CHILD research published in the prestigious Lancet Respiratory Medicine found a link between early-life antibiotic exposure and childhood asthma. The Lancet is ranked the #1 journal in the fields of critical care and respiratory medicine.
The Lancet paper combined findings from population-level data, individual health data available from CHILD, and a mechanistic investigation to support a link between early-life antibiotic exposure and childhood asthma.
ANTIBIOTIC USED LINKED TO MISSING MICROBES
Dr. Stuart Turvey, co-director of CHILD and the Vancouver CHILD site lead, was the study’s lead author.
Among the findings:
Significantly, they lacked several key bacteria whose absence is known to impact the overall functioning of the immune system and has been previously linked with a higher risk of developing asthma.
“Our findings suggest that careful antibiotic use in children under the age of one is important to help preserve the diversity and abundance of healthy gut bacteria, making children less susceptible to developing asthma later in life,” said Dr. Turvey.
“The good news is, that after decades of rising rates of asthma in Canadian kids, that trend is finally reversing.”
A ROBUST MICROBIOME LEADS TO LIFE-LONG BENEFITS
While asthma diagnoses in Canadian kids tripled in the last half of the 20th century, incidence of the disease and associated hospitalizations are now declining, according to the researchers.
“It was CHILD data that helped us to pinpoint the role that healthy gut bacteria play in the development of a baby’s immune system and the prevention of immune-mediated diseases like asthma,” noted Dr. Hind Sbihi, study co-author and UBC postdoctoral fellow.
“Good bacteria play a vital role in childhood health and development,” added co-author Dr. B. Brett Finlay, Peter Wall Distinguished Professor in the Michael Smith Laboratories and the departments of microbiology and immunology and of biochemistry and molecular biology at UBC.
“As this research shows, nurturing a diverse and robust microbiome, which entails the prudent use of antibiotics, can play a key role in the healthy development of a child’s immune system and lead to life-long benefits.”
See the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) video about this research