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Friday, November 21st, 2014
Taking antibiotics during your second or third trimester may lead to your child’s likelihood to develop obesity, new research shows.
A study published in the International Journal of Obesity evaluated 436 mother and child pairs and followed the children until they were 7 years old.
The study reports that kids who were exposed to antibiotics during the second or third trimester had an 84 percent higher chance of obesity compared to those who weren’t exposed during the second or third trimesters, after adjusting for several variables.
The study did not look into what kinds of antibiotics the women took. And it’s important to note that while some infections can get better on their own, others require antibiotic treatment to heal—and avoiding treatment could cause even more harm to the mother and developing child.
“The current findings in and of themselves shouldn’t change clinical practice,” Noel T. Mueller, the study’s lead author told The New York Times. “If they hold up in other prospective studies, then they should be part of the equation when considering antibiotic usage. There are many legitimate uses for antibiotics during pregnancy.”
Remember: If you’re pregnant and think you might need to take an antibiotic, always consult your healthcare provider and ask her about any questions or concerns you might have. You can read more about antibiotics and pregnancy here.
Photo of pregnant woman taking pills courtesy of Shutterstock
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Wednesday, October 1st, 2014
Just as National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month wraps up, a new study is out from JAMA Pediatrics showing that children who repeatedly take antibiotics before age 2 have a higher risk of obesity by age 5.
Researchers tracked the health records of more than 64,000 children living in urban Philadelphia and surrounding areas between 2001 and 2013 found that 69 percent of those children took some broad range antibiotics before they were 2 years old, but only “broad spectrum” antibiotics seemed to be associated with obesity.
Broad spectrum antibiotics are typically used to treat more serious infections and should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.
“If you use the stronger medications as the first line of defense, your child could develop a resistance, and those drugs won’t be as effective if and when she really needs them,” Dr. Ari Brown told Parents.
TIME reports that taking so many antibiotics at such a young age can actually kill off bacteria that can be helpful for digestion in the gut. Studies with mice have proven this theory, so it is thought that something similar could be occurring in the bodies of young children, too.
Approximately 12.7 million children ages 2 to 19 are obese in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Help your kids stay fit and promote a healthy lifestyle in your home with these tips.
Photo of pills courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
Children who suffer from appendicitis may not be facing inevitable surgery, if a new study touting the safety and effectiveness of an antibiotic treatment becomes mainstream practice. More from Reuters:
Forgoing surgery to remove the appendix may not be an option for all kids, researchers say, but just three of 30 children who tried the antibiotics-only route ended up needing surgery.
“In this group of patients with uncomplicated appendicitis – in the people we studied, non-operative management with antibiotics alone appears to be a reasonable alternative,” Dr. Peter Minneci told Reuters Health.
He is the study’s lead author, from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
Appendicitis is when the appendix, a small tube-shaped extension of the colon, becomes inflamed and filled with puss. The appendix may burst without treatment and cause a widespread infection.
Although the cause of appendicitis is not known, Minneci said it may often occur when a piece of feces blocks the appendix and allows bacteria to proliferate. Other inflamed tissues may also block the appendix and cause the condition.
“It used to be that people would operate on appendixes in the middle of the night,” he said. “Then we found that it was safe to give them antibiotics and operate on them in the morning.”
Doctors began noticing that some of the children were feeling better in the morning after the initial treatment of antibiotics.
“They were hungry and they didn’t have pain anymore,” Minneci said.
To see whether antibiotics alone might be enough to treat appendicitis, he and his colleagues enrolled 77 children and teens brought to the emergency room at Nationwide Children’s Hospital from October 2012 to October 2013.
All the participants had been diagnosed with uncomplicated acute appendicitis. Their appendixes had not burst, were not overly swollen and imaging did not show a hard piece of stool blocking the organ.
Those uncomplicated cases represent about one in five appendicitis cases at the hospital, the researchers note in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.
Is your child too sick for school? Take our quiz and find out.
Image: Child in hospital, via Shutterstock
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Friday, October 11th, 2013
The overuse–and, in the case of using it to treat the common cold, the improper use–of antibiotic drugs is a problem in most of the developed world. Health experts in the U.S. and overseas worry that over-prescription is resulting in a growing number of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacterial illnesses. To combat the problem and raise awareness, researchers in England are experimenting with having children share the message “Take care, not antibiotics” with each other. More from Reuters:
Starting in January, 13-year-olds at the eighth-grade level in England’s schools will be teaching peers and younger kids about microbes, proper hygiene and why antibiotic overuse is a bad thing. Researchers hope to implement a nation-wide program in September 2014.
“The idea is that the kids will go back home and tell their parents what they’ve learned,” said lead researcher Donna Lecky of Public Health England in the United Kingdom.
To counter a worrisome increase in antibiotic-resistant diseases, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in 2008 designated November 18 as European Antibiotic Awareness Day.
In 2010, 24 European Union states, plus Norway and Iceland, reported their most recent antibiotics use to the ECDC. Overall, numbers of antibiotic doses decreased or stabilized in 15 countries and increased in 11 since the last survey in 2009.
The same report stated that the most commonly prescribed antibiotics in community health clinics, not including hospitals, were drugs in the penicillin family, another category known as macrolides and tetracyclines.
Image: Child with a cold, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, March 21st, 2013
Black children are less likely than kids of other races to receive prescriptions for antibiotics when they visit the doctor, according to a study published this week in the journal Pediatrics. More from the blog The Grio:
The findings are based on 1.3 million doctor visits with the same 222 providers, and were independent of age, gender or type of insurance.
This is not the first time research has shown racial biases among health professionals. A smaller study at the University of Washington, showed that unconscious racial biases affected the amount of pain medication given to black children when they needed it. And a Johns Hopkins study highlighted that primary physicians with unconscious racial biases tended to dominate conversations with black patients, ignore their social needs and exclude them from the decision-making process.
However, today’s study is one of the few to look at its effects on respiratory infections and antibiotic use in children.
“Our goal has always been to find ways to improve antibiotic prescribing for children,” says study author Dr. Jeffrey S. Gerber, who is also assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine’s Division of Infectious Diseases.
“These analyses [then] revealed the differences in prescribing by race.”
Although, what this study has uncovered may not be a negative. In the age of antibiotic overprescribing and the fear that unnecessary antibiotics later lead to “superbugs” that are too strong to treat, this may in fact be a good thing.
“Overprescribing of antibiotics to children with [respiratory tract infections] is common,” Gerber says.
Image: Child at the doctor, via Shutterstock
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