SUMMARY: This review looked the long-term effects of taking antibiotics. 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. Some topics that this paper applies to include: anaerobic/aerobic bacteria and respiration, digestive system, antibiotic use in agriculture versus medicine. This would be a good article to tie together antibiotic resistant bacteria and the effect of the microbiota on brain development. Could the use of antibiotics be indirectly affecting the cognitive development of babies? Could this be one of the reasons 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