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9 eye-opening facts about antibiotic resistance

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https://ideas.ted.com/9-fascinating-facts-about-antibiotic-resistance-and-1-hopeful-approach-to-overcoming-it/

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9 eye-opening facts about antibiotic resistance
Learn more about antibiotics and antibiotic resistance in bacteria and what Jim Collins and his MIT team are doing to identify new drugs.

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Antibiotic resistance

Antibiotic resistance

Antibiotics may lose their ability to treat bacterial infections.

Scientists have been warning us about the alarming rise in drug-resistant bacteria, but it can be curbed.

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Penicillin

  • Penicillin was the first widely-used antibiotic. It was discovered in 1928 by Alexander Fleming, a bacteriologist.
  • He noticed that the staph cells he'd been studying in a petr...

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Existing antibiotics found in the dirt

  • An agriculture student-turned-microbiologist, Selman Waksman, tested 10,000 soil samples over the years.
  • In 1943, he identified streptomycin, a broad-spectrum antibiotic effective...

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Discovery slowed while bacteria are growing resistant

Over the last 40 years, few new antibiotics were discovered. At the same time, bacteria are developing antibiotic resistance, where antibiotics are less able to damage the cells of bacteria.

...

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Superbugs

Antibiotics work by attacking a bacteria cell. If the bacteria are not killed, the cell will fight for survival. The use of an antibiotic then increases the possibility of ...

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Antibiotics are overprescribed

According to the US Center for Disease Control, 30 percent of antibiotic prescriptions in the US are unnecessary.

Knowing that bacteria can build resistance, the best solut...

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Antibiotic use in livestock and antibacterial soaps

In the US, 70 percent of all antibiotics sold are used to fight off infections in livestock and increase their growth. Antibiotics are used in the farming of fish, shrimp, and fruits like apples, p...

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Antibiotic-resistant diseases keep rising

A 2019 report from the World Health Organization pointed out that at least 700,000 people are dying of drug-resistant diseases each year.

The number could rise to 10 million annual...

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A promising antibiotic

Artificial intelligence has helped to find the first new broad-spectrum antibiotic, named Halicin.

Halicin kills E.coli, M. tuberculosis, and others, and is effective against the antibi...

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We can each do our part in avoiding antibiotic resistance

Next time you're sick, double-check with your doctor to ensure an antibiotic is necessary. If it is, follow the prescription instructions to kill the bacteria and prevent mutat...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Antivitamins

Antivitamins
  • As we are moving past the antibiotic era due to rapid bacterial resistance, we need a new class of drugs to treat bacterial infections.
  • Antivitamins aren’t as well known a...

Bacterial Cell Killers

Antivitamins are produced naturally as a way for a bacterial cell to kill another bacterial cell. The complex and important procedure is done in a seemingly hidden and mysterious way, with just one atom interrupting a complex chain of protons.

New research indicates that there is no harm to humans, and antivitamins can be configured to target pathogens without any side effects.

Western vs. Mediterranean diet

Western vs. Mediterranean diet

Western diet, typically high in animal fat and protein and low in fibre, increases the risk of cancer. The Mediterranean diet is high in fibre and low in red meat and has be...

Probiotics

There has been a lot of hype around the health benefits of prebiotics and probiotics in recent years, but while they're increasingly used in treatments including inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, several reviews suggest there needs to be further research on which strains and dosages are effective. Recent studies have found some people are even immune to probiotics.

Gut microbiota

Gut microbiota has a major role to play in the health and function of the GI tract, with evidence that conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) often coincide with altered microbiota. But it also plays a much wider role in our health, and this is largely determined in the first few years of life.

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Too Much Of A Good Thing

Too Much Of A Good Thing

Good and effective things are helpful at one level but when taken too far, can be destructive.

In 1946, Sir Alexander Fleming, a renowned microbiologist, stated that antibiotics (like p...

Taking The Opposite View

  • In the field of investing, Contrarians take the opposite view, akin to cynicism, and think of the collective mainstream view as a kind of mass delusion.
  • Occasionally, a contrary view is welcome, but if it is done every time, then the good times when one has to simply ride the wave are missed, leading to bitterness.

Balancing Optimism

  • A positive attitude has the power to change our thinking and facilitate good things in our lives. Optimism surely beats pessimism as a worldview, when one has to pick a side.
  • Too much optimism turns into a delusion and eventually complacency. One starts getting out of touch with reality and lives in the mode of denial.

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Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day

Everyone has a different requirement for water. Temperature, humidity, size, age, gender and activity have an influence on your fluid needs.

Instead, drink when you are thirsty.

Eggs Harm Your Heart

Eggs have a lot of cholesterol compared to other foods. Although cholesterol in the blood is strongly related to heart disease, eating cholesterol is weakly associated with raising the cholesterol levels in your blood.

Eggs have other heart-protecting properties and eating it probably won't harm your heart.

