Gut Bacteria Is Key Factor in Childhood Obesity

New information published by scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Health suggests that gut bacteria and its interactions with immune cells and metabolic organs, including fat tissue, play a key role in childhood obesity.

“The medical community used to think that obesity was a result of consuming too many calories. However, a series of studies over the past decade has confirmed that the microbes living in our gut are not only associated with obesity but also are one of the causes,” said Hariom Yadav, PhD, lead author of the review and assistant professor of molecular medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine, part of Wake Forest Baptist.

In the United States, the percentage of children and adolescents affected by obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity is increasing at 2.3% rate each year among school-aged children, which is unacceptably high and indicates worrisome prospects for the next generation’s health, the article states.

Yadav’s manuscript, published in the current issue of the journal Obesity Reviews, reviewed existing studies (animal and human) on how the interaction between gut microbiome and immune cells can be passed from mother to baby as early as gestation and can contribute to childhood obesity.

The review also described how a mother’s health, diet, exercise level, antibiotic use, birth method (natural or cesarean), and feeding method (formula or breast milk) can affect the risk of obesity in her children.

“This compilation of current research should be very useful for doctors, nutritionists and dietitians to discuss with their patients because so many of these factors can be changed if people have enough good information,” Yadav said. “We also wanted to identify gaps in the science for future research.”

In addition, having a better understanding of the role of the gut microbiome and obesity in both mothers and their children hopefully will help scientists design more successful preventive and therapeutic strategies to check the rise of obesity in children, he said.

Source: https://newsroom.wakehealth.edu/News-Releases/2019/10/Gut-Bacteria-Is-Key-Factor-in-Childhood-Obesity

Antibiotics: Even Low Use In Children Can Have A Negative Impact On Health – New Research

GPs in the UK carry out over 300m patient consultations every year and at least a quarter of these deal with children. Almost two-thirds of such appointments are for coughs, sore throats, or earaches – illnesses which young children commonly get.

Doctors and nurses group these types of illnesses as “acute respiratory tract infections”. They are considered to be “self-limiting”, meaning that antibiotics have little or no benefit and that the illness will go away in time. Yet, in at least 30% of these consultations, antibiotics are prescribed. That’s an estimated 13m unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions. This is not only wasteful but may also have unintended consequences for the child’s health.

Indeed, in our new study of over 250,000 children in the UK, we found that preschool children who had taken two or more antibiotic courses for acute respiratory tract infections in the preceding year had around a 30% greater chance of not responding to subsequent treatment (including the need for hospital referral and admission) compared to children who hadn’t taken any antibiotics. Our study specifically excluded children with long-term health conditions that would make them more prone to infections.

The resistance issue

It’s well known that using antibiotics unnecessarily drives bacteria to change and can lead to antibiotic resistance developing. But people tend to think that resistance only occurs in people who use antibiotics too frequently, for too long, or in those patients with other medical conditions that make them sicker. This is not true.

Taking any antibiotic (whether appropriate or not) makes developing antibiotic resistance more likely. As our research shows, even relatively low antibiotic use has potential health implications and brings home the impact of unnecessary antibiotic use in children. And when you consider that many preschool children often have multiple illness episodes, potentially leading to several antibiotic courses, it makes the findings even more pertinent.

At this stage, it is impossible to say for sure what the underlying reasons are for children who have taken more antibiotics showing a greater chance of not responding to subsequent treatments.

It may be, for example, due to the emergence of resistant bacteria. It could also be down to the disruption of the fragile gut microbiome in young children. And it may also be related to parental expectations of further treatment and the fact that they are perhaps unaware of the limited role of antibiotics in most childhood infections. Indeed, it is normal for childrens’ coughs to last longer than you might think – indeed, half go on for ten days and one in ten go on for 25 days.

Long-term changes

Of course, GPs want to provide the best care possible for their patients. But they grapple with the decision to prescribe an antibiotic – thereby lowering an individual patient’s risk of coming to harm – versus not prescribing it, and lowering community risk.

This decision is not always straightforward. And when uncertain, clinicians often err on the side of caution and prescribe. But our study found that children who received more antibiotics were also more likely to revisit a health professional within a 14-day period – which inadvertently will have increased the workload of doctors and nurses.

Given that our findings show that even relatively low antibiotic use has short-term health implications for children, it is clear that the less GPs are prescribing antibiotics in such instances, the better. But this isn’t just on GPs and nurses, parents also need to be realistic about how long their child’s illness might last.The Conversation

Source: https://www.naturalblaze.com/2019/10/antibiotics-even-low-use-in-children-can-have-a-negative-impact-on-health-new-research.html

Study: 81% of Antibiotics Prescribed by Dentists ‘Unnecessary’

Oregon State University

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Antibiotics prescribed by dentists as a preemptive strike against infection are unnecessary 81% of the time, according to a study published today in JAMA Network Open.

The findings are important because dentists are responsible for 10% of all antibiotic prescriptions written in the United States.

Antibiotics prescribed when not warranted expose patients to the risk of side effects unnecessarily and also contribute to the problem of antibiotic resistance – bacteria evolving to make the drugs ineffective.

Antibiotics are recommended as a prophylactic prior to some dental procedures for patients with certain types of heart conditions.

Researchers including Jessina McGregor of Oregon State University used a national health care claims database to examine nearly 170,000 dentist-written antibiotic prescriptions from 2011 to 2015.

The prescriptions involved more than 90,000 patients, 57 percent female, with a median age of 63.

Greater than 90 percent of the patients underwent a procedure that possibly warranted taking an antibiotic ahead of time. However, less than 21 percent of those people had a cardiac condition that made an antibiotic prescription recommended under medical guidelines.

“Preventive antibiotics in these patients gave them risks that outweighed the benefits,” said McGregor, an associate professor in the OSU College of Pharmacy.

Led by corresponding author Katie Suda of the University of Illinois-Chicago, the researchers also looked at the prescriptions regionally and found unnecessary prescriptions to be most prevalent, on a percentage basis, in the West; 11,601 of the 13,735 prescriptions written, or 85%, were out of sync with the guidelines.

The other regional percentages were 78% for the Northeast, 83% for the Midwest, and 80% for the South.

Eighty-two percent of the unnecessary prescriptions were written in urban population centers, 79% in rural areas.

Among patients who filled prescriptions for unnecessary antibiotics, clindamycin was the most common drug, and joint implants were the most typical reason they were prescribed.

“Dental providers are very thoughtful when they develop care plans for their patients and there are many factors that inform dentists’ recommendations, but this study shows that there is an opportunity for dentists to reevaluate if necessary,” said Susan Rowan of the Illinois-Chicago College of Dentistry. “I think dental providers should view this study, which is the first to look at preventive antibiotic prescribing for dental procedures, as a powerful call to action, not a rebuke.”

The study was limited to patients with commercial dental insurance and the analysis used a broad definition of high-risk cardiac patients, suggesting the findings may underestimate the unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics.

Source: EurekAlert

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