Can you avoid that antibiotic for your baby?

Adapted from Early life antibiotic exposure linked to asthma, obesity and coeliac disease by Heather Mason Univadis Medical News 24 Nov 2020.

Antibiotic exposure in the first two years of life increased the lifetime risk of developing various immunological, metabolic and neurodevelopmental conditions. This is thought to occur from the effect of the antibiotics on the gut microbiome.

Aversa Z et al published their findings in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings this year. They looked at over 14 thousand children. Half were boys and half were girls. 70% of the children had received an antibiotic during the first two years of life. These children were compared to the ones that had not had any antibiotics. The follow up was for the next 9 years.

All children were at increased risk of asthma and allergic rhinitis with a strong dose-response relationship. There was also an increased risk for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Girls were particularly susceptible to atopic dermatitis and coeliac disease and boys were more susceptible to obesity.

Aversa Z et al. Association of infant antibiotic exposure with childhood health outcomes. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2020 Nov6:S0025-6196(20)30785-0.

My comment: I wonder how much effect prematurity may have affected these results? It is well known that these babies have markedly less robust immune systems and their parents may also be more anxious about their health. I was premature and was given copious doses of penicillin for the tonsillitis that I got every 2 months. I remember that missing school and listening to the Jimmy Young show on the radio while my mum did the housework as being much better than going to school. As an adult I am very adversely affected by wheat. Whatever is going on, this article does lend credence to the fact that our gut bacteria have a lot more influence on our health than we have ever imagined. I easily recall the extreme pressure put on doctors to prescribe antibiotics for the most trivial of complaints. The younger the child, the more difficult it is to resist the “just in case” half plea-half threat from the parents.

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