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Probiotics May Benefit Health and Quality of Life of Older People
Date:5/1/2008

Experts Discuss Promising Research at The American Geriatrics Society

Symposium

WASHINGTON, May 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Cutting-edge science on the potential for probiotics in geriatric health and disease was presented at The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) Annual Meeting in a symposium, "Probiotics: Impact on Health and Quality of Life in Older People." Leading scientists and physicians shared the newest science on probiotics and how they relate to immune function, intestinal disorders, inflammation, and cancer in older adults.

Probiotics are "friendly" bacteria, like those in certain yogurts and fermented dairy drinks that can provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition. Research has shown that regularly consuming certain specific probiotics can help strengthen the body's natural defenses, or improving digestive health.

At the symposium, John E. Morley, MB, B.Ch. of Saint Louis University School of Medicine led a world-class panel of speakers who stimulated scientific dialog concerning the benefits from specific "friendly" bacteria in older adults and their use in clinical applications.

Dr. Allan Walker, Director of the Division of Nutrition at Harvard Medical School, opened by providing an overview of probiotics. He explained that probiotics act on the intestinal tract to modulate the intestinal microbiota and other intestinal functions. Adding probiotics to the diet can change the composition of gut flora in older people, optimizing the functioning of the intestinal lining as well as the immune system. About 70 percent of our body's immune system is located in the digestive tract.

There will be approximately 2 billion people over the age of 60 by 2050. As we age, there is impairment of all of the different arms of immune function, reported Dr. Simin Meydani, Associate Director of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center at Tufts University. The main problem older people face is
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