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Saturday, 9 July 2016

Early antibiotics can disrupt babies’ microbiome

A recent research suggests that it is important to have some good bugs in your body that helps to rid bad bugs out. Researchers from Harvard University reported in June 2016 about how antibiotics affect babies’ gut microbiome. The result of the findings were alarming since repeated exposure to antibiotics able to lower the diversity and robustness of children’s gut microbiome and can lead to antibiotic resistant genes.

Mom with baby (Image: Pixbay)
The research was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine where 39 Finnish infants were considered for the study since when they were two months old. Nineteen among them received no antibiotics at all, while the others received mostly for ear infections and upper respiratory ailments. “This was a unique opportunity to study the natural trajectory of the microbiome in these kids,” says senior coauthor Ramnik Xavier, a gastroenterologist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Computational and Integrative Biology, and Harvard Medical School.
During the child’s first three years microbiome remains dynamic and its composition still shifting and expanding, and while after that it remains set carried to adulthood. On repeated exposure to antibiotics there is decreased number of beneficial bacteria (eg Clostridium sp) that helps immune system training at early age. Xavier adds that there were not only fewer beneficial microbiome but less diverse microbiome with less stable bacterial communities.
Alongside there is rise of number of antibiotic resistance genes in treated children. It seems to be one of the horrifying discoveries according to Xavier. “It clearly emphasizes the caution that needs to be followed in antibiotic prescriptions. The spread of antibiotic resistance is a serious public-health issue.”

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