Aug 18, 2017

Study finds probiotics can boost health for babies in developing world

Allison Joyce / AP

A new study found targeted probiotics — strains of beneficial bacteria — can reduce sepsis and other potentially life-threatening conditions in newborns, per The Atlantic.

  • The study: In the largest trial of its kind, 4,557 Indian newborns were treated for just one week with a specially-developed "synbiotic," a probiotic strain boosted with a sugar, designed to take root in the infant gut.
  • By the numbers: The researchers calculated that their probiotic strain should reduce the risk of sepsis, which kills hundreds of thousands of newborns each year, by 25-50%. The study also saw significant and "completely unexpected" reductions in bacterial infections and pneumonia in treated newborns.
  • Why it matters: The treatment is a cheap, easily replicated way to ensure the health of newborns and reduce the usage of antibiotics in the developing world. Indeed, the trial was so successful that it was stopped early because it was considered unethical to prevent children from receiving the treatment.

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Live updates: Coronavirus spreads to Latin America

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Brazil confirmed the first novel coronavirus case in Latin America Wednesday — a 61-year-old that tested positive after returning from a visit to northern Italy, the epicenter of Europe's outbreak.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,261 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 374 cases have been confirmed.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

GOP congressman accuses California pension official of working for China

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The latest season of Red Scare has come to Sacramento.

Driving the news: Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) has repeatedly accused Ben Meng, chief investment officer of the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) of tacitly working on behalf of the Chinese government. Banks also says that, were it up to him, Meng would be fired — and has questioned the patriotism of California Gov. Gavin Newsom for not at least investigating Meng.

Go deeperArrow1 hour ago - World

South Carolina "kingmaker" Jim Clyburn endorses Joe Biden

Joe Biden with Rep. Jim Clyburn at the World Famous Jim Clyburn Fish Fry in Columbia, South Carolina in June 2019. Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), the highest-ranking black member of Congress, endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden Wednesday, days before South Carolina's primary.

Why it matters: Clyburn wields tremendous political influence in South Carolina, where a weak showing by Biden could be the death blow to his presidential campaign. Biden has long viewed the state as his firewall due to his strong support among black voters, who make up about 60% of South Carolina's Democratic electorate.