Cancer or Alzheimer’s From Antiperspirant

  • A chain email in the 1990s was responsible for the false belief that antiperspirant was raising the risk of breast cancer. 
  • When researchers found higher ratios of aluminum in the brains of Alzheimer's patients, aluminum in antiperspirant was suspect. But it seems aluminum in antiperspirant is hardly absorbed by your skin.

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Microbes

Research found the following difference in stomach microbes of different individuals:

  • Intestinal microbes of people living in villages, having a natural diet, are much more complex, and ...

Wrong Baseline Data

Due to the new kinds of microbes discovered in villagers, all the previous research on diet and microbes, which used the baseline data of the Western civilization microbe, thought to be the healthy and normal microbe, is now incorrect. 

Digesting Fibre

The Western world has stomach microbial communities that could digest junk food and might re-diversify and recover (to a limited extent) if we just ate more whole grains and veggies.

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Overuse of antibiotics

Overuse of antibiotics

Our gut ecosystem is becoming infertile for a multitude of reasons. Overuse fattening up farmed animals, C-sections (in which the baby fails to get a wash of microbes), and our own misuse of antibi...

Brain Efficiency

Our brain weighs just 2% of our body weight, yet consumes 20% of our energy requirements. Even when not active, it will burn roughly 400 calories every day.

The most efficient brains burn the least calories. Efficient brains can save a task quickly and then go into a kind of standby mode.

Balancing Act

Our vestibular system is responsible for balance. A gel is located inside our ears and tells our brain if we are going right or left.

When we spin in a circle, the gel keeps moving when we stop, resulting in disorientation. When the loss of balance is severe, the brain interprets it as poisoning. That is why the loss of balance can result in nausea.

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The placebo effect

The placebo effect

The placebo effect happens when a person takes medication that he thinks will help, but the medication has not been proven to be effective for the specific condition.

The subject-expectancy effect

When people know what the result of taking a pill is supposed to be, they might unconsciously change their reaction to cause that result or report that result has taken place even if it hasn't.

However, studies show that a placebo doesn't trick the brain - the brain reacts differently to a drug than a placebo. A 2004 study showed that the expectation of pain relief causes the brain's relief system to activate.

Placebos in research

Placebos are often used in clinical drug trials to determine how well a potential medicine will work.

  • There are two different groups of subjects in a placebo-controlled trial - one receives the experimental drug and the other the placebo. Neither researchers nor subjects know which group is receiving the real drug or the placebo.
  • Some researchers are questioning the placebo-controlled trial. Not everyone thinks a drug is ineffective if the placebo performs better.
  • Other critics of the placebo-controlled trial state it's wrong to attribute all positive outcomes to the placebo because many illnesses can resolve without any treatment.
  • When a patient takes a placebo and experiences adverse side effects, it's called a nocebo effect. Patients taking active drugs have also been known to have side effects that can't be directly attributed to the drug.

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Our immune system

The immune system does an outstanding job most of the time. To provide such excellent protection against bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi, our immune system must continuously learn.

Innate immunity

Innate immunity cells quickly respond to invaders and can deal with over 90% of infections.
These cells recognize invaders by looking for broadly shared patterns, such as common molecules on the surface of most bacteria.

Adaptive immunity

When the innate response fails to deal with an invasion, the adaptive immunity takes over. The adaptive cell looks for a specific pattern. It could be a particular protein on the surface of a virus or bacteria.

There are millions of adaptive immune cells, each to recognize a different pattern. When they recognize an invader, they multiply to form an army to kill it. This process can take a week when a new invader infects us. After the invader is removed, the adaptive cells that recognized it are kept as specialized memory cells.

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The mask

The mask - a flimsy polymer cup - fits tightly around the face and is capable of filtering 95% of airborne particles, such as viruses, from the air.

The firsts masks were ...

Surgical masks

Doctors started wearing the first surgical masks in 1897. The masks were not designed to prevent airborne disease - that is still not the case today - but to prevent doctors from coughing or sneezing droplets onto wounds during surgery.

The first modern respirator

During 1920, a plague broke out between a shared jurisdiction of China and Russia. The Chinese Imperial Court brought in a young doctor named Lien-teh Wu that determined that the plague was not spread by fleas but through the air. He expanded upon the surgery masks he'd seen in the West, and made it from gauze and cotton and added several layers of cloth to filter inhalations.

When the Spanish flu arrived in 1918, the mask was well-known among scientists and the public.

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Organic junk food is still junk food

Organic junk food is still junk food

From a macronutrient perspective, organic junk foods are often identical to their conventional counterparts. 

They tend to be equally high in sugar and low in pro...

Organic isn't always healthy

Many organic brands tend to cater to a health-conscious crowd, meaning they’ll often use less processing or healthier ingredients to appeal to their consumers. But the organic label alone does not guarantee this.

The “health halo” effect

It refers to a scientifically researched phenomenon in which certain claims, such as “low fat” or “made with organic ingredients” can lead us to assume a food is healthier or lower in calories. 

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