A Research Idea

I was doing my rounds reading some of the great blogs I follow and came across one topic I am really starting to appreciate, the importance of our gut physiology. 
My real love and curiosity is related to optimum physiological functioning arising from primary and secondary holistic preventive methodologies. This goes well beyond nursing and includes a variety of scientific disciplines and causeways. The connection to nursing is often opaque and unrefined, even though the relationship is stronger than we realize.
One clinical problem requiring greater understanding are the long-term implications antibiotics have on our immunity, metabolism, and disease progression. This is not generally considered, since antibiotic use is standard practice and routinely administered prophylactically and for nonemergent circumstances. I am not implying they should not be used. The salient point here is not their short-term benefit, rather their long-term implications.
This type of study would be observational in nature, reviewing decades of antibiotic administration and bowel disorder data. It could take on meta-analysis like characteristics. Factors affecting feasibility would not include cost since the study could follow current and past administration of an antibiotic use. The focus could be narrowed to ciprofloxacin since it is considered one of the most benign perturbative antibiotics (Dethlefsen, Huse, Relman & Sogin, 2008). Pooling available data would generally require just the researcher’s time.
Further narrowing the focus: identifying previously known perturbations antibiotics play on our gut flora may elucidate implications with gastrointestinal disorders such as celiac spree, inflammatory bowel disease, and Crohn’s disease. Feasibility of the implications applies to the type of practicing clinician. How preventive and holistic a practitioner may be may determine the research’s applicability. From an integrative or holistic perspective, this information can provide significant implications for treatment.
Other problems that may arise: confounding the extent antibiotics play a role when consideration other factors such as vaginal or cesarean birth (Bessi, et Al., 2010), underlying gastrointestinal disorders, chronic disease status, and functional or structural alterations. There may be other factors requiring further exploration. The goal with this type of inquiry is twofold: to reveal potential harm unnecessary use of antibiotics have on our health and to understand the importance healthy gut flora diversity contributes to our long-term health.
References
Dethlefsen, L., Huse, S., Relman, D., and Sogin, M. (2008). The pervasive effects of an antibiotic on the human gut microbiota, as revealed by deep 16S rRNA sequencing. PLoS Biology. 6(11): e280. Doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0060280
Bessi, E., Biasucci, G., Morelli, L., Retetangos, C., Riboni, S., and Rubini, M. (2010). Mode of delivery affects the bacterial community in the newborn gut. [Abstract].  Early Human Development. Jul(86), Suppl. 1:13-15. Retrieved February 10, 2012 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20133091

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