Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant


Physician Assistant Studies

Department Chair

John Cavenagh, MBA, PhD, PA-C


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this systematic review is to determine whether or not probiotics are effective at reducing the symptoms of asthma in children ages birth to twelve-years old.

STUDY DESIGN: Review of three English-language, double-blinded randomized controlled trials (RCTs) from 2010 and 2011.

DATA SOURCES: Three peer-reviewed RCTs were found using PubMed database. These studies compared probiotics to placebos in patients with episodes of wheezing.

OUTCOMES MEASURED: Reduction in symptoms of asthma (particularly wheezing) measured with the use of diary cards and symptom scores.

RESULTS: Chen et al. demonstrated statistically significant improvement in daytime asthma symptoms in probiotic treated versus placebo treated children age 6–12 years, with a p value of 0.01. Rose et al found no statistically significant difference in asthma related symptoms between probiotic and placebo groups in children age 6–24 months. A Mann-Whitney U-test was used to determine this fact, using a 95% confidence interval. No test statistic was given. Van der Aa found that a synbiotic mixture containing a probiotic to reduce wheezing and/or noisy breathing apart from colds compared to placebo. This reduction was statistically significant, with a 95% confidence interval and a p value of 0.001.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that probiotics are effective at reducing asthma symptoms such as wheezing. Two of the three studies suggested statistically significant improvement in probiotic treated versus control groups.