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Getting Antibiotics as a Baby May Have Lasting Effects on Brain, Behavior

A new study published in Nature Communications and reported by Ars Technica has found a correlation between babies who get antibiotics during their first year of life and later behavioral problems, including signs of depression. It’s still unclear how this works, but it mimics earlier studies with mice that showed the same outcomes.

Yes, there is a place for antibiotics. But the overuse of these drugs, in both humans and animals, is actually taking away possibilities for using them when we need them most. Superbugs pose a serious threat to public health, and antibiotic resistance is now found around the world.

This news comes on the heels of years of food and drug makers fighting any type of regulation when it comes antibiotics. Because animals gain more weight on less feed when fed antibiotics, meat producers vehemently fight government attempts to lessen the drugs' use, even as we lose ground in the fight against superbugs that are resistant to almost all the “big gun” antibiotics left on Earth.

So, as drug-resistance spreads, what can you do? Start by using antibiotics only when absolutely necessary — and that includes questioning whether your baby really needs an antibiotic. If you do need one, be sure to reseed your gut with healthy bacteria by eating fermented foods or taking a probiotic supplement. To prevent infections, remember to wash your hands with warm water and plain soap. And, purchase only organic, antibiotic-free meats and other foods from responsible, high-quality and sustainable sources such as local farmers and farmers markets.
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