Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Antibiotics, Infants, Obesity, and MRSA

Giving babies antibiotics before the age of six months could cause them to be overweight children. According to the researchers, "microbes in our intestines may play critical roles in how we absorb calories, and exposure to antibiotics, especially early in life, may kill off healthy bacteria that influence how we absorb nutrients into our bodies, and would otherwise keep us lean." Hmm, where have you heard that before?

The International Journal of Obesity study, the first to analyze the relationship between antibiotic use and body mass starting in infancy, adds to a growing body of research warning of the potential dangers of antibiotics, especially for children. They found that children treated with antibiotics in the first five months of their life weighed 22% more for their height by 38 months.

One of the researchers made a great comment: "For many years now, farmers have known that antibiotics are great at producing heavier cows for market. This carefully conducted study suggests that antibiotics influence weight gain in humans, and especially children too."
To add insult to injury, antibiotic use in children is associated with increased risk of acquiring methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in the community, according to a study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

The results support efforts to minimize unnecessary antibacterial drug prescribing, particularly of second-line agents, to children in the community.

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