Since bacteria, such as those that cause gonorrhea or gastrointestinal infections, are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics, scientists are searching for outside-the-box ideas to tackle the problem. They may have found in one in bacteriophage: viruses that exclusively infect and kill bacteria.
How often do you hear of someone using their spouse's antibiotic from a prior illness? Or, dispensing an Ambien to a colleague or friend? For those practicing medicine without a license in person, or through social media crowdsourcing, the harms can be considerable.
The bacterial symbionts living in our gut, the microbiome, is subject to the evolutionary pressures our body – and by extension our diet, activity, and geography – create. Nature provides good examples of both change and resilience. Can we learn from those examples?
When business models drive medical systems, low-value care ensues. The concern is compounded by the tremendous growth in urgent-care and retail clinics. These facilities are now contributing to 40 percent of outpatient antibiotic prescriptions.
A team of researchers wants patients to shorten their antibiotic course. This suggestion is problematic, and possibly dangerous, both to individuals and the larger battle against antibiotic resistance. And it goes against the recommendations of many organizations.
It's no secret that carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), a nightmare infection, is spreading. There are now about 200 cases identified in the United States. But most people don't know how scientists determine whether a bug is resistant to a given antibiotic or not. It's really pretty simple, so here's a quick primer.
Here are the final four exciting developments in science, health and technology of 2017. And, a prediction for what innovation could be truly disruptive in the future.
The "all-natural" food craze has extended to pets, with some companies making raw meat products for dogs and cats. Recent research makes us question the wisdom of such a practice, since some raw cat foods are contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. That, of course, could spread to pet owners.
Proper use of antibiotics in animals, just like in humans, can slow bacterial resistance. Europe leads the way in cutting antibiotic use. Meanwhile, the United States lags behind.
Bacteria that are resistant to one, multiple or even all known antibiotics – commonly known as superbugs – are a leading concern in the medical and scientific communities. With traditional methods of combating infections not working alternative ways are required, starting with rethinking the instruments used in hospitals.
For decades, only three mechanisms for spreading DNA (such as antibiotic resistance genes) from one bacterium to another were known. Now researchers have characterized a fourth, adding a new wrinkle in our war on bacteria and a new page to microbiology textbooks.
Telling the difference between a viral and bacterial infection isn't always easy. Physicians end up guessing, which results in prescriptions being given for unnecessary antibiotics. A group is working on a new tool that could take the guesswork out of this important issue.