Antibiotics improve growth in kids


Researchers have suggested that antibiotics are able to improve growth in children at risk of undernour-ishment in low and middle income countries. 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. 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 in-come countries. Paper’s first author Ethan Gough, McGill PhD candi-date in the Faculty of Medicine (Department of Epide-miology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health), said they looked at changes in both height and weight. He said that they searched the research literature for studies that treated children aged 1 month to 12 years with an antibiotic, and analyzed the results of 10 tri-als involving 4,316 children in seven low and middle income countries. Children were generally smaller in height and weight than adequately nourished chil-dren of the same age. This group of studies reflects the spectrum of stunting and wasting malnutrition seen in these countries. Amee Manges, a professor in the School of Popula-tion and Public Health, at the University of British Columbia, said that overall they we found that antibi-otic 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, asserting that after accounting for differences in the age of the study par-ticipants, effects on height were larger in the young-est children and effects on weight were larger in the trials that were conducted in Africa.