Antibiotics Overload Is Endangering Our Children


People around the world have been overusing antibiotics for years. Predictably, this has made bacterial infections more resistant to the very antibiotics we use to treat them. But in addition, due to the cumulative nature of antibiotic overuse, our children may be growing up without the full complement of their necessary microbes. Recently we have learned that these antibiotic exposures may be harming our metabolism and immunity; experiments in my laboratory at New York University’s Langone Medical Center are providing evidence that such changes are fueling our current epidemics of obesity, asthma and allergies.

In the future, we may have to restore our children’s lost bacteria. But where will they come from? They might come from far away places, or from our own families. I can imagine grandmothers who have not taken so many antibiotics in their lifetime preserving, and then giving, their bacteria to their grandchildren. Alternatively, we may…

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