NPR

Could Probiotics Protect Kids From A Downside Of Antibiotics?

Many marketing claims about the potential benefits of probiotics have raced ahead of the science, say researchers who are now trying to catch up. One NIH study is investigating kids' gut microbes.
Michele Comisky of Vienna, Va., enrolled her 8-year-old son Jackson in a study to test the value of probiotics in preventing the gut distress often experienced when taking antibiotics. Source: Rob Stein/NPR

It's a typical hectic morning at Michele Comisky's house in Vienna, Va., when she gets a knock on her front door.

"Hi, how are you?" Comisky says as she greets Keisha Herbin Smith, a research assistant at Georgetown University. "Come on in."

Comisky, 39, leads Herbin Smith into her kitchen.

"Which one isn't feeling good?" asks Herbin Smith, glancing at Comisky's children. "That one," Comisky says, pointing to her 8-year-old son, Jackson.

Jackson has an ear infection. So he just started 10 days of antibiotics to kill the strain of bacteria that's giving him an earache. That's

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