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A need exists for rapid change in the social mindset of the next generation on antibiotics. If our youth do not appreciate the challenges facing public health officials today, they may end up living under the shadow of untreatable bacterial infections known as the post-antibiotic era.
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Over the last few years, the human body's microbial population has been the subject of numerous discussions and controversies. But few topics have sparked as much interest as the concept of fecal microbiota transplantation, or FMT. This rather easy procedure has become a lightning rod for debates ranging from its effectiveness to ethical issues regarding donations.
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We are facing an antibiotic resistance crisis. Almost every health authority has sounded the alarm and the most recognized authority, the World Health Organization, is doing all it can to slow the arrival of the post-antibiotic era. Yet, even as these calls are made, the use of these drugs continues to be unacceptably high.
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At its core, antibiotic resistance is merely a coping mechanism. Bacteria are faced with a rather dire form of stress and need to find a way to cope. They can take the biological route of genetic mutation to render the drug useless. They also can gain a plasmid from the environment or another bacterium, to gain resistance mechanisms.
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"We have put substantial efforts to stop its rise, but this is not enough."
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Though infections can affect almost any area of the body, on average, about half of the troubles are gastrointestinal, usually in the form of traveller's diarrhea. While this condition usually is not life-threatening, the symptoms certainly can ruin a vacation. Thankfully, most of these troubles are caused by bacteria and can be treated with a simple antibiotic prescription. Within a few days, the pain and those runs fade away allowing individuals to continue enjoying their trip.
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Lice are an unfortunate part of human existence. These small ectoparasites find their way into the hair and then make a home where they can eat, grow, and reproduce. They are common worldwide and as any parent knows, symptoms are frustrating and treatment is arduous and at times ineffective.
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The concept of tolerance isn't relevant only in the microbial world. All biological life has the ability to tolerate, including humans. A perfect example of this phenomenon occurs in those able to eat hot, spicy foods. You might think they are simply born with stronger tongues. But that isn't the case. Instead, in most cases, a biochemical modification has occurred in one of the proteins found on the tongue.
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It's no secret we are in an antibiotic resistance crisis. Warnings about the looming post-antibiotic era are everywhere and people are being asked to help in whatever way they can. Yet, while we can all work to reduce the amount of antibiotics used in medicine, these achievements represent only a small fraction of the work that needs to be done.
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The mere mention of nanotechnology may raise eyebrows. Yet worries should not be based on size but molecular composition instead. If a particle is made from plastic or heavy metals, concern is definitely valid. However, polylactic acid nanoparticles are biodegradable, making them perfect for use both in the environment and also in the body.
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A few months ago, the discovery of the antibiotic resistance gene mcr-1 sent shockwaves through the public and the health communities. This piece of bacterial DNA, also known as plasmid-mediated colistin resistance, revealed bacteria had developed a mechanism to tolerate yet another antibiotic.
A Finnish group of researchers released the results of a three-year study examining the effects of long-term probiotic use on antibiotics and children's health. The results suggest probiotics may offer far more than a means to prevent AAD and C. difficile. They may actually help to reduce the need for antibiotics in the future.
It's been nearly two years since the World Health Organization called the rise in antibiotic resistance a crisis. Since that time, public health officials have sought new answers to prepare for an uncertain future. While the idea of making new and stronger antibiotics continues to explored, its popularity has faded.
For many Canadians, no turkey dinner is complete without the addition of cranberry sauce. The tartness from the red berries offers a perfect complement to the rich meal. But beyond these special moments, cranberries have long been thought to be an excellent way to improve health, particularly in the urinary tract.