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Can exposure to antibiotics in the womb cause long term behavioural changes such as elevated levels of aggression? Can “healthy” bacteria or probiotics diminish these effects?

In a landmark study led by Dr. John Bienenstock published in Nature Communications, researchers at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and McMaster University have discovered that this is true for laboratory mice.

This is only the beginning when it comes to understanding how these findings impact humans, but it brings up many questions about antibiotic use in pregnant mothers and infants. It also places the spotlight again on the benefits of eating probiotics and the infinite connections between our gut and our brain.

“There are almost no babies in North America that haven’t received a course of antibiotics in their first year of life,” says Dr. John Bienenstock, Director of the Brain-Body Institute at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. “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.”

Resources:

Click here to read the full study.

Media Coverage:

Click here to read this story in the Economist, the Daily Mail and in Today's Parent.

 

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