Antibiotic use for infants linked to childhood autism, other health conditions, Mayo Clinic study finds

Infants receiving antibiotics are more likely to develop major health conditions later in childhood, according to research published Nov. 15 in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.  

Researchers examined data from 14,572 children born in Olmsted County, Minn., of whom 70 percent (10,220) received at least one antibiotic prescription during the first two years of life. 

The researchers found that infants who received at least one dose of antibiotics while under the age of 2 were more likely to have asthma, autism, allergies, weight issues and obesity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, celiac disease, and atopic dermatitis later in childhood.

The associations were affected by the number, type and timing of antibiotic exposure. Children receiving multiple antibiotic treatments were more likely to have multiple conditions later.

Additional research is necessary to examine the benefit and minimize the risk of antibiotics in children, the researchers concluded.

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