MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
De-Kun Li, MD, PhD
Senior Research Scientist
Division of Research
Kaiser Foundation Research Institute
Oakland, CA 94612
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: The composition of gut microbia (microbiome) has emerged as a key contributor to human disease risk. The external influence on the composition of microbiome in early childhood, especially in infancy, has been linked to increased risk of childhood obesity. Several studies have examined use of antibiotics in infancy and reported an association between use of antibiotics and increased risk of childhood obesity. This has caused a great uncertainty among both pediatricians and parents regarding treatment of infant infections. However, the previous studies failed to separate the effect of underlying infections for which antibiotics were used from the effect of the antibiotics itself. The contribution of our study was to examine the effects of infections and antibiotic use separately.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: It was the infection, not antibiotic use, in infancy that was associated with increased risk of future childhood obesity.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: In the context of preventing childhood obesity, the focus should be on preventing infant infections. Although there are many reasons for deciding on the use of antibiotics, and such use should always be judicious, treating infection with antibiotics is not likely to lead to increased risk of childhood obesity. In fact, to not treat infection is likely to lead to the increased risk of childhood obesity that one is trying to prevent.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: In this kind of research, researchers should always make efforts to separate medication effects from the effect of the conditions to be treated (confounding by indication).
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Infection and antibiotic use in infancy and risk of childhood obesity: a longitudinal birth cohort study
Li, De-Kun et al.
The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology , Volume 5 , Issue 1 , 18 – 25
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More Medical Research Interviews on MedicalResearch.com
De-Kun Li, MD, PhD (2016). Infections in Infancy, Not Antibiotics Associated With Childhood Obesity MedicalResearch.com