Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Infants and Antibiotics: Asthma Risk?

Link Between Antibiotic Use by Infants and Development of Asthma WebMD 6/11/07 "Infants who receive antibiotics in their first year of life are more likely to develop asthma by age 7, and multiple courses of the drugs boost the risk more..."In children receiving five or more courses of antibiotics in the first year, the risk of asthma was 1.5 times more likely than in children getting no antibiotics [during their first year]," study researcher Anita Kozyrskyj, PhD..."The link between antibiotics and asthma was seen in children born to mothers without asthma, who are considered at low risk," ...the study shows having a dog in the household while the child is a baby confers a protective effect...Dogs bring in different germs," she says. And that could strengthen a child's immunity...cats didn't offer the same effect, she says, and may actually boost risk, although the evidence for that in the study was weak...speculates that because antibiotics can kill off the microflora (natural bacteria) in your intestinal tract, "it may change your immune system, making you more vulnerable to developing asthma."...asthma is a complex disease. "It's also genetic. We've identified one factor." But many factors underlie the condition...if your child does need an antibiotic, you can ask your child's doctor if it is possible to use a narrow-spectrum antibiotic rather than a broad-spectrum (effective against a wider range of bacteria) cephalosporin (a class of antibiotics). In her study, she also found that broad-spectrum cephalosporin antibiotics (such as Ceftin and Cefzil) boosted the risk of getting asthma more than other antibiotics..."

The evidence for hygeine hypothesis of the immune system grows. One of the criticisms of this hypothesis has been that it cannot explain the raising rates of asthma in inner city kids. Maybe now it can, in part.

ScienceDaily on this same topic back in 2003. BBC on this in 2006.

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