Biology, Babies and Serotonin

The Abnormal Biology of A Baby

Joseph was an unhappy baby. He didn’t sleep for long periods and appeared to cry all a time. He’d best if he had been held and rocked, or walked. He spit after feeding and was negatively compared to other babies in the family. His parents gently called him their “high care” child. He developed a few ear ailments that were treated with antibiotics. With the second antibiotic he obtained, he developed a rash. His doctor said he had been allergic to amoxicillin and put him on another antibiotic. He got over the ear infection, but continued to become whiny and had nausea.

After a different antibiotic he developed a white coat on his tongue which the doctor called thrush. As he grew, it became evident that he was intolerant to a foods. Milk gave him a stomach ache with pain and gave him a rash around his mouth area. He continued to be plagued with trouble falling asleep, tummy aches, frequent canker sores, and bed wetting as he grew older. He had more unusual fears than his sisters and brothers. When he started college his mother noticed his memory wasn’t as great as his sisters. He’d find something one day and have forgotten it the next.

Occasionally he looked like quite robotic.  Often times he seemed spacey while a lesson has been exhibited or when asked a question through the day. When a lesson or project became difficult for him, he became frustrated very easily over and would flare up or cry.  Josephs mother had been at her wits end trying to figure out how to help him. She’d tried rewarding, cajoling, punishing, and avoiding doing homework entirely. Nothing appeared to change his attitude towards studying or his capability to do it easily. He did enjoy the avoidance of college work, however, like we all do. As it turns out, Joseph was probably suffering from a deficiency of the brain neurotransmitter serotonin.

The Solution

Serotonin is the brain chemical that keeps us focused, instills a feeling of well being, and helps us fall asleep easily. How had he gotten this deficiency in serotonin?  Dr. Michael Gershon, a neurobiologist and physician Researcher at Columbia University in NY, discovered that 95% of serotonin is produced in our gut. Gershon has a book called The Second Brain wherein he describes this complex relationship between gut and brain functioning.

How was Josephs gut health endangered to a point where he could no longer make enough serotonin to keep him feeling good? We have both yeast and healthful bacteria in our intestines. When the mother takes an antibiotic when she’s pregnant or the kid takes an antibiotic, the yeast in the intestine begins to overgrow since the good bacteria in the gut is eliminated and the bad bacteria which was causing the ear or other infection is increased.

So as it turned out, if the measures to detect low serotonin were in place, Joseph could have avoided a lifetime of pain and confusion.  Over times, when it comes to Biology, if one chemical is out of wack, it can alter someones life to extremes.