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Antibiotics at early age can reduce immunity

A new study has found that consumption of antibiotics at an early age can reduce long-term immunity.

The new study is done by researchers from University of British Columbia (UBC). The study was done to help scientists understand how bacteria are affected by different antibiotics. It is to be noted that bacteria also play a positive role in promoting a healthy immune system.

The study showed that taking antibiotics at early stage can increase susceptibility to specific diseases at a later stage.

We know that there are some bacteria living in our gut and they play a positive role in promoting a healthy immune system. Sometimes the good bacteria also get killed due to antibiotic treatments.

"This is the first step to understanding which bacteria are absolutely necessary to develop a healthy immune system later in life," said Kelly McNagny, a professor in the Department of Medical Genetics who led the research along with UBC microbiologist Brett Finlay.

For the study, the impact of two antibiotics, vancomycin and streptomycin, were tested on newborn mice. The researchers found that streptomycin increased susceptibility to a disease known as hypersensitivity pneumonitis later in life, but vancomycin did not have any such effect.

The study said that difference in long-term effects of an antibiotic can be attributed to how they affect the presence of gut bacteria.

Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is an allergic disease which affects people involved in farming, sausage-making, and cleaning hot tubs.

The researchers, however, noted that antibiotics should be given to infants when needed but they expressed hope that the findings of the study will help them know which bacteria make us less susceptible to disease.

This could allow the researchers to boost helpful bacteria by using probiotics.

"Probiotics could be the next big trend in parenting because once you know which bacteria prevent disease, you can make sure that children get inoculated with those bacteria," said McNagny.

The study was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.