Mothers are Warned of the Detrimental Effects of Antibiotics to Babies’ Brains

By Krisana Estaura, | April 06, 2017

This study also backs earlier studies involving mice, as well as humans, showing that microbes in guts have a long-lasting effect on the brain. (YouTube)

This study also backs earlier studies involving mice, as well as humans, showing that microbes in guts have a long-lasting effect on the brain. (YouTube)

A new study shows that a low-dose penicillin taken early in life could cause behavioral problems and gut microbe imbalances.

According to Science Daily,  researchers at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton and McMaster University have found that providing low doses of penicillin to pregnant mice and their offspring results in long-term behavioural changes.

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The behavioral changes observed include higher levels of aggression and lower levels of anxiety, accompanied by characteristic neurochemical changes in the brain and an imbalance in their gut microbes. The negative effects of the antibiotic, however, can be prevented by giving the mice a lactobacillus strain of bacteria.

The study published in Nature Communications noted that while the experiment was performed in mice, it points elevating concerns about the long-term effects of antibiotics.

John Bienenstock, Director of the Brain-Body Institute at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton and Distinguished Professor at McMaster University suggested that the findings of the study are particularly important in North America where there are almost no babies that have not received a course of antibiotics in their first year of life.

"Antibiotics aren't only prescribed, but they're also found in meat and dairy products. If mothers are passing along the effects of these drugs to their as yet unborn children or children after birth, this raises further questions about the long-term effects of our society's consumption of antibiotics," he said.

According to Ars Technica,  the study also backs up earlier studies involving mice, as well as humans, showing that microbes in guts bring long lasting effect in brains.

The publication cited a study in 2014 where researchers found that eating two servings of bacteria-loaded yogurt a day for four weeks could change the women's brain chemistry.

Another study from New Zealand researchers published early this year, it said, also found a correlation between taking antibiotics in the first year of life and having more behavioral problems and symptoms of depression when the kids turn seven and 11.

 

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