“Researchers found the changes in memory and thinking in this group of women were small and results do not suggest people who take antibiotics in midlife are any more likely to develop dementia. However, this research does suggest that it’s important to consider the longer-term outcomes of medication on memory and thinking.
“We can’t be sure of cause and effect in this sort of observational study and the authors highlight that these findings present a direction for future research, rather than being conclusive evidence of a link between antibiotics and memory and thinking skills.
“This study did not look at the direct impact antibiotics had on the gut bacteria, and while researchers have linked the makeup of the intestinal microbiome to brain health, this was not investigated directly in this study. The relationship identified in this research could be a result of the infections that antibiotics were used to treat, rather than the drugs themselves. It is important to properly manage treatable health conditions and people who have concerns about any aspect of their health should speak to their GP.
“Midlife is increasingly being seen as a time to act, and there are things we can do to reduce our risk of dementia. This includes not smoking, only drinking in moderation, staying mentally and physically active, eating a balanced diet, and keeping cholesterol and blood pressure levels in check can all help to keep our brains healthy as we age. Find information and advice on brain health at www.thinkbrainhealth.org.uk”