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Antibiotics linked to asthma in mouse study

A new study conducted on mice suggests that antibiotics taken in childhood could play a part in the development and severity of allergic asthma.

The study published Friday in the journal EMBO reports that antibiotics may damage bacteria that live in the gut, disturbing the bacterial community and possibly causing a more severe form of asthma.

The study’s lead authors, researchers at the University of British Columbia’s department of microbiology, tested the effects of antibiotics streptomycin and vancomycin on newborn and adult mice. While streptomycin didn’t seem to have a significant effect, the young mice had altered intestinal flora and developed severe cases of asthma when given vancomycin. The older mice appeared to be unaffected.

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