark survival analysis at 7 months using the E3805 Chemohormonal Therapy Versus Androgen Ablation Randomized Trial for Extensive Disease in Prostate Cancer (CHAARTED) database ( ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00309985). Inclusion required at least 7 months of follow-up and PSA levels at 7 months from ADT initiation. We used the prognostic classifiers identified in a previously reported trial (Southwest Oncology Group 9346) of PSA ≤ 0.2, > 0.2 to 4, and > 4 ng/dL. Results Seven hundred nineteen of 790 patients were eligible for this subanalysis; 358 were treated with ADT plus docetaxel, and 361 were treated with ADT alone. Median follow-up time was 23.1 months. On multivariable analysis, achieving a 7-month PSA ≤ 0.2 ng/dL was more likely with docetaxel, low-volume disease, prior local therapy, and lower baseline PSAs (all P ≤ .01). Across all patients, median overall survival was significantly longer if 7-month PSA reached ≤ 0.2 ng/dL compared with > 4 ng/dL (median survival, 60.4 v 22.2 months, respectively; P < .001). On multivariable analysis, 7-month PSA ≤ 0.2 and low volume disease were prognostic of longer overall survival (all P < 0.01). The addition of docetaxel increased the likelihood of achieving a PSA ≤ 0.2 ng/dL at 7 months (45.3% v 28.8% of patients on ADT alone). Patients on ADT alone who achieved a 7-month PSA ≤ 0.2 ng/dL had the best survival and were more likely to have low-volume disease (56.7%). Conclusion PSA ≤ 0.2 ng/dL at 7 months is prognostic for longer overall survival with ADT for metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer irrespective of docetaxel administration. Adding docetaxel increased the likelihood of a lower PSA and improved survival.

Interventions for smoking cessation in patients admitted with Acute Coronary Syndrome: a review


Tobacco smoking contributes to about six million deaths per year and is predicted to increase in the future. Several pharmacological interventions are used for smoking cessation. Trials using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) in acute coronary syndrome (ACS) showed inconclusive results. Furthermore, three trials using bupropion in patients admitted with ACS failed to show improvement in smoking cessation compared with placebo. Interestingly, only one trial using varenicline was successful in achieving smoking abstinence in the acute setting. With regard to behavioural interventions, a meta-analysis found that telephone counselling was successful in both the acute and stable settings, with greater effect in the acute setting. The best results for smoking cessation were found in trials that used a combination of pharmacological and behavioural interventions. The objective of this report is to review the results of studies on interventions used for smoking cessation after an ACS.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation on television: are we miseducating the public?


Background Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rates in the UK are poor, and non-medically trained individuals have been identified to perform substandard cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Millions watch televised medical dramas and, for many, these comprise their only education on CPR. This study aims to investigate the quality of CPR portrayed on these programmes and whether this has an effect on public knowledge.


Methods Prospective observational study of 30 consecutive episodes of three popular medical dramas. Public knowledge of CPR and viewing habits were assessed with a survey of non-medically trained personnel.


Results 90 episodes were reviewed with 39 resuscitation attempts shown. Chest compression rates varied from 60 to 204 compressions per minute with a median of 122 (95% CI 113 to 132). Depth varied from 1.5 to 7.5 cm with a median of 3 (3.15–4.31). Rate and depth were significantly different from the UK Resuscitation Council Guidelines (2010) (p<0.05, t-test). Survey participants (n=160, 80% response rate) documented what they thought was the correct rate and depth of chest compressions and were scored accordingly. Those who documented watching medical dramas regularly scored significantly worse than those who watched occasionally (p<0.05, Mann-Whitney test).


Conclusion Televised medical dramas depict CPR inaccurately and laypersons may be less well informed about the correct technique the more they tune into these programmes. While there may be other confounding variables, given the popularity of television medical dramas, the poor depiction may be significantly contributing to poor public CPR knowledge and represent a potential new avenue of public education.

HbA1c, diabetes and cognitive decline: the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing



The aim of the study was to evaluate longitudinal associations between HbA1c levels, diabetes status and subsequent cognitive decline over a 10 year follow-up period.


Data from wave 2 (2004–2005) to wave 7 (2014–2015) of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) were analysed. Cognitive function was assessed at baseline (wave 2) and reassessed every 2 years at waves 3–7. Linear mixed models were used to evaluate longitudinal associations.


The study comprised 5189 participants (55.1% women, mean age 65.6 ± 9.4 years) with baseline HbA1c levels ranging from 15.9 to 126.3 mmol/mol (3.6–13.7%). The mean follow-up duration was 8.1 ± 2.8 years and the mean number of cognitive assessments was 4.9 ± 1.5. A 1 mmol/mol increment in HbA1c was significantly associated with an increased rate of decline in global cognitive z scores (−0.0009 SD/year, 95% CI −0.0014, −0.0003), memory z scores (−0.0005 SD/year, 95% CI −0.0009, −0.0001) and executive function z scores (−0.0008 SD/year, 95% CI −0.0013, −0.0004) after adjustment for baseline age, sex, total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, triacylglycerol, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, BMI, education, marital status, depressive symptoms, current smoking, alcohol consumption, hypertension, CHD, stroke, chronic lung disease and cancer. Compared with participants with normoglycaemia, the multivariable-adjusted rate of global cognitive decline associated with prediabetes and diabetes was increased by −0.012 SD/year (95% CI −0.022, −0.002) and −0.031 SD/year (95% CI −0.046, −0.015), respectively (p for trend <0.001). Similarly, memory, executive function and orientation z scores showed an increased rate of cognitive decline with diabetes.


Significant longitudinal associations between HbA1c levels, diabetes status and long-term cognitive decline were observed in this study. Future studies are required to determine the effects of maintaining optimal glucose control on the rate of cognitive decline in people with diabetes.