Entirely distracted by family and Black Friday toys. I have nothing else to offer for today [so far] but this article on Antibiotic Resistance and a suggestion that anti-vaxxers are probably as dangerous as the illnesses vaccinations and antibiotics are designed to fight.
Going to an “Urgent Care” facility? Question their reliance on antibiotics!
❝ Patients seen at urgent care centers for common conditions such as asthma, the flu, and the common cold are more likely to receive antibiotics unnecessarily, compared with patients treated for the same illnesses at other types of health care facilities. In fact, nearly half (46 percent) of patients in urgent care centers who were diagnosed with one of the acute respiratory conditions for which antibiotics are neither recommended nor effective received an antibiotic prescription anyway.
❝ This new information is part of an ongoing collaboration between Pew and CDC to better understand and improve antibiotic prescribing in the U.S., which is key to slowing the spread of antibiotic-resistant superbugs. The findings build on previous research led by Pew and CDC using different data sources, which showed that:
High amounts of unnecessary prescribing persist across various outpatient settings in the U.S. Acute respiratory infections—such as common colds, the flu, and bronchitis—are the main source of inappropriate prescribing in outpatient settings, accounting for the largest proportion of unnecessary use.
❝ Patients with acute respiratory infections often do not receive the recommended treatment.
Ask questions, folks. Learn to say “NO” if you feel the answers aren’t made clear.
I know it’s a battle to find the right doctor – if you can find one who understands the economics of our crappy healthcare system. Unless you’re independently wealthy, of course. My wife and I have been fortunate enough to spend recent years with a young couple of physicians, husband-and-wife, who are well-educated and open-minded. Good for us! Still, there’s always a disaster imminent that requires urgent care. Keep your options open.
600,000 salmon loaded with antibiotics escape into the wild
Chilean fishermen are working…to recover hundreds of thousands of salmon that escaped from a fish farm as environmentalists warned of possible risks if they are eaten by humans…
A storm on July 6 damaged nine enclosures at Marine Harvest’s Punta Redonda Center near the southern city of Calbuco, freeing at least 600,000 salmon into the wild, the company said.
Local fishermen are working with Marine Harvest, one of the world’s largest salmon producers, to recover the salmon and had captured about 30,000 by Thursday, the firm said. Under Chilean law, the company has 30 days to recover the fish.
Some of the salmon had been injected with a course of antibiotics that was incomplete at the time of their escape, making them unfit for human consumption and prompting concern by environmental groups that the fish will make it into the food chain too early.
Don’t worry. Be happy! So says Marine Harvest LLC. They probably plug the location into a stock disclaimer of disaster press release. They are – after all – a global giant operating facilities in 25 countries. Think they’re concerned more about the effects of antibiotic-dosed fish loose in the wild or missing profits from the eventual sale of those salmon for a family meal?
At last, a documented decrease in sales of antibiotics for animals
❝ This week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released new data on the amount of antibiotics sold for use in food animals. It showed that the sale of these drugs declined 14 percent overall from 2015-16, the first decrease since these data were initially reported in 2009. The report also marks the first time that animal drug companies have broken down sales estimates by the major types of food animals—pigs, cows, chickens, and turkeys—setting a baseline for species-specific sales information in the years to come.
❝ The report is an important step toward filling knowledge gaps about antibiotics sold for use in food animals, and it begins to shed light on the different antibiotic use patterns across these species. For example, 80 percent of cephalosporins purchased were estimated to be used in cattle, and among penicillins, 63 percent of antibiotic sales were estimated to be used in turkeys. Understanding which drugs are prescribed primarily in which species can offer insight into antibiotic use patterns in the different animal species, and going forward this information will help identify areas for targeted interventions and prioritized research funding on issues such as nonantibiotic alternatives.
RTFA. A step forward which need not be accompanied by the usual following two steps backwards. Difficult enough in administrations committed to average amounts of sophistry. In the epoch of our Fake President and his daily schedule of lies – even greater rigor is required to defend this positive gain.
