EDMONTON, Alberta, Oct. 14 (UPI) — Canadian researchers say giving antibiotics to infants in their first year of life may cause the development of asthma and allergies later in childhood.
Investigators at five Canadian universities are conducting a study on how antibiotics change intestinal bacteria in newborns and whether those changes can trigger health problems later on, a University of Alberta release said Thursday.
“Good” intestinal bacteria, known as microbiota, help absorb nutrients and protect against harmful bacteria, yet no one is born with them; they develop throughout the first year of life.
Normal development of the microbiota can be affected by infant medication use, researchers say.
By one year of age, more than 50 percent of Canadian infants will receive an antibiotic prescription, they say.
Anita Kozyrskyj of the University of Alberta, who is co-lead investigator in the study, wants to study the exact changes antibiotics have on microbiota in the first year of life.
“Now the question is: Does antibiotic use early in life change the microbiota in the intestines of children?” she says. “And are these changes associated with the development of asthma and allergies in children?”
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