Imagine a not-too-distant future where the survival of mankind hangs in the balance because modern medicine's frontline defenders -- antibiotics -- are being outsmarted by deadly microscopic enemies. I'm talking about the emergence of so-called "superbugs." They're real, they exist, and if you eat non-organic chicken, then you're all the more at risk.
At first glance, obesity may appear to be an easy problem to resolve. After all, most people may believe the answer lies in eating fewer calories and exercising more. While these are definitely helpful, obesity is an incredibly complex issue, and involves a number of factors ranging from genetics to socioeconomic status. So can antibiotics help?
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.
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.
If you are one of the over 6 million Canadians suffering from irregular heartburn or stomach ulcers, you're probably familiar with proton pump inhibitors, or PPI. But new research suggests a non-trivial link between these commonly-prescribed heartburn medications and increased risk of infection, all because of one specific stomach bacteirum. Let's investigate.
Despite all the technology in academic and pharmaceutical institutions, nothing can stop a microbe from figuring out how to best an antibiotic. As such, the mood is sombre at best and apocalyptic at worst. Instead of trying to develop yet another complex mousetrap, the answer lies in looking at weapons of mass microbial destruction already in use in the wild.
For those studying this unique branch of terrestrial life, the identification of resistance genes in the environment suggested there had to be antimicrobials out there. If this was the case, the Archaea were going to play a role. The only question they couldn't answer was the nature of this role. This past week, a team of researchers from Vanderbilt University may have provided the answer: Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT).
Antibiotics were the first and still are the go-to means of microbial distraction. However, in light of the continuing rise of antibiotic resistance, their usefulness is limited and we need to explore other options. One such ally is a living organism known to have just as much of a hatred for infectious bacteria: the bacteriophage.
The U.S. FDA just convinced 25 drug companies to stop producing antibiotics for animals that are used in human medicine. Many believe Canada should follow suit. Clearly, it is humane to treat sick animals, but harm can come to humans if animal antibiotic use develops drug-resistant bugs that subsequently infect humans.
The results suggested bacteria are continually in communication with one another. When times get dire, they attempt to find anyone who might have resistance and be willing to pass it on. Once there is a yes, a crowd appears, all hoping for the same gift. Once they get it, they head off to do the same.
A new study out this week suggests that a third environment could become the next hotbed for antibiotic resistance. This one, however, may take the world by shock and signal that the end for antibiotics is indeed nigh. That resistance contributing environment is you, the human; specifically, your gut.
Fecal therapy is here to stay. With the number of options to treat acute and chronic gastrointestinal disorders shrinking, a means to not only treat but also cure cannot be disregarded. People may never get used to the smell of fecal microbiota therapy, but I know they'll definitely get used to the benefits. Let's rePOOPulate.