E. coli infections that are immune to the antibiotic ciprofloxacin, a common treatment, are on the rise despite a six-year decrease in prescribing the treatment. That bucks what’s expected to happen.

According to the study of Seattle-area women 50 and older who had not used any antibiotics for more than a year, cases of ciprofloxacin-resistant E. coli increased, according to researchers from the University of Washington School of Medicine, Kaiser Permanente and Seattle Children’s Hospital. The findings were published in Communications Medicine, which is an open-access Nature Portfolio journal.

The finding supports the theory that “once a drug-resistant form of E.coli emerges, it will continue to spread by taking up long-term residence in individuals’ gut microbiomes. E. coli is among an alarming number of disease-causing bacteria that have become resistant to several types of antibiotics. Resistance means that the antibiotics can’t kill the bacteria,” a news release on the study in ScienceDaily said.

The researchers said that the drug-resistant bacteria in the gut can enter the urinary tract opening and produce infection and that the anatomy of women makes them more susceptible. Postmenopausal women are “especially susceptible to severe, drug-resistant infection,” which can even lead to “considerable risk of hospitalization and death from sepsis,” the news release said.

Because of drug resistance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration began discouraging broad use of ciprofloxacin and similar drugs for uncomplicated urinary tract infections in 2015.

“However, it appears to be questionable whether a reduction in antibiotic use can be effective in reducing the rates of resistance in E. coli infections,” according to the study authors.

They recommend that scientists push to find better ways to tackle drug-resistant E. coli while it’s still in the gut and to curb colonization. They suggest as possibilities using probiotic bacteria and viruses that attack bacteria. But they add that more study is needed to figure out how best those or other strategies could be used.

Impulsive kids

Want kids who behave? You might want to make sure they get enough sleep.

That’s according to a new study from the Youth Development Institute at the University of Georgia that’s published in the journal Sleep Health.

The researchers said that children whose home environments are stressful are more likely to develop impulsive traits that are a “robust precursor of problem behaviors.” But sleep may intervene since it’s “both sensitive to stress and essential for neurocognitive development underlying behavioral control during adolescence.”

It said a brain network that plays a role in both stress regulation and sleep, the default mode network, but it’s not well understood how that moderation of impulsiveness in the face of stressful environments works.

The study used a sample of 11,878 children in the multiyear Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study, average age 10, to conclude that sleep health could be a preventive intervention to curb impulsivity among those youths impacted by stress.

“Stressful environments are shown to make adolescents seek immediate rewards rather than delayed rewards, but there are also adolescents who are in stressful environments who are not impulsive,” said lead author Linhao Zhang, a fourth-year doctoral student in the university’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences. “We looked at what explains that link and what makes some people differ from others. One mechanism we found is sleep.”

They found that lack of sleep and taking a longer time to get to sleep both had significant associations to impulsive behaviors “down the line.” Sleep problems were tracked at different points over two years. The study found when kids got less than nine hours of sleep or took more than a half-hour to go to sleep, they were more apt to show impulsive behaviors later, such as “acting without a plan, seeking thrills or sensations and lacking perseverance.”

When sleep problems weren’t found, future impulsivity was less likely.

In the release, Zhang pointed out that not getting enough sleep can create problems even when one’s environment isn’t stressful. “A lot of adolescents don’t have enough time to sleep, and they are sleep deprived,” Zhang said. “This study shows why it is important to promote longer sleep duration by delaying school start times or establishing routines so that adolescents know, ‘OK, after this event, I’m going to bed.’”