A new study warns children who are treated with antibiotics are more likely to develop mental health issues later in life.
Researchers came to this conclusion after studying clinical data from close to one million people in the Danish Psychiatric Central Research Register. The data included information on Danes who were treated for mental disorder from 1995 before they turned 17.
Every detail of the patient was measured from general and mental health status to family history. After analysing the data, the team found antibiotic use has a strong association to risk for mental illness. The link may be strong because antibiotics affect bacteria in the intestinal microbiome. The study's findings were originally published in JAMA Psychiatry.
The interaction between gut bacteria, infection and mental illness could be a potential cause for the rise in mental disorder cases. Bacteria in our gut may have a way of influencing our moods.
Researchers at John Hopkins University also conducted a study to investigate this link. The team studied the records of children who were treated with antibiotics before they turned 18. When they examined the children’s mental health history, they found they were more likely to be hospitalised due to mental health issues. They were also treated with antipsychotic drugs.
"What we basically found out was that exposure to antibiotics, particularly long-term antibiotics or multiple doses of antibiotics, was associated with an increased risk of any number of different psychiatric disorders," Robert Yolkin, a researcher who was part of the study, told a news portal.
Researchers believe the discovery of this link between gut bacteria and mental health could help scientists develop better treatment options for these kinds of issues.