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A thoughtful article on the use and abuse of antibiotics

ImageEarlier today, I found this well written article on the era of antibiotics by Maryn McKenna (Published November 20, 2013). While I’m not sure I agree with everything in it – and have been spending time tracking down some publications to support or refute some data cited here (particularly in regards to the use of antibiotics in agricultural animals), the  summary of how antibiotics were first discovered and used and how researchers including Flemming feared an end of antibiotic usefulness, paints a vivid portrait of the problem at hand.

While we might typically think of antibiotics as being prescribed in a clinic following a positive test for strep throat or some other bacterial infection, that is just one example of their use. One element of this paper that I found particularly insightful was how easily overlooked are the myriad uses of antibiotics in situations such as surgical procedures or following chemo- / radiation therapy.

 British health economists … recently calculated the costs of antibiotic resistance. To examine how it would affect surgery, they picked hip replacements, a common procedure in once-athletic Baby Boomers. They estimated that without antibiotics, one out of every six recipients of new hip joints would die.

Let me know what you think.

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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What insects tell us about what it is to be human

I just listened to an excellent short talk from Marlene Zuk, a professor at UC Riverside, on how insects can teach us something about ourselves. I was hoping to post a link of that talk here, but then realized that it was from AAAS (the science society) and required paid access to view. Nevertheless, she does have a new book called Sex on Six legs that you can check out on Amazon.

She discusses how many behaviors that we identify with as being distinctly human can also be found in the insect world.

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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