SUMMARY: This review looked at how long the impact of taking antibiotics will last in the host. If one is looking at the microbiota as a whole, the effects seem to be short term (a few months); however, if one looks at the population of specific species of bacteria, the numbers don’t recover for years (in this study, the longest recovery period observed was 4 years). Antibiotics also increase the amount and length of time resistant bacteria stayed in the gut, as well as the ability for them to share their resistant genes with other bacteria.
LESSON COMMENTS: The gut microbiota can be compared to a complex ecosystem and other topics that can be covered include: anaerobic/aerobic bacteria and respiration, digestive system, antibiotic use in agriculture versus medicine. This would be a good article to tie together the topics of antibiotic resistant bacteria and the effect microbiota on brain development. Could the use of antibiotics be indirectly affecting the cognitive development of babies? Could this be a contributing reason why rates of autism and other mental disorders are rising?
Jernberg, C., Lofmark, S., Edlund, C., & Jansson, J. K. (2010). Long-term impacts of antibiotic exposure on the human intestinal microbiota. Microbiology,156(11), 3216-3223. doi:10.1099/mic.0.040618-0