Article and Link: The article I found was published in the New York Times by Richard Klasco, M.D. on December 21, 2018 titled Does the Gut Microbiome Ever Fully Recover From Antibiotics. The article can be found here but just a warning; The New York Times only allows so many article views per day before you have to pay for them.
Summary: The overview of the article is that studies are reviewing how the gut microbiome recovers from a course of antibiotics and questioning if the microbiome ever fully recovers to the same flora as prior to antibiotic treatment. The article gives basic information of the function of the microbiome in regards to human health and how the usage of antibiotic treatment indiscriminately kills bacteria regardless of being natural flora are harmful; it also has links to five different studies involving the microbiome and human health. The linked studies reviewed infant antibiotic treatment and breastfeeding, intestinal metabolism, effects of antibiotics on the gut microbiome analyzed by sequencing, and the microbiome showing incomplete recovery from repeated antibiotic treatment. The information being presented is stating that there is an increased risk for chronic health diseases with the use of repeated antibiotic treatments because the natural flora of the gut might not fully recover.
Connections: I will edit this post to add a question once we have progressed in our course.
Critical analysis: I found the study that analyzed infant gut microbiome, breastfeeding, and antibiotic usage very interesting. I’m glad that this article posted the link to PubMed so I was able to read the abstract. From the basic information in the article (without reading all the linked studies) I learned that there has been links between a disrupted gut microbiome and heart disease, obesity, asthma, and inflammatory bowel syndrome; I was surprised about the asthma and heart disease. I found that the article made some very bold statements that I could not directly find in the abstracts of linked studies but would be interesting in doing a bit more research.
Question: Given that we know that antibiotics are necessary in some cases but bacteria are increasingly becoming antibiotic resistant, I wonder if it more stress on prevention of unnecessary antibiotic usage should be given to the public. If the gut microbiome has such a difficult time recovering fully from antibiotic treatment should more research be conducted to alternatives to restoring proper function.
1 Comment for “A2: Microbes in the News”
I really like that you tapped into the links scattered in the article. It puts all the issues the author explained into a better perspective. I agree that the correlation between gut microbiome disruption and other non-intestinal maladies was quite interesting and something I didn’t know either! That evidence supports the idea that antibiotics are, chronically, doing more harm than good to our bodies. I found an article from US News Health that (although a bit informal) had relevant information for people who have disrupted gut microbiomes from antibiotics. The five pieces of advice they gave for gut restoration was 1) remove gut-distressing and sugary foods, 2) replace diet with fruit and veggies containing the correct type of fibers, 3) re-inoculated with bacterial-heavy foods (kombucha, yogurt, etc.), 4) repair the gut with vitamins and oils, finally, 5) rebalance with proper sleep and other recommended lifestyle habits. Overall, Remove. Replace. Re-inoculate. Repair. Rebalance.
Hope this helps answer your question!