Otitis Media, Antibiotic Treatment, and Autism Spectrum

Otitis media infection and antibiotic treatment are associated with the risk of developing autism spectrum disorder. A 10-year population-based study in Denmark (January 1, 1997 to December 31, 2008) shows the relationship between otitis media and antibiotic use and the subsequent risk of developing autism.  The results showed that children who were prescribed antibiotics for a diagnosis of otitis media reported an increased absolute risk of autism before age 10.  Autism was more common in children who were infected with otitis media and treated with antibiotics.

Most children with otitis media are treated with antibiotics, which can lead to an increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria and an increase in gut flora instability, which may contribute to the development of autism. Most cases of otitis media in children resolve spontaneously. Even in cases of severe pain and fever, we should seriously reconsider whether the benefits of using antibiotics and the side effects of inducing neurological disturbances should be prioritized.

The same goes for infectious enteritis and diarrhea. Most cases of contagious enteritis are accompanied by fever and diarrhea. However, almost all cases of infectious diarrhea resolve spontaneously once the infectious feces from the inflammation are eliminated through diarrhea. Therefore, the best treatment for infectious diarrhea is to allow it to resolve spontaneously while preventing dehydration. Antipyretics are often used, as well as antibiotics. As we saw with otitis media, overuse of antibiotics in enteritis can lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and accelerate the destabilization of the gut flora. This, of course, leads to the onset and worsening of autism.

For a growing child, experiencing and overcoming a viral or bacterial infection is not just a matter of resolving a fever or pain. It is a process of immunologic and histologic maturation of the immature central nervous system. The advent of chemically synthesized pharmaceuticals and the overuse of antipyretics and antibiotics has disrupted and distorted this maturation process.

Viral infections and gut flora instability, which have been linked to autism, are also very likely to occur in children who experience colds and enterocolitis. In primitive African tribes, there is no such thing as autism. It’s mostly a natural cure.  Could it be that industrialized treatment systems are actually making autism worse?

Ref. Otitis media, antibiotics, and risk of autism spectrum disorder /Theresa Wimberley, Esben Agerbo, Carsten B Pedersen, Søren Dalsgaard, Henriette Thisted Horsdal, Preben B Mortensen PMID: 30284386 DOI: 10.1002/aur.2015

Subscribe DR-TOMATO newsletter