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Ed Cara Ed Cara Dec 12, 2019. 12 comments

Sick Americans Are Desperate Enough to Buy Fish Antibiotics

Sick Americans Are Desperate Enough to Buy Fish Antibiotics

In today’s “the U.S. healthcare system is utterly broken” news, a study has found evidence that some people are buying fish antibiotics online to use on themselves—presumably because they’re cheaper than visiting the doctor to get a proper prescription.

Researchers from the University of South Carolina examined online reviews from 24 websites selling nine kinds of fish antibiotics. Out of the...

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Ed Cara Ed Cara Nov 20, 2019. 17 comments

It's Time to Kick Big Pharma Out of Antibiotics Research, Scientists Argue

It's Time to Kick Big Pharma Out of Antibiotics Research, Scientists Argue

In the wake of recent reports showing that antibiotic-resistant superbugs are on the rise, some scientists in the UK are pushing for a fix that might seem radical. They argue that the research and development of new antibiotics should be taken out of the pharmaceutical industry’s hands and publicly funded on a global scale.

The premise of their argument, which is described in an op-ed...

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Ed Cara Ed Cara Oct 23, 2019. 5 comments

The Bacteria That Cause Stomach Ulcers Are Becoming Drug-Resistant, Too

The Bacteria That Cause Stomach Ulcers Are Becoming Drug-Resistant, Too

A common bacterial infection that causes stomach ulcers and cancer has gotten increasingly harder to fend off, according to new preliminary research out this week. In Europe, it suggests, strains of the bacteria Helicobacter pylori have become more resistant to the first-line drugs used to kill it over the past 20 years, with resistance rates doubling for at least one antibiotic.

H. pylori...

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George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jun 25, 2019. 5 comments

Even the Flies Inside Hospitals Carry Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Even the Flies Inside Hospitals Carry Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Upwards of 90 percent of insects found in British hospitals carry potentially harmful bacteria, according to new research. Alarmingly, a significant portion of this bacteria is resistant to one or more antibiotics, highlighting a previously under-appreciated health risk—though the researchers caution that chances of infection are low.

New research published last week in the Journal of Medical...

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George Dvorsky George Dvorsky May 23, 2019. 8 comments

Medicinal Plants Used During the U.S. Civil War Are Surprisingly Good at Fighting Bacteria

Medicinal Plants Used During the U.S. Civil War Are Surprisingly Good at Fighting Bacteria

With conventional medicines in short supply during the Civil War, the Confederacy turned to plant-based alternatives in desperation. New research suggests some of these remedies were actually quite good at fighting off infections—a finding that could lead to effective new drugs.

Three plant-based topical remedies listed in a Confederate Civil War field guide have antiseptic qualities,...

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Ed Cara Ed Cara Dec 08, 2018. 12 comments

Childhood Antibiotics Could Raise Risk of Mental Illness, Study Finds

Childhood Antibiotics Could Raise Risk of Mental Illness, Study Finds

For all the good that antibiotics do, relying on them too much can have pretty drastic drawbacks. In particular, their overuse can help create bacterial superbugs resistant to future antibiotics. But a new study published this week in JAMA Psychiatry suggests there’s another, more subtle consequence of antibiotic use, at least in young people: a higher risk of developing serious mental...

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Ed Cara Ed Cara Mar 28, 2018. 6 comments

An Experimental Superbug Killer Is a Tiny Step Closer to Saving Us From the Antibiotic Apocalypse

An Experimental Superbug Killer Is a Tiny Step Closer to Saving Us From the Antibiotic Apocalypse

A class of antibiotics heralded as an essential future weapon against drug-resistant superbugs passed an important test. There’s now evidence that they can be used to treat serious infections in live animals (in vivo) without being toxic.

Researchers created simplified, synthetic versions of teixobactin, a protein produced by certain dirt-loving bacteria that was first discovered in 2015....

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Ed Cara Ed Cara Mar 08, 2018. 9 comments

Poo Germs, Not Sharks, Make Swimming in the Ocean So Treacherous

Poo Germs, Not Sharks, Make Swimming in the Ocean So Treacherous

It’s polluted, germ-filled sludge, not sharks, that will make going to the beach more dangerous than just staying home this summer—at least according to a cleverly titled review published this week in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

Researchers looked at 40 past studies that examined whether people who regularly swam in seawater experienced any increased risk of becoming ill. They...

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Sarah Zhang Sarah Zhang Mar 01, 2018. 18 comments

McDonald's Chickens Going Antibiotic Free Is a Really Big Deal 

McDonald's Chickens Going Antibiotic Free Is a Really Big Deal 

McDonald's announced today it will begin only sourcing chickens raised without medically important antibiotics in the U.S. When a juggernaut like McDonald's makes such decisions, the food world listens—and sourcing only antibiotic-free chicken is a big deal.

For decades, poultry farmers have routinely used low doses of antibiotics to help chickens gain weight. The antibiotics are often the...

18 Comments

Sarah Zhang Sarah Zhang Sep 17, 2017. 13 comments

We Found a New Antibiotic, And Better Yet, a New Way to Find Antibiotics

We Found a New Antibiotic, And Better Yet, a New Way to Find Antibiotics

Amidst the onslaught of bad news about antibiotic resistance, here is something good: Scientists have found a new class of antibiotics in soil bacteria, one whose mechanism could make it particularly resistant to resistance. More significant than this single new antibiotic, though, is how scientists found it.

In the good old days of the early and mid-20th century, discoveries of new...

