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brain and gut


Probiotics may affect brain function. Will repeated courses of antibiotics during childhood have an effect on brain development?

UCLA researchers now have the first evidence that bacteria ingested in food can affect brain function in humans. In an early proof-of-concept study of healthy women, they found that women who regularly consumed probiotics through yogurt showed altered brain function both while in a resting state and in response to an emotion-recognition task.

What this means is that gut health may affect brain function. Tying-in with what we know, a healthy, well-balanced diet is important in regulating gut and probiotic health. This concurs with the central idea of holistic health (and dentistry – after all the mouth is the start of the digestive track!) that the different systems of the body are closely-linked together rather than viewed as a separate unit.

Furthermore, by demonstrating the brain effects of probiotics, the study also raises the question of whether repeated courses of antibiotics can affect the brain, as some have speculated. Antibiotics are used extensively in neonatal ICUs and childhood respiratory tract infections, and such suppression of the normal microbiota may have long-term consequences on brain development.

There is a time and place for antibiotics, but overprescription of antibiotics may lead to more harm than good.