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Home Industry News New study sheds light on long-term side effects of antibiotics

New study sheds light on long-term side effects of antibiotics

5th July 2013

Researchers have discovered how long-term treatment with many common antibiotics can cause harmful side effects, while also uncovering potential methods of preventing this.

The team from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University – led by Dr Jim Collins – found that the issue is caused by antibiotics triggering oxidative stress, a condition that sees cells producing chemically reactive oxygen molecules that damage the bacteria's DNA, enzymes and cell membranes.

As well as killing bacteria, this process can negatively affect mitochondria, the bacterium-like organelles that supply human cells with energy.

As such, it was surmised that doctors could use a bacteriostatic antibiotic that stops bacteria from multiplying without killing them to prevent oxidative stress from occurring, or else use an antioxidant called N-acetylcysteine to mitigate the impact of the process.

Dr Don Ingber, the Wyss Institute's founding director, said: "Doctors have known for years that antibiotics occasionally cause serious side effects and Jim's new findings offer not one but two exciting new strategies that could address this long-neglected public health problem."

Scientists around the world are also working to find ways of preventing bacteria from developing resistance to antibiotics, as this trend represents a growing threat to global health.ADNFCR-8000103-ID-801608837-ADNFCR

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