Best Way to Stop Overprescribing Antibiotics? Public Shaming, Of Course

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about half of outpatient antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary. Most of those unneeded drugs are given to treat viral colds despite the fact that antibiotics only treat bacterial infections—and not even all of those infections require an antibiotic.

Source: Best way to stop overprescribing antibiotics? Public shaming, of course

Like alcohol, antibiotics can be the cause and solution to our problems

Pediatricians: Farm Use of Antibiotics Harms Children

In a new technical report, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) argues that unnecessary use of antibiotics in livestock is fueling drug-resistant, life-threatening infections in humans, particularly young children. The report, published Monday in Pediatrics, recommends limiting the use of antibiotics on farms.

Source: Pediatricians say farm use of antibiotics harms children

There are very definitive studies that show that animals fatten more quickly and to larger final sizes with low level antibiotics. That’s why companies that sell meat and poultry are willing to spend the money on it.  And we’ve seen a similar effect of weight gain on children who take antibiotics

Single Course of Antibiotics Can Mess Up The Gut Microbiome for a Year

In a battle against an infection, antibiotics can bring victory over enemy germs. Yet that war-winning aid can come with significant collateral damage; microbial allies and innocents are killed off, too. Such casualties may be unavoidable in some cases, but a lot of people take antibiotics when they’re not necessary or appropriate. And the toll of antibiotics on a healthy microbiome can, in some places, be serious, a new study suggests.

Source: Single course of antibiotics can mess up the gut microbiome for a year

Taking antibiotics to overcome a cold or diarrhea is horrific. Antibiotics should only be undertaken under physician prescription and for a full course treatment for serious illnesses. Any other use is wasteful and contributes to resistant bacteria and damage to the gut bacteria, as seen here.

I wonder if taking probiotics or eating yogurt or other live cultures during and after the course of antibiotics will help significantly speed up the recovery of gut bacteria microbiome, or whether the composition will stay different for up to a year afterwards.

Children Who Take Antibiotics Gain Weight Faster Than Kids Who Don’t

Kids who receive antibiotics throughout the course of their childhoods gain weight significantly faster than those who do not, according to new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research.

The findings, published online Oct. 21 in the International Journal of Obesity, suggest that antibiotics may have a compounding effect throughout childhood on body mass index (BMI), a measure often used to determine whether someone is at a healthy weight.

…Scientists working with penicillin learned early on that its byproducts caused weight gain in animals. This led to the modern industrial farming techniques of including small quantities of antibiotics in daily animal feed to fatten up the animals in an accelerated time frame. So a connection with weight gain does make biological sense, Schwartz says.

Source: Children Who Take Antibiotics Gain Weight Faster Than Kids Who Don’t

Cattle are given monensin sodium under the trade name Rumensin in order to prevent coccidiosis, a condition causing incomplete digestion whose source is a parasitic protozoan in the animal’s digestive tract. Antibiotic treatmment increases the animal’s muscle mass whereas this study is alleging that it simply makes humans fat.  However, rodents raised in a sterile environment and lacking in gut flora need to eat 30% more calories just to remain the same weight as their normal counterparts.

The microbiome composition is known to influence the uptake of nutrients, so it is a good hypothesis that antibiotics are influencing the composition of human gut flora, and in turn, leading to a change in nutrient absorption.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give kids antibiotics, it just means that they should prescribe probiotics for consumption after the treatment is done. If a kid has strep or an ear infection, waiting it out like you would a virus is dangerous. Pro-, and perhaps more importantly, pre-biotics should be taken during treatment.

Eat Everything Piping Hot to Avoid Traveler’s Diarrhea

If you’re visiting a place this summer with less than ideal sewage disposal — maybe a resort in Mexico or a village in Rajasthan — chances are your GI tract will give you trouble at least once … maybe twice … maybe continuously.

There are just about as many misconceptions and myths about traveler’s diarrhea as there are names for it. So we’re here to try to set the record straight — or at least discuss what’s known and not known.

Source: Can You Protect Your Tummy From Traveler’s Diarrhea?

Could have used this earlier in the season…

We Used to Recycle Drugs From Patients’ Urine

When penicillin was first used medically, in 1940, it was a time of austerity. While Alexander Fleming first discovered penicillin in 1928, his world-changing observations had garnered hardly any notice, and it wasn’t until 1938 that another team of researchers finally began to isolate and test the active chemical ingredients in the world’s first antibiotic. By that time, World War II was raging, and medical manufacturing capacity that could be devoted to experimental treatments was in short supply.

Producing usable penicillin from Penicillium notatum mold was no easy feat, says PBS: “In spite of efforts to increase the yield from the mold cultures, it took 2,000 liters of mold culture fluid to obtain enough pure penicillin to treat a single case of sepsis in a person.”

Pencilin production couldn’t happen nearly fast enough to match rising demand. To make up the shortfall, writes Rebecca Kreston for her Body Horrors blog at Discover Magazine, researchers came up with a novel way to get the penicillin they needed: extracting and isolating it from patients’ urine.

Source: We Used to Recycle Drugs From Patients’ Urine

40 – 99 % of the penicillin antibiotic is excreted in urine in its fully functional form about 4 hours after administration thanks to our kidneys!   But doesn’t that mean that the dose was too high?
…But even today, some portion of the active ingredient from many drugs passes through our bodies unchanged. Instead of isolating and recycling them, though, we send them down the toilet and out into the world.
That part is why I sourced the Smithsonian article rather than the Discover one.  While our ability to synthesize antibiotics has greatly improved, the impact to our water supply is rather scary.

Can E. Coli in Supermarket Meat Cause UTIs?

The research has not been peer reviewed.

After testing more than 1,200 samples from Flagstaff-area infections, Price says he’s genetically linked more than 100 of them to supermarket meats. A quarter of those were resistant to several antibiotics.

Source: Can E. Coli in Supermarket Meat Cause UTIs?