The Medical Mystery That Traced Back To Slaughterhouse Profits and Shelf Life
❝ In the 1950s, the U.S. poultry industry began adopting a new process: Acronizing. Ads that ran in women’s magazines pictured crisp-skinned whole chicken that tasted “fresh,” “wholesome” and “country sweet” thanks to a “revolutionary process which helps maintain freshness in perishables” like chicken.
❝ In reality, Acronizing referred to the use of antibiotics. Birds were doused in a diluted solution of antibiotics while they were being butchered. The goal was to keep the meat from spoiling, allowing birds to be sold not just days, but weeks after slaughter.
❝ But as Acronizing became widespread, so too did its misuse. Slaughterhouse workers didn’t always get training on how to use the antibiotics properly, and even those who did sometimes used way more of the drugs in their solutions than the manufacturers called for. That meant some birds might be getting far more antibiotics than could be denatured through the heat of cooking.
As Maryn McKenna writes in her new book, Big Chicken: The Incredible Story of How Antibiotics Created Modern Agriculture and Changed the Way the World Eats…”it was possible that housewives were unwittingly feeding their families tetracycline-laced fish and chicken. And doctors would soon discover that the people responsible for getting those proteins to dinner tables were being exposed to antibiotics in a manner that no one had accounted for.”
RTFA, an excerpt from her book…
GMO cows resistant to tuberculosis — first step to antibiotic-free cattle
❝ Precise gene editing, the stuff of science fiction, has been a reality since 2015. That was when CRISPR-Cas9 came in full force to the scientific field after decades of research. The technology allows scientists to go in and essentially snip and tuck genes from one organism to another to enhance them in some way, and it’s already been done with pigs, fish, mice, and mosquitos, as well as human embryos.
❝ …Scientists from the Northwest A&F University in Shaanxi, China demonstrated they have made healthy baby cows that have been modified to be more resilient against bovine tuberculosis — with no adverse side effects.
…Yong Zhang, a bioinformaticist and the lead author of the paper…and his team meticulously combed through the cow genome and found a place where they thought they may be able to insert another copy of a gene called NRAMP1, which occurs naturally in cows. This gene has been associated with being able to resist infection from bovine TB; by adding a second copy, the researchers thought they could vamp up this resistance.
They used CRISPR-Cas9 technology to insert the extra copy of NRAMP1 into 11 young cow embryos before inserting them back into cows to gestate as usual. After the healthy calves were born, the researchers exposed them to bovine TB. The cattle, who didn’t appear to have any other health consequences as a result of being modified, didn’t get sick, and their immune systems seemed less bothered by the bacteria than cows that hadn’t been altered.
❝ …In North America, farmers don’t give antibiotics to cows with this infection. Instead, they are slaughtered, Reynold Bergen, the science director of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, said in an email. This is because bovine TB spreads really quickly, and often when one cow is diagnosed, the whole herd has to be killed to prevent further infection of people or other animals, and it’s difficult to detect early on.
But if cows don’t get sick to begin with, farmers wouldn’t lose their herds. Additionally, the authors think that similar methods could be used to give cows and other livestock genetic resistance to other bacterial infections, which means that they would not need to take antibiotics, which contributes to the growing problem of infections that are resistant to the treatments we have available for them.
Bravo! Not only a successful result; but, the sort of practical goal which improves health for a couple of species – including us. Sometimes, working towards less medication is realized to be a positive end.
FDA says no more medically important antibiotics for livestock — Finally!
Peter Hermes Furian/Shutterstock
A new rule that aims to safeguard essential antibiotics for humans by limiting their use in food animals is now fully in effect.
Under the Food and Drug Administration policy, antibiotics that have been designated “medically important” — in other words, they’re needed to treat people — cannot legally be given to healthy animals to speed their growth. The policy, three years in the making, required producers of agricultural antibiotics to change labeling on the drugs to make clear they should not be used for so-called growth promotion. All manufacturers agreed to abide by the new rule.
