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Antibiotics and risk of Juvenile Arthritis

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Juvenile arthritis, which involves chronic inflammation of the joints and eyes that can lead to pain, vision loss and disability, is an autoimmune disease believed to be triggered by genetics and certain environmental factors. It has been recently found that exposing children to antibiotics can double the risk of developing juvenile arthritis. This was revealed by a new study from Rutgers University, University of Pennsylvania and Nemours A.I. DuPont Hospital for Children and published in July 2015 in the journal ‘Pediatrics’.

According to the results of the study, children who were prescribed antibiotics had:

  • Twice the risk of developing juvenile arthritis compared to children the same age who were not prescribed antibiotics.
  • The more courses of antibiotics prescribed, the higher the associated risk.
  • The risk was strongest within one year of receiving antibiotics.

Details of the Study

Researchers began this study in 2014 based on previous studies that hinted that antibiotics could predispose children to develop other chronic diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease. Disruption of microbial communities in the intestines and elsewhere appears to play a role in inflammatory bowel disease and other autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis in adults. “Antibiotics are one of the better known disruptors of human microbial communities,” says Daniel Horton a postdoctoral research fellow working in the Department of Pediatrics at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and lead author of this study.

Using The Health Improvement Network (THIN), a database with information on over 11 million people across the United Kingdom, the researchers compared children with newly diagnosed juvenile arthritis with age- and gender-matched control subjects. Of the roughly 450,000 children studied, 152 were diagnosed with juvenile arthritis. After adjusting for other autoimmune conditions and previous infection, it was found that children who received prescriptions for antibiotics had an increased risk for developing juvenile arthritis.

Results of the Study

Researchers also found that upper respiratory tract infections treated with antibiotics were more strongly associated with juvenile arthritis than untreated upper respiratory tract infections. Additionally, they noted that antiviral and antifungal drugs were not linked to juvenile arthritis, suggesting that risk for arthritis was specific to antibacterial medicines.

“This is an extremely important clue about the etiology of this serious and potentially crippling disease. If confirmed, it also provides a means for preventing it,” said Brian Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and a senior author on the study.

It is also clear that children with juvenile arthritis have a higher risk of serious infections, in part because the immune system does not protect against infections as well as it should. “So an alternative explanation to our findings is that this abnormal immune system makes children more susceptible to serious infection even before they are diagnosed with arthritis. Under this hypothesis, antibiotics would be a marker for abnormal immunity rather than a direct cause of arthritis,” Horton added. “A majority of children get antibiotics, but only about 1 in 1,000 get arthritis. So even if antibiotics do contribute to the development of arthritis, it’s clearly not the only factor.”

Horton cautioned that additional research is necessary to confirm these findings and to understand the mechanism that might link antibiotic use and arthritis in children.

#JuvenileArthritis #JoinPain #Inflammation #AutoimmuneDisease #Arthritis #Antibiotics

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This web site is run by an Arthritis Specialist based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. On this site you will find news about the latest in arthritis, information about research results in the field, tips and information and diet and exercise, and much more.

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This web site is run by an Arthritis Specialist based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. On this site you will find news about the latest in arthritis, information about research results in the field, tips and information and diet and exercise, and much more.

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