Professor of Primary Care Research Award

Professor Chris Butler, Professorial Fellow, has been awarded £1.8m by the Medical Research Council and National Institute of Health Research for a trial of probiotics to prevent infections in care home residents.

Professor Butler, Professor of Primary Care at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, will lead a team of researchers in testing whether a probiotic supplement can reduce the number of infections in care home residents, in a bid to cut antibiotic use in this high-risk group.

Probiotics are ‘good bacteria’ that can provide health benefits when taken as a supplement. Infections are the most common reason for care home residents to be hospitalised, and previous research shows care home residents are the biggest user group for antibiotics, which puts them at significant risk of developing antibiotic drug resistance.

‘The family doctor’s toolkit of useful and effective antibiotics to treat common infections is coming under threat from increasing drug resistance in our population. Care home residents are prescribed far more antibiotics than the general population since they are more vulnerable to infections due to their weakened immunity, close proximity living and multi-morbidity. They are often hospitalised when the drugs stop working.

‘Our study should answer the question whether or not daily probiotics prevent infections. If successful, this cheap, safe probiotic could improve quality of life and contain antibiotic resistance in this growing vulnerable population, helping to preserve the effectiveness of our available antibiotic drugs into the future.’

 

Posted: 20 November 2015

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