A new study, conducted by researchers from Rutgers University, U.S., finds that early exposure to antibiotics kills healthy microbiota in the digestive tract and can cause asthma and allergies.
The research team carried out an experiment that consisted of three parts and used mouse model. In the first part, five-day-old mice received water, azithromycin or amoxicillin. When the mice matured, they were exposed to a common allergen from house dust mites. Mice that had received either of the antibiotics, especially azithromycin, showed higher rates of immune responses (allergies).
The second and third parts of the experiment tested the hypothesis that early exposure to antibiotics leads to development of allergies and asthma by killing some healthy bacteria in the gut that support proper immune system development.
Senior author of the study Martin Blaser, director of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine at Rutgers, says: “These experiments provide strong evidence that antibiotics cause unwanted immune responses to develop via their effect on gut bacteria, but only if gut bacteria are altered in early childhood.”
Recent research, conducted by a team of researchers from Bristol Medical School, confirms that having allergies is associated with mental health conditions. But the researchers note that correlation does not imply causation, and allergies don’t cause mental health issues or vice versa.
For their study, the scientists used data from the UK Biobank provided by individuals aged 37 to 73 years to confirm the correlation between allergies and mental health issues. Also, they used the Mendelian randomization method to examine possible relationships between allergies and mental health diseases.
Lead study author Dr. Ahley Budu-Aggrey, a senior research associate at Bristol Medical School, comments: “Our research does not rule out a potential causal effect upon the progression of the disease, which is yet to be investigated and could help uncover novel treatment strategies for allergic disease or mental health traits.”
A study, recently published in ERJ Open Research, suggests that those teenagers who go to bed and wake up later are at higher risk to suffer from asthma and allergies than their peers who go to sleep and wake up earlier.
The research included 1,684 adolescents from West Bengal, India, 13 or 14 years old, who took part in the Prevalence and Risk Factors of Asthma and Allergy-Related Diseases among Adolescents (PERFORMANCE) study.
Study participants were asked about any wheezing, asthma, or symptoms of allergic rhinitis, such as a runny nose and sneezing. They also had to answer a series of questions to aimed to find whether they were ‘evening types’, ‘morning types’, or in between.
Lead study author Dr. Subhabrata Moitra from the division of pulmonary medicine at the University of Alberta, Canada, says: “Our results suggest there’s a link between preferred sleep time and asthma and allergies in teenagers. We can’t be certain that staying up late is causing asthma, but we know that the sleep hormone melatonin is often out of sync in late-sleepers and that could, in turn, be influencing teenagers’ allergic response.”
A recent study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, shows that microbiota, aka gut bacteria, play a crucial role in protecting humans against food allergies.
During the study, two groups of mice without their own bacteria received gut bacteria from either healthy human babies, or from human babies with cow’s allergy milk. The first group of mice didn’t experience any allergic reaction to cow’s milk, while the other had allergic reactions to cow’s milk.
Senior study author Cathryn R. Nagler, Ph.D., a professor in food allergy at the University of Chicago in Illinois, USA, says: “This study allows us to define a causal relationship and shows that the microbiota itself can dictate whether or not you get an allergic response.”
Australian scientists report that they developed an immune-based therapy able to treat peanut allergy in kids. After this therapy, children could eat peanuts without any reactions for four years.
A team of Australian researchers added probiotics to an earlier developed immunotherapy treatment which combined probiotics with small doses of peanuts. The results of the research showed that 82% of kids receiving the therapy significantly reduced their allergic reactions to peanuts compared to 4% of children who didn’t receive any treatment.
Dr. Anna Nowak-Wegrzyn, an associate professor of pediatrics at Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai Hospital, says: “I think there is certainly a suggestion, but not hard proof, that the probiotics make a difference.”