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Clinical Trial
. 2000 Jan;136(1):41-5.
doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(00)90047-7.

Effect of the Dietary Fiber Glucomannan on Chronic Constipation in Neurologically Impaired Children

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Clinical Trial

Effect of the Dietary Fiber Glucomannan on Chronic Constipation in Neurologically Impaired Children

A Staiano et al. J Pediatr. .

Abstract

Objective: Inadequate dietary fiber intake is a widely accepted explanation for chronic constipation in children with severe brain damage. The aim of our study was to evaluate the efficacy of glucomannan, a soluble fiber, as a treatment for chronic constipation in these children.

Study design: Twenty children with severe brain damage and chronic constipation were randomly assigned to double-blind treatment with either glucomannan (n = 10) or placebo (n = 10) for 12 weeks. Stool habits, total and segmental gastrointestinal transit times, and anorectal motility were evaluated in all children before and after the treatment period.

Results: Glucomannan significantly increased (P <.01) stool frequency, whereas the effect of placebo was not significant. Laxative or suppository use was significantly reduced (P <.01) by glucomannan but was not affected by placebo. Clinical scores of stool consistency were significantly improved and episodes of painful defecation per week were significantly reduced by glucomannan (P <.01) but not by placebo. However, neither glucomannan nor placebo had a measurable effect on total and segmental transit times.

Conclusions: In neurologically impaired children, glucomannan improves stool frequency but has no effect on colonic motility.

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