The policy also requires that from now on, food animals can only be given medically important drugs under the supervision of a veterinarian — a move designed to restrict their use to the treatment of animal illnesses.
An FDA report on antibiotic use in food-producing animals released just before Christmas revealed that sales of medically important antibiotics rose by 2 percent in 2015, and that from 2009 to 2015 sales of these drugs to the food animal sector increased by 26 percent. The increased sales in 2015 could be the result of a commensurate rise in food animals produced — but critics of the heavy use of these drugs in agriculture note sales haven’t come down…
Scientists and public health professionals have long warned that the increasing use of antibiotics in the rearing of food animals such as chickens, pigs and cattle, and farmed fish and seafood is fueling a rise in so-called superbugs — bacteria capable of evading the drugs.
That puts at risk procedures that have revolutionized modern medicine. Organ transplants, cardiac bypass surgeries, even safe caesarean section births are an accepted part of medical practice but could become much more dangerous to perform if superbugs continue to proliferate…
As things currently stand, antibiotics can be used to prevent illness, which can also lead to prolonged use. Advocates for more judicious use of antibiotics in agriculture argue that this is growth promotion by another name. They insist disease prevention goals should be achieved through better and more humane production practices that reduce the disease risks associated with factory farming.
And, so, the battle is won; but, not the war. Humane, healthy conditions for livestock are important to the health of consumers in more ways than one. Most reasonable, informed people know this. Politicians and their appointees invoke the ever-present American god of sophistry to pretend otherwise.
UN warns of danger from overuse of antibiotics
❝ The overuse of antibiotics is impacting rural livelihoods and food security, and requires globally coordinated efforts, says the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
The influx of medicines fosters increasing resistance among the very microbes that cause the infections and disease they were designed to quell, threatening to reverse a century of progress in human and animal health, FAO Deputy Director General Helena Semedo warned…
During her speech, she advocated for stricter drug administration regulations along with monitoring initiatives in countries where the risk of antimicrobial resistance is high.
❝ Considering that seven out of every 10 newly discovered human diseases are of animal origin, she called for the establishment of a national surveillance system for antimicrobial resistance to collect data on bacterial resistance to various medicines, as well as surveillance in the animal health and agriculture sectors.
Broad improvements in hygiene, disease prevention, veterinary oversight and accurate and affordable diagnostics, as well as ensuring quality nutrition to improve the overall health of livestock and fish through safe feed and suitable breeds, are critical in reducing the overuse of antibiotics, she said.
Also makes a helluva lot more sense than fattening the wallets of the medical-industrial complex from fattening meat animals with antibiotics.
C-Sections remain a poor substitute for labor — additional reasons from a new study
❝For years, research has shown that babies born by cesarean section are more likely to develop health problems. Now, a groundbreaking study suggests that not all C-sections are equally risky.
The research looked at all full-term, firstborn births in Scotland over a 15-year period and tracked the babies’ long-term health. It is one of the largest and longest studies to explore how planned C-sections differ from other deliveries.
❝Surprisingly, the data showed more health problems among babies born by planned C-section than among those delivered by emergency C-section or vaginal birth, even though the planned surgery is done under more controlled conditions. The finding suggests that the arduous experience of labor — that exhausting, sweaty, utterly unpredictable yet often strangely exhilarating process — may give children a healthy start, even when it’s interrupted by a surgical birth.
❝The new findings…are important because the number of babies born by C-section has increased tremendously. In the United States, nearly one in three babies are born by C-section…
❝Dr. Mairead Black, the University of Aberdeen obstetrician who led the study, said that as cesarean births had increased in Scotland and worldwide, the researchers wondered what, if anything, children born by C-section “are missing out on.”
“Our thinking was: If a baby is born naturally, it comes into contact with bacteria from the mother, which might help with immune system development,” Dr. Black said.
Even attempted labor may provide some exposure to bacteria, she said. But babies delivered by a planned C-section, which is usually scheduled to take place well before the first pang of labor, may miss out entirely…
❝Studies have consistently found that children born by C-section are at higher risk for health problems like obesity and allergies. C-section birth has also been associated with a higher risk for Type 1 diabetes.
