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Antibiotics could be anti-health if given to children!

Posted:  Friday, May 22, 2015

A latest study by American scientists may make any parent resist an antibiotic prescription given to their infant. Antibiotics when given to children may cause imbalances in gut microbes which in turn may lead to development of infectious diseases, allergies, obesity and other autoimmune diseases later in life.

Published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, the study conducted by Computational Biology scientists formulated a framework to better understand the way antibiotics work in the gut to cause diseases in adulthood. This predictive model also helped measure the healthy development of gut bacteria in young children.

In case of allergies, the model found that antibiotics may eradicate key gut bacteria that help immune cells to mature. These cells would have disengaged the immune system in case of allergens thus protecting it. Even if these key gut bacteria are restored, it would be too late for the immune system which will be impaired due to the onslaught of allergens. As for obesity, antibiotic-induced changes in the gut bacteria may result in the build up of short chain fatty acids that influence metabolism.

In addition to this, the scientists also demonstrated how an infant’s age could be predicted within 1.3 months based on the maturity of their gut bacteria. This could have future applications if developed into a clinical test to evaluate any delay in the development of gut bacteria due to antibiotics.

"We think these findings help develop a roadmap for future research to determine the health consequences of antibiotic use and for recommendations for prescribing them. The clinical test we demonstrated would also allow us to think about interventions at an early age," concluded the scientists.

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