Children below the age of two who are given antibiotics are at a higher risk of asthma, eczema, respiratory allergies, obesity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and celiac disease. This has now come out in a study jointly by Rutgers and Mayo Clinic.
Co-author Martin Blaser said that the increasing prevalence of health conditions starting in childhood triggered concern about antibiotic exposures during key developmental periods because of their impact on microbiome. Blaser is the director of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine director at Rutgers.
The study found that evolution of drug resistant bacteria exemplified one unintended consequence of antibiotic overuse. The study analysed data of 14,572 children born in Olmsted County, Minn, between 2003 and 2011. Among them, at least 70 per cent had received at least one antibiotic prescription between two years of age. They might have got the dosage for ear or respiratory diseases.
The researchers maintained that the composition of microbiome (beneficial microorganisms that live in and on bodies) has an important role to play in the early development of immunity.
Earlier the studies had focussed on the impact of antibiotics in only one disease. But this study looked into a multiple of diseases. The researchers found a relation between antibiotics and metabolic diseases (overweight, obesity), immunological diseases (asthma, hay fever, cognitive conditions, food allergies, ADHD, autism). They also found that the risk was higher with more courses of antibiotics and if given earlier in life (within first six months).