Commonly prescribed antibiotics can cause changes in the gut bacteria of kids and can make them vulnerable to allergies, infectious disease and other autoimmune disease. The senior author of the study, Dan Knights said that over the past one year, they synthesized several studies and found that there were strong correlations between antibiotic use, changes in gut bacteria and disease in adulthood.
Antibiotics are supposed to be the most commonly prescribed drugs to children and several studies have shown the profound short and long-term effects of antibiotics on diversity as well as composition of bacteria in the body, called microbiome.
In the present study, researchers developed a framework to map how antibiotics can act in the gut to cause diseases later in life. For instance, in the case of allergies, the use of antibiotics may eradicate a key gut bacterium that helps in maturing immune cells.
The findings showed that the changes in the gut microbiota that get altered because of antibiotic-use, lead to an increase in level of short-chain fatty acids that affect metabolism.
The researchers also successfully demonstrated how an infant’s age may be predicted within 1.3 months based on the maturity of the gut bacteria.
The findings may help in providing recommendations for antibiotic usage as well as clinical test for measuring the development of gut microbe in children.
The study has been published in the scientific journal Cell Host & Microbe.
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