DEC 04, 2019 9:22 AM PST

Antibiotic Usage May Cause Parkinson's, Study Finds

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

A study from Helsinki University Hospital, Finland suggests that excessive usage of certain antibiotics may increase one’s risk of developing Parkinson’s later on in life. 

For the study, researchers took data from national registries to compare antibiotic exposure between 1998 and 2014 of 13,976 patients with Parkinson’s disease and 40,697 people without the condition. Matching the datasets for age, sex and place of residence, they measured patients’ antibiotic exposure over three time periods: 1-5, 5-10 and 10-15 years according to infromation on oral antibiotic purchase.

During their analysis, they considered exposure to be the number of courses purchased by each patient.  Meanwhile, the “quality” of each exposure was investigated by categorizing each antibiotic by chemical structure, antimicrobial spectrum and mechanism of action.  

Looking at the results, the researchers found that broad spectrum antibiotics, such as Amoxicillin, and those that act against anaerobic bacteria and fungi, were particularly associated with the development of Parkinson’s later on in life. They also found that their effects were usually not immediate, and had a delay of 10 to 15 years following exposure. 

According to research team leader, neurologist Filip Scheperjans, “It was known that the bacterial composition of the intestine in Parkinson's patients is abnormal, but the cause is unclear. Our results suggest that some commonly used antibiotics, which are known to strongly influence the gut microbiota, could be a predisposing factor.” 

Pathological changes in the gut indicative of Parkinson’s disease have been observed up to 20 years prior diagnosis. Meanwhile, other gut issues including constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease have also previously been associated with a higher risk of developing the disease. As exposure to antibiotics has been shown to change the gut microbiome, and has thus been shown to increase risk factors for other diseases such as Crohn’s disease, researchers are keen to investigate the link between gut health and Parkinson’s further. 

Scheperjans said, “The discovery may also have implications for antibiotic prescribing practices in the future. In addition to the problem of antibiotic resistance, antimicrobial prescribing should also take into account their potentially long-lasting effects on the gut microbiome and the development of certain diseases.”

 

Sources: EurekAlert, Medical News Today and Wiley Online Library   

About the Author
  • Science writer with keen interests in technology and behavioral biology. Her current focus is on the interplay between these fields to create meaningful interactions, applications and environments.
You May Also Like
MAY 25, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
FDA Approves the First Treatment for Neurofibromatosis 1
MAY 25, 2020
FDA Approves the First Treatment for Neurofibromatosis 1
In a major breakthrough, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a treatment for a genetic disorder called neurofi ...
JUN 09, 2020
Neuroscience
Researchers Discover the Brain Cells that Control Appetite
JUN 09, 2020
Researchers Discover the Brain Cells that Control Appetite
Researchers from the University of Warwick in England have found that specific cells in the brain can both stimulate and ...
JUN 18, 2020
Neuroscience
How Climate Change Worsened Zika Virus Defects
JUN 18, 2020
How Climate Change Worsened Zika Virus Defects
Image: Pixabay   In 2015 a massive outbreak of the Zika virus started in Brazil and spread across 33 countries. The ...
JUN 26, 2020
Neuroscience
Artificial and Natural Neurons Communicate Using Dopamine
JUN 26, 2020
Artificial and Natural Neurons Communicate Using Dopamine
Researchers from Stanford University have shown that artificial neurons can communicate with biological neurons with dop ...
JUN 26, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
New Method Identifies Different Types of Nerve Support Cells
JUN 26, 2020
New Method Identifies Different Types of Nerve Support Cells
Neurons are a well-studied cell type in the brain. But another type of brain cell called glia has received less attentio ...
JUL 27, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
White Blood Cells Are Essential to the Developing Brain
JUL 27, 2020
White Blood Cells Are Essential to the Developing Brain
The brain is protected by a protective shield called the blood-brain barrier, which only allows certain things to pass t ...
Loading Comments...