Category: Antibiotic Resistance

Addressing a World of Resistance

During the past 70 years, we have become dependent on antibiotics. Each year, more than 25 million pounds of antibiotics are consumed annually, and half of all prescriptions are made with diagnostic uncertainty.  Seventy percent of the total antibiotics used, however, is destined for livestock in order to promote rapid growth. Antibiotics “have been used so widely and for so long that the infectious organisms the antibiotics are designed to kill have adapted to them, making the drugs either less effective”1 or completely ineffective. People with antibiotic resistant infections are at greater risk of dying as a result of the infection and require much greater health care administration. Unfortunately for all of us, the primary battlegrounds of the war of the superbugs are the hospitals and health care institutions2 where health care workers themselves have become one of the primary vectors of transmission.   Read More

Today Is Antibiotic Awareness Day!

Today marks the third annual Antibiotic Awareness Day, a global initiative raising awareness for the threat antibiotic resistance places on public health.  Countries all over the world are participating and holding events to promote awareness for this worldwide problem. In support of today, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched its Get Smart About Antibiotics Week to highlight the importance of appropriate antibiotic use.

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My Theory: Cancer and Pathogens

Ten years ago when I would mention my theory in public, my esteemed colleagues would give me either a heaven-bound roll of the eye or a terse shake of the head…depending on the audience. Ten years ago, my theory was considered radical, serving only to demonstrate my lack of scientific background. Ten years later, this theory is getting some traction and I am pleased to see a number of key researchers validating my beliefs1,2,3.

My theory: The changing composition and characteristics of the bacteria with which we coexist, are causing directly or indirectly our major systemic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancers, arthritis, etc. To restore normal health, requires a 2 part process. First, we need to target the removal of the bad bacteria. Second, we need to replace them with the original (good) bacteria, reinstating  the ‘normal’ compositions and concentrations.  Widespread killing of all bacteria, therefore, as in the case of systemic antibiotics, only addresses the first element of this proposed protocol but not the second part, as antibiotic use clearly does not do much to restore the original composition of bacteria needed to promote good health. Read More

Vancomycin Resistance Creeping Upward in Canada

Philippe R. S. Lagacé-Wiens, MD, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, and his colleagues presented the results of a study at the 50th Annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC).  He and his group observed that there has been a significant rise in the vancomycin minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) for Staphylococcus aureus in Canada over the last few years. Similar trends of Vancomycin MIC creep have been observed in the United States and United Kingdom over the past decade, laying grounds for concern about the potential development of new forms of S. aureus that are completely resistant to Vancomycin. Read More

Higher Learning for Bacteria – 4

It’s been a while since my last entry, so I am wrapping up this topic today.  My apologies to anyone I left waiting for the conclusion. 

In my first post on antibiotic resistance, I quoted German immunologist and Nobel Laureate Paul Ehrlich.  It is only fitting, then, that I frame my conclusion to this set of posts around something that Ehrlich dreamed of: The Magic Bullet. Read More

Higher Learning for Bacteria – 3

A new month brings a new office for Ondine!  Now that we’re more or less done with the move, I’m back to blogging, along with a variety of other things that have been suppressed for a few days.

In my last post, I detailed a number of ways that bacteria defy the student analogy.  Now let’s examine some of the ways they fit it – an angle that shows room for a bit more optimism.  For the sake of brevity, I will skip some of the more obvious points (they can both learn) and some of the lighter hearted ones (they can both be the source of foul odors), and get to the interesting parts of the comparison. Read More

Higher Learning for Bacteria – 2

Post #2 in this series.  The analogy will begin to take a bit more shape here, and the issues will gain some clarity.

Bacterial learning can be compared to human learning, but I must concede that the mechanisms differ in a few ways.  Although this may weaken the comparison, it certainly highlights the advantages of the bacterial learning method. Read More

Higher Learning for Bacteria – 1

“Drug resistance follows the drug like a faithful shadow.”

              – Paul Ehrlich

Antibiotic resistance.  By now, a lot of people have heard of it – MRSA, or methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, has become something of a celebrity in the bacterial world – but many people find it hard to understand.  After all, how can a single bacterial cell learn to defeat a carefully designed antibiotic?  Over my next few posts (probably 4 in total), I will explain that bacteria are quite capable of learning to defeat antibiotics, and what Ondine is attempting to do to stump them. Read More

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