HEALTH

YakultUSAProbiotics.com targets U.S. healthcare professionals

BY DSN STAFF

TORRANCE, Calif. Healthcare professionals in search of accurate and reliable probiotics data can now access clinical studies, free educational tools and the latest probiotics news and events on Yakult U.S.A.’s new Web site, www.yakultusaprobiotics.com.

Yakult created the online resource to help address the scientific community’s surging interest in substantiated evidence for the efficacy of probiotics and to educate about its own proprietary strain, Lactobacillus casei Shirota. Yakult has been in the probiotics business since 1930, after it cultured its exclusive strain and producing the probiotic dairy drink “Yakult” in 1935.

“Healthcare professionals often ask us ‘how is it that your probiotic strain is so powerful?'” Yakult U.S.A. senior science manager Hideyuki Shibata said. “Our founder Dr. Minoru Shirota studied thousands of bacteria, selected one amongst the strongest, and used 8 billion of them to make the Yakult drink. Today that probiotic, Lactobacillus casei Shirota, has more than 100 clinical studies demonstrating various potential benefits. The new website is a tool for healthcare professionals to access some of these studies.”

The password-protected Web site requires free registration so that only serious probiotic researchers may gain access to the clinical data.

“While we are confident in our research findings, we do not want the general population misinterpreting the data. That is why we are encouraging consumers interested in our product to continue to visit our corporate Web site www.yakultusa.com,” said Shibata.

Yakult U.S.A. is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Yakult Honsha Co., is headquartered in Torrance, Calif.

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Kaz-sponsored report finds humidifiers may reduce flu virus

BY Michael Johnsen

NEEDHAM, Mass. A scientific white paper released last month suggests humidifiers may play an important role in reducing the survival of the flu virus on both surfaces and in the air.

The research suggests that homes kept at 40% to 60% percent relative humidity are likely to have fewer flu viruses.

“After evaluating a number of published peer reviewed studies conducted over the last 70 years, we’ve learned that monitoring and maintaining proper humidity levels in your home to may reduce survival of the flu virus in the air and on surfaces,” stated Jim McDevitt, co-author of the report, and instructor at the Harvard School of Public Health.  “While the typical flu virus can survive on surfaces and in the air for up to 24 hours, the survival time in a more humid environment is markedly lower.”

The report, sponsored by Kaz, manufacturer of Vicks brand humidifiers, comes from an independent team of scientists and researchers. The studies examined in the white paper focused primarily on the survival of the influenza A(H1N1) virus on surfaces and in the air. The novel strain of H1N1 that has emerged this year, also known as the 2009 H1N1, was not included in any of these studies, Kaz noted.

Click here for the full report.

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CDC reports widespread flu activity in one state

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA For the week ended Jan. 2, there is now only one state reporting widespread activity of influenza-like illnesses — Alabama — though that state was not 1-of-the-4 states (Delaware, Maine, New Jersey and Virginia) reporting widespread activity in the week prior.

And Nebraska reported no ILI activity for the week.

Nationwide, 2.4% of patient visits reported through the U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network were due to ILI. This percentage is above the national baseline of 2.3%.

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