The Scottish study took advantage of the small country’s rich trove of linked birth and medical databases to track the long-term health of 321,287 babies. Nearly 4 percent were born by planned C-section and 17 percent were delivered by emergency surgery. The remaining 252,917 were vaginal births.
The researchers compared a range of health outcomes among the babies, including asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, Type 1 diabetes, early death and cancer…
❝No one knows exactly why labor may be protective, but the spontaneous onset of labor prompts fluid to clear from a baby’s lungs, said Dr. Aaron Caughey, who helped draw up 2014 guidelines for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that urged providers to let women spend more time in labor and avoid an unnecessary C-section…
The step is just one of a cascade of physiological changes that take place in mother and baby during the labor process, including surges in stress hormones and reproductive hormones like oxytocin that may help the fetus adapt during labor, preserve blood flow to the organs, and keep the baby alert and prepared for breast-feeding.
❝During labor, a newborn absorbs maternal microbes into its mouth and gastrointestinal tract…The theory is that maternal microbes “train” the infant’s immune system, so it doesn’t overreact or become destructive and precipitate autoimmune disorders like Type 1 diabetes…
❝Dr. Josef Neu said the broad-spectrum antibiotics prescribed to the mother before a surgical delivery were another concern; the antibiotics can be transmitted to the baby through breast milk if not before birth, decreasing the diversity of natural bacteria.
❝Childbirth and labor are “a physiological process that we’ve evolved to over millions of years,” Dr. Caughey said. “It’s been really well-designed by evolution.”
I’ll second that emotion.
Americans eat less meat — Agribusiness still increases use of antibiotics on farms
Peter Hermes Furian/Shutterstock
❝Despite recent efforts by health experts, doctors, and the Food and Drug Administration to pull the meat industry away from its heavy use of antimicrobials, livestock producers seem to have dug in their heels.
From 2009 to 2014, the amount of antimicrobials sold and distributed for use in livestock increased by 22 percent, according to an FDA report released Thursday. Of the antimicrobials sold in 2014, 62 percent were related to drugs used in human health, also called medically important. From 2009 to 2014, sale and distribution of medically important antimicrobials used on farms also jumped—an increase of 23 percent.
That brings the 2014 total of antimicrobials sold for US livestock to 15,358,210 kilograms, including 9,475,989 kilograms of medically important drugs, according to the report.
❝In 2013, researchers estimated that agriculture and aquaculture take in about 80 percent of all antibiotics…sold in the US.
❝The new data comes amid calls for responsible use of antimicrobials and antibiotics—in clinics as well as farms. Last month, the American Academy of Pediatrics called on livestock producers to curb overuse of drugs on farms. Much of the tonnage of drugs go to illness prevention on factory farms rather than treatments for sick animals. And producers sometimes use the drugs because they help animals fatten up. Such overuse, the doctors argued, is fueling the development of antimicrobial resistance among microbes, which in turn can cause difficult-to-treat infections in people, particularly vulnerable children…
❝But the FDA’s guidelines appear to have had little to no impact so far. Sale of animal antimicrobials increased by four percent from 2013 to 2014, while use of medically important antimicrobials increased by three percent, according to the new report.
In a statement, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) said, “This report demonstrates what I have been saying for years: that FDA’s policies have been toothless in the face of the continued, widespread misuse of life-saving antibiotics in factory farms…The increased use of antibiotics over the last year is particularly disgraceful.”
The Congresswoman, a microbiologist by training, called on the FDA to immediately prohibit the use of medically important antimicrobials on farms…
The Animal Health Institute, like their favorite employers in agribusiness, lied and denied on behalf of profiteers who are assured they can get away with stuffing just about anything that increases cheap fast weight in meat on the hoof. Or claw. Or fins.
Guaranteed to encourage the universe to look askance at the animal protein we consume, here’s the report from the FDA.