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Research Shows Connection Between Increased Antibiotics Use and Parkinson’s Disease
The study done by researchers at the Helsinki University Hospital of Finland reveals that undue use of certain antibiotics could increase the risk of having Parkinson’s disease. The scientists noted a delay of up to 10-15 years before the disorder develops.
Broad-spectrum antibiotics showed a very strong link to the disease. Drugs against fungi and anaerobic bacteria also displayed clear-cut association to the condition.
The researchers noted that the upsetting effects of antibiotics on microbes in the gut may explain the connection.
“It was known that the bacterial composition of the intestine in Parkinson’s patients is abnormal, but the cause is unclear,” said the lead researcher Filip Scheperjans, MD, Ph.D., a neurologist at Helsinki University Hospital’s Department of Neurology. “Our results suggest that some commonly used antibiotics, which are known to strongly influence the gut microbiota, could be a predisposing factor.”
Changes leading to Parkinson’s
Medical experts believe that changes in the gut may have a link to the onset of Parkinson’s disease. They think that this explains the cases in a large number of patients. In their view, these changes could start years before the symptoms start to come out.
Scientists have observed a link between disorders such as constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and an increased risk of having Parkinson’s.
However, previous research did not exactly explain the link between Parkinson’s disease and antibiotic use, as done in this study.
Relationship between antibiotics and Parkinson’s
The Finnish researchers made use of data from national registries to investigate the possible link between antibiotics and Parkinson’s. They explored the use of antibiotics by almost 14,000 patients and roughly 40,700 non-patients between 1998 and 2014.
Scientists matched subjects in the two groups on the bases of age, sex, and area of residence. They studied antibiotic exposure over 1-5 years, 5-10 years, and 10-15 years before the index date, based on purchase data.
The researchers also classified the drugs in relation to their chemical structure, mechanism of action, and antimicrobial spectrum. They took note of times antibiotics were bought as well.
Findings show that too much use of some common antibiotics could make a person more prone to having Parkinson’s disease. Certain antibiotics can make a person vulnerable to the disorder, with a delay lasting for 10 to 15 years.
In addition to observing that broad-spectrum antibiotics and drugs acting against fungi and anaerobic bacteria having the strongest links, the researchers found that exposure timing was critical as well.
“The link between antibiotic exposure and Parkinson’s disease fits the current view that in a significant proportion of patients the pathology of Parkinson’s may originate in the gut, possibly related to microbial changes, years before the onset of typical Parkinson motor symptoms such as slowness, muscle stiffness and shaking of the extremities,” Scheperjans said.
The neurologist noted that their results may influence how doctors prescribe antibiotics to guard against certain disorders. The findings could contribute in fighting growing antibiotic resistance around the world.