Science News Radio Interview: Taking penicillin while pregnant could affect your baby’s brain

Posted by: | April 14, 2017 | Comments


A study on mice suggests that taking the common antibiotic penicillin when pregnant could alter the brain chemistry of your offspring.

Listen Here: RNZ

Dr Chris Smith of The Naked Scientists tells This Way Up’s Simon Morton about research conducted by McMaster University researcher John Bienenstock and his colleagues, published in the journal Nature Communications.

“Penicillin has saved millions of lives since it’s antibacterial properties were realised in in patients in 1942”, Dr Smith said. “Now, literally thousands of tonnes of antibiotics like penicillin are used every year around the world. But could there be consequences for a developing baby’s brain if its mother takes antibiotics during her pregnancy?”

The researchers found that animals treated with penicillin during their pregnancy gave birth to young with altered brain chemistry, disturbed behaviour and a disrupted microbiome, the colony of bacteria living in the animals’ gut.

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