Antibiotics are effective drugsagents for the treatment of infectious diseases. The principle of their action is simple - they kill bacteria that provoke diseases. However, along with pathogenic microbes, they mercilessly exterminate those that are needed for the full functioning of the body. Therefore, while taking antibiotics in humans, the gut microbiome, the name for the collection of bacteria that help us digest food and perform a number of other vital tasks, is destroyed. In some studies, scientists have found that the gut microbiome is closely related to the functioning of the brain. And this means that the use of antibiotics can affect the mental abilities of people. Until now, this was just a hypothesis, but recently researchers have presented very convincing evidence for this.
The effect of antibiotics on the brain
In the course of scientific work, the results of which werepublished in the scientific journal PLOS One, American scientists studied the effect of antibiotics on mental abilities in 14,542 women. They were united by the fact that they took a course of antibiotics about seven years ago, aimed at treating respiratory infections, dental problems, urinary tract diseases, and so on. They all took the online test, which included four different tasks designed to measure aspects of cognitive performance.
The results of the study showed thatwomen who used antibiotics did have learning, reaction, and memory problems. The decline in brain performance was equivalent to about 3-4 years of natural aging. The relationship between antibiotic use and cognitive decline persisted even after the authors of the study ruled out factors that could have influenced the results of the study. Apparently, we are talking about the diet of volunteers, as well as taking other medications. It is important to note that the negative effect was noticeable even with antibiotic treatment for only two weeks.
How exactly do antibiotics impair cognitive performance?ability of people, scientists do not know. But this study, which involved thousands of people, pushes scientists to study this phenomenon. There is speculation that perhaps the cognitive decline was caused by the infections themselves, rather than the medications to treat them.
See also: Antibiotics sometimes cause hallucinations - why do patients begin to "hear God"?
The relationship between the gut and the brain
In fact, what antibiotics are negativeaffect people's mental abilities, no wonder. The human intestine is closely connected with the brain. Scientists believe that the gut microbiome is constantly communicating with the brain through the vagus nerve, which penetrates the mucosa. This allows the body to control the process of digestion.
The first person to notice a clearthe relationship between the brain and the intestines, was the English physical chemist George Porter (George Porter). In the first half of the 20th century, he observed patients in a London psychiatric hospital and drew attention to the fact that people with depression often complain of constipation and other disorders of the digestive system. One would think that these problems were provoked by mental illness. However, the scientist looked at this phenomenon from the other side - what if it is the improper functioning of the digestive organs that causes a poor emotional state of people?
To test his hypothesis, the scientist conductedlittle experiment. He put patients on a new, healthier diet that did not contain meat - people with mental illness ate fish, drank kefir and other healthy foods. As you know, sour-milk drinks improve digestion, and the researcher expected that at the same time people would get better emotional state. Surprisingly, after changing the diet, 11 out of 18 patients actually began to feel better. This experiment was the first evidence that bacteria in the human gut can affect the state of the psyche.
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As a result, it turns out that antibiotics are worthtaken with caution for two reasons. First, as can be understood from everything written above, taking antibacterial drugs can cause problems with thinking. Secondly, if drugs are used incorrectly, bacteria can develop resistance to them.