Canada's McMaster University Links Early Antibiotics to Baby's Brain and Behavior


Administering antibiotics among babies to eradicate bacteria from the body may lead to long term behavioral changes. A new study by St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton and McMaster University in Canada shows that low doses of penicillin can cause haywire signals in the brain. Their study was conducted on mice and is published in "Nature Communications."

The researchers from McMaster University in Canada administered low doses of penicillin on new born mice and on pregnant mice and found that it would result to lasting behavioural changes, Science Daily reported. The behavioural changes include higher levels of aggression and decreased levels of anxiety. The mice that got the penicillin also show neurochemical changes in their brain and imbalanced gut microbes.

The team of researchers used 72 mice, and 42 percent became aggressive. By studying the brains of the exposed mice, the researchers found that the blood-brain barriers among these samples have thinned, and the genes linked to being aggressive have increased. In another test the scientist found that one of the solutions to this long term effect is by administering a lactobacillus strain of bacteria to the mice, ARS Technica reported.

The authors of the study admitted that the effects on mice may not be directly extrapolated to how it may affect humans. However, they said that the findings can support the concern for the long-term negative effects of early exposure to antibiotics, said the authors.

Exposing the mother mice to antibiotics may not be enough to conclude the findings of long-term behavioural effects. Also, the exposure of antibiotics among mice pups took longer. These are some of the leading problems of the research that must be addressed in their future studies.

Ultimately, the authors concluded that further studies are needed to prove that these conclusions are correct and are applicable for human beings. They believe it is important to learn about the potential effects of antibiotics to neuropsychiatric disorder and the benefits of good bacteria.

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