Antibiotics increase risk of inflammatory diseases; scientists find new protein in nervous system to treat them
With this study, the scientists concluded that doctors need to look for risk factors associated with IBD before prescribing antibiotics to the patients needlessly
Antibiotics are the magic drugs which help in fighting the microbes that enter our body intending to cause it harm. But due to the overuse and misuse of these antibiotics, the cases of antibiotic resistance have been rising extensively. Not only that but studies have shown that instead of treating the condition, the use of antibiotics can result in some inflammatory diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease. So the question is, are antibiotics causing more harm than good?
Antibiotics can increase the risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease
In a recent study, published in the Journal The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology, scientists found that the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics can increase the risk of new-onset inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other inflammatory diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Broad-spectrum antibiotics are the ones which can fight against a wide variety of disease-causing bacteria and are the most commonly prescribed ones.
In this study, the scientists diagnosed 23,982 new patients between 1st Jan 2007 and 31st Dec 2016: 15,951 patients with ulcerative colitis, 7,898 with Crohn's disease and 133 with unclassified IBD. These patients were compared with 28,000 siblings, and 117,000 controls from the general population. The results showed that the prior use of antibiotics resulted in nearly two-times increased risk of getting IBD.
The results further showed that there was an increased risk of developing ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease in people who consumed broad-spectrum antibiotics.
With this study, the scientists concluded that doctors need to look for risk factors associated with IBD before prescribing antibiotics to the patients needlessly.
Neuromedin B: A new protein to treat inflammatory diseases
Whenever a foreign microorganism enters the human body, the immune system gets activated and deploys cytokines (inflammatory cells) to fight against that microorganism. This results in a slight inflammation in that localised area. But when the immune system becomes hyperactive, the cytokines are released in enormous numbers, resulting in hyperinflammation. This inflammation can result in various inflammatory diseases such as asthma, allergies, chronic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Now, scientists from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School have found a neuropeptide, called neuromedin B, which is a small protein-like molecule that is used by the nerve cells to interact with each other.
In the research, published in the journal Nature Immunology, the scientists found that neuromedin B was found to protect the body from the overactive immune system, thus preventing severe inflammation.
According to scientists, given these findings, the next step is to form drugs using this protein which can help in treating various inflammatory diseases.
For more information, read our article on What antibiotics are.
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