Penicillin may cause children to become angry in later life, a study has found.
Low doses of the common antibiotic sparked long-term behavioural changes in mice – leading experts to believe the findings may also ring true in humans, shares Daily Mail.
By altering chemical levels in the brain and the balance of gut bacteria, the rodents displayed signs of elevated levels of aggression.
However, giving them a form of probiotic helped to prevent the ‘detrimental’ effects, researchers claim.
The findings add substance to an ever-growing body of research that links mental health to a balance of microbes in the stomach.
A range of other studies have shown similar behavioural effects of giving antibiotics to adult animals.
Lead author, Dr John Bienenstock, said: ‘There are almost no babies in North America that haven’t received a course of antibiotics in their first year of life.
‘In this paper, we report low-dose penicillin taken late in pregnancy and in early life of mice offspring, changes behaviour and the balance of microbes in the gut.
‘While these studies have been performed in mice, they point to popular increasing concerns about the long-term effects of antibiotics.
‘Furthermore, our results suggest that a probiotic might be effective in preventing the detrimental effects of the penicillin.’
But writing in the journal Nature Communications, he warned that the drugs can also be found in meat and dairy products – despite a crackdown.
He added: ‘If mothers are passing along the effects of these drugs to their as yet unborn children, this raises further questions about the long-term effects of our society’s consumption of antibiotics.’
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