The gut microbiota is a complex ecosystem playing a role in health, primarily colonized in the first year of life. Some medication use, such as antibiotics, can cause microbial dysbiosis (unusual microbiome composition) and is associated with development of pathologies such as asthma. However, the impact of other medication use on the gut microbiome is poorly characterized. In this thesis, I use the rich data collected in the CHILD Cohort Study, to develop models examining the impacts of medication practices on infant microbial dysbiosis and associated child outcomes. Certain medication use was associated with changes in the gut microbiome, but the results suggest medication use may be a proxy for other lifestyle factors that make the child more prone to microbial dysbiosis. This work forms the base for further characterizations of the links between medication use, metabolism, and lifestyle, to identify the most effective intervention points for preventing microbial dysbiosis.
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Thesis advisor: Brinkman, Fiona
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