Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Antibiotics improve growth in children in developing countries

Date:
April 15, 2014
Source:
McGill University
Summary:
Antibiotics improve growth in children at risk of undernourishment in low and middle income countries, according to researchers who have just conducted a research literature review on the subject. Their results suggest that the youngest children from the most vulnerable populations benefit most and show significant improvements toward expected growth for their age and sex, particularly for weight.

Antibiotics improve growth in children at risk of undernourishment in low and middle income countries, according to researchers at McGill University who have just conducted a research literature review on the subject. Their results, published in the British Medical Journal, suggest that the youngest children from the most vulnerable populations benefit most and show significant improvements toward expected growth for their age and sex, particularly for weight.

Malnutrition in early childhood, reflected in poor growth, is the cause of nearly half of all mortality worldwide in children less than five years old. Antibiotics are currently recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for severely malnourished children, and those infected or exposed to HIV, to reduce mortality.

But while antibiotics have been linked to significant height and weight gains among children from undernourished populations in countries such as Guatemala, Malawi, Zambia, and Brazil, some studies have found no significant effect of antibiotics.

A team of researchers from McGill, the University of British Columbia and others, set out to determine whether antibiotics lead to improvements in growth in pre-pubertal children living in low and middle income countries.

"We looked at changes in both height and weight," says Ethan Gough, McGill PhD candidate in the Faculty of Medicine (Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health). "We searched the research literature for studies that treated children aged 1 month to 12 years with an antibiotic, and analyzed the results of 10 trials involving 4,316 children in seven low and middle income countries. Children were generally smaller in height and weight than adequately nourished children of the same age. This group of studies reflects the spectrum of stunting and wasting malnutrition seen in these countries," says Gough, the paper's first author.

"Overall, we found that antibiotic treatment had a positive effect on both height and weight with increases of 0.04 cm/month for height and by 23.8 g/month for weight," says Amee Manges, a professor in the School of Population and Public Health, at the University of British Columbia, "After accounting for differences in the age of the study participants, effects on height were larger in the youngest children and effects on weight were larger in the trials that were conducted in Africa."

Poor growth has been linked to infections and to the microbes that normally reside in the human gut. Though mechanisms responsible for the growth-promoting effects of antibiotics remain unclear, they may help resolve underlying infections in these children, or alter the microbes that live in the gut. However, the use of antibiotics is not without risks.

"The overall gains in growth confirm the benefits of antibiotics in high-risk populations," says Gough. "However, more research is needed to better understand the underlying reasons for improved growth so that safer treatments can be developed."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by McGill University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. E. K. Gough, E. E. M. Moodie, A. J. Prendergast, S. M. A. Johnson, J. H. Humphrey, R. J. Stoltzfus, A. S. Walker, I. Trehan, D. M. Gibb, R. Goto, S. Tahan, M. B. de Morais, A. R. Manges. The impact of antibiotics on growth in children in low and middle income countries: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ, 2014; 348 (apr15 6): g2267 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.g2267

Cite This Page:

McGill University. "Antibiotics improve growth in children in developing countries." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140415203631.htm>.
McGill University. (2014, April 15). Antibiotics improve growth in children in developing countries. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140415203631.htm
McGill University. "Antibiotics improve growth in children in developing countries." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140415203631.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

What Self-Made Women Need to Know Financially Before Getting Hitched

What Self-Made Women Need to Know Financially Before Getting Hitched

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) Halle Berry was recently ordered to pay her ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry $16,000 a month in child support by a California judge for their daughter Nahla. As women make strides in the workforce, they are increasingly left holding the bag when relationships end regardless of marital status. 'What Monied Women Need to Know Before Getting Married or Cohabitating' discusses information such as debt incurred during the marriage is both spouse's responsibility at divorce, whether after ten years of marriage spouses are entitled to half of everything and why property acquired within the marriage is fair game without a pre-nup. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Clock Ticks Down on Internet Speed Debate

Clock Ticks Down on Internet Speed Debate

Reuters - US Online Video (July 18, 2014) The FCC received more than 800,000 comments on whether and how internet speeds should be regulated, even crashing its system. Lily Jamali reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Wildfire Tears Through Washington

Raw: Wildfire Tears Through Washington

AP (July 18, 2014) A large wildfire continued to gain steam through north-central Washington Friday. The blaze is already responsible for the destruction of at least 100 homes. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins