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Antibiotics abuse in children could affect brain development – Researcher


Researcher has warned against the use of antibiotics early in life, it could alter human brain development in areas responsible for cognitive and emotional functions.

According to the researchers from Rutgers University, USA, there is a need to reduce widespread antibiotic use to prevent neurodevelopment problems.

Penicillin and related medicines like ampicillin and amoxicillin are the most widely used antibiotics in children worldwide.

“The laboratory study suggests that penicillin changes the microbiome, the trillions of beneficial microorganisms that live in and on our bodies as well as gene expression, which allows cells to respond to its changing environment, in key areas of the developing brain.

“The findings suggest reducing widespread antibiotic use or using alternatives when possible to prevent neurodevelopment problems.

“In the United States, the average child receives nearly three courses of antibiotics before the age of two. Similar or greater exposure rates occur in many other countries,”  The researchers said.

Senior Registrar in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Alex Ekwueme University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, Dr. Amuche Nwafor, said that there was a need for pregnant women to desist from going to patent medicine dealers to buy antibiotics when they are sick.

The gynaecologist warned that the use of antibiotics in pregnancy without a doctor’s prescription has a devastating impact and can cause deformities and jaundice in babies.

The physician says that maternal health experts discourage the use of antibiotics in pregnancy because not all of them are safe.

“Generally, we discourage drug use in pregnancy as much as possible. We only use antibiotics in pregnancy when it is extremely necessary. Some antibiotics are not safe during pregnancy. Some of them will affect the foetus negatively. Antibiotics can cause deformity in the baby. It can also affect the bone.

“There are, however, some that are safe. But the problem is that some pregnant women, when they are sick, go to the chemist to buy drugs,” she said.

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