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George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Sep 16, 2017. 17 comments

Alarming Study Indicates Why Certain Bacteria Are More Resistant to Drugs in Space

Alarming Study Indicates Why Certain Bacteria Are More Resistant to Drugs in Space

To learn more about why some germs seem harder to kill in near-weightless conditions , scientists aboard the ISS recently doused a batch of bacteria with antibiotics—an experiment which resulted in a series of startling physical changes that may be helping the bacteria to survive and thrive in space.

Whether we like it or not, bacteria are going to be our partners as we venture out into...

17 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Sep 05, 2017. 15 comments

Antibiotic Resistance Could Spark Devastating Outbreaks

Antibiotic Resistance Could Spark Devastating Outbreaks

The UK's National Risk Register for Civil Emergencies is warning that a widespread outbreak of an antibiotic-resistant blood infection could affect upwards of 200,000 Britons, resulting in the deaths of around 80,000. It's a dire warning at the dawn of the post-antibiotic era.

Here's what the NRR's report had to say on the topic:

The numbers of infections complicated by [antimicrobial...

15 Comments

Maddie Stone Maddie Stone Sep 05, 2017. 7 comments

Chlorine Treatment Can Accelerate Antibiotic Resistance, Study Says

Chlorine Treatment Can Accelerate Antibiotic Resistance, Study Says

As anyone who's ever owned a pet fish or gone to a public swimming pool knows, chlorine is commonly used to disinfect water. Ironically, when it comes to sewage treatment, it may be doing just the opposite.

At wastewater treatment plants, chlorine is used to eliminate both harmful bacteria and pharmaceutical residues, including antibiotics. But research presented today at the annual...

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Maddie Stone Maddie Stone Aug 19, 2017. 10 comments

This Technology Can Prevent a Superbug Apocalypse

This Technology Can Prevent a Superbug Apocalypse

Nearly a century after scientists dug up penicillin, researchers are turning once more to the soil for new pharmaceuticals. But this time, they have tiny, powerful technologies on their side. Here’s how scientists are unlocking the secrets of soil microbes and discovering the next generation of medicine.

Soil is the most biodiverse habitat on the planet, containing upwards of 10 billion...

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Maddie Stone Maddie Stone Aug 18, 2017. 10 comments

Scientists are Brewing Medieval Potions to Fight Hospital Superbugs

Scientists are Brewing Medieval Potions to Fight Hospital Superbugs

Last month, a microbiology lab in Nottingham, England made international headlines when it unearthed a substance that kills methicillin-resistant staph, one of the deadliest superbugs of modern times. The most astounding part about the find? It was a 1,000-year-old Viking potion.

“This is something we never, ever expected,” said Christina Lee, the Viking scholar at the University of Nottingham...

10 Comments

Rose Eveleth Rose Eveleth Aug 18, 2017. 17 comments

Meanwhile in the Future: When Antibiotics Stop Working

Meanwhile in the Future: When Antibiotics Stop Working

This week’s episode of Meanwhile in the Future gets very scary, very quickly. And we’re not going all that far into the future, either. We’re already starting to see the beginnings of an age without antibiotics. So what does a world without these drugs look like? Listen to find out.

Over the past 85 years, antibiotics have been miracle drugs. They’ve kept infections at bay and opened up a...

17 Comments

Maddie Stone Maddie Stone Aug 18, 2017. 11 comments

Resistance to 'Last Resort' Antibiotic Discovered in Denmark

Resistance to 'Last Resort' Antibiotic Discovered in Denmark

Last month, researchers at South China Agricultural University in Guangzhouinmade an alarming discovery : a gene that causes bacteria to become resistant to colistin, a so-called “last resort” antibiotic. Now, New Scientist reports that the resistance gene MCR-1 has been found half a world away in Denmark—and a global hunt for more cases is on.

We’ve heard a lot about antibiotic resistance...

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George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Aug 18, 2017. 6 comments

Microbes That Cause UTIs Use Hooks to Hold On While We Pee 

Microbes That Cause UTIs Use Hooks to Hold On While We Pee 

Urinary tract infections are typically caused by a bacterium that somehow manages to creep its way into the bladder, despite the intense pressures exerted by urination. It turns out these microbes use hooks to cling on in desperation while we pee.

As anyone who has ever had a UTI knows, such infections are supremely uncomfortable. They are caused by the intestinal bacterium Escherichia coli,...

6 Comments

Casey Chan Casey Chan Aug 18, 2017. 5 comments

Smart Video Reveals How Antibiotics May Have Created a Dangerous Apocalyptic Scenario

Smart Video Reveals How Antibiotics May Have Created a Dangerous Apocalyptic Scenario

Kurzgesagt details the “antibiotic apocalypse” in their latest video and it’s a doozy. Basically, our willy nilly use of antibiotics to treat illness and our irresponsible antibiotic use in animals have created bacteria that have become superbugs that are now immune to those antibiotics and could lead to a pandemic. Luckily, it’s not all bad! As bacteria evolves, we get smarter too. So it’s a...

5 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Aug 18, 2017. 12 comments

The Gunk Inside Our Noses Is Being Used to Produce the Next Great Antibiotic

The Gunk Inside Our Noses Is Being Used to Produce the Next Great Antibiotic

Scientists have discovered a microbe in the human nose that produces an antibiotic lethal to the MRSA superbug, among others. The discovery could lead to powerful new therapies to treat problematic bacterial infections, while also demonstrating the potential for the human body to produce bug-killing compounds.

As we inch closer and closer to the antibiotic apocalypse , researchers are hunting...

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