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The Fat Drug

IF you walk into a farm-supply store today, you’re likely to find a bag of antibiotic powder that claims to boost the growth of poultry and livestock. That’s because decades of agricultural research has shown that antibiotics seem to flip a switch in young animals’ bodies, helping them pack on pounds. Manufacturers brag about the miraculous effects of feeding antibiotics to chicks and nursing calves. Dusty agricultural journals attest to the ways in which the drugs can act like a kind of superfood to produce cheap meat. But what if that meat is us?
posted by brenton on Mar 13, 2014 - 71 comments

 

Imagining the Post-Antibiotics Future

Five years after my great-uncle’s death, penicillin changed medicine forever. Infections that had been death sentences—from battlefield wounds, industrial accidents, childbirth—suddenly could be cured in a few days. So when I first read the story of his death, it lit up for me what life must have been like before antibiotics started saving us. -- Lately, though, I read it differently. In Joe’s story, I see what life might become if we did not have antibiotics any more.
posted by Potomac Avenue on Nov 26, 2013 - 103 comments

Dr. Arjun Srinivasan: We’ve Reached “The End of Antibiotics, Period”

For a long time, there have been newspaper stories and covers of magazines that talked about “The end of antibiotics, question mark?” Well, now I would say you can change the title to “The end of antibiotics, period.
posted by Memo on Oct 24, 2013 - 82 comments

For Safer Food, Just Add Viruses

In March 2012, inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture uncovered a problem in Elgin, Texas. Beef sausage from a small family-run meat processor appeared to have been contaminated with a nasty bacterium called Listeria monocytogenes. The bug can make people sick and, in rare cases, be deadly. The processor had to recall more than a ton of sausage. It’s the kind of story that strikes terror in the hearts of other sausage peddlers, including Mike Satzow, so he uses phages to keep his small company's sausages safe to eat.
posted by Blasdelb on Oct 1, 2013 - 58 comments

C-dif, gonnorhea, and life-threatening diarrhea are making a comeback

"Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections. Many more people die from other conditions that were complicated by an antibiotic-resistant infection." This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Antibiotic resistance threats in the United States, 2013, a first-ever snapshot of the burden and threats posed by the antibiotic-resistant germs having the most impact on human health. "If we’re not careful, the medicine chest will be empty when we go there to look for a life-saving antibiotic,” CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden told reporters. Reports in the Washington Post and New York Times. (Also previously.) [more inside]
posted by RedOrGreen on Sep 20, 2013 - 33 comments

Ag Gag

Gagged by Big Ag. "Horrific abuse. Rampant contamination. And the crime is…exposing it?"
posted by homunculus on Jun 19, 2013 - 58 comments

No Shit

Can fecal transplants save 14,000 lives a year?
posted by Artw on May 26, 2013 - 51 comments

FDA Moves to Reduce Antibiotic Use in Livestock

Worried about the widespread use of antibiotics used in the raising of steer, pigs and poultry, and fearing the rise of antibiotic-resistant illness, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration began the process of withdrawing its approval for the non-medical use of penicillin and tetracyclines (scribd, posted by Wired magazine's Maryn McKenna in conjunction with one of her posts on this issue). That was in 1977. The FDA stopped pursuing the process, and antibiotics have continued to be given in feed. But a recent court order may allow the FDA to oversee a major change to the system. [more inside]
posted by MonkeyToes on Jun 26, 2012 - 32 comments

Antibiotics

The US Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy runs a non-profit, Extending the Cure, which conducts policy research to extend antibiotic effectiveness, and ResistanceMap, which generates interactive analysis tools and maps regarding antibiotic use in Europe and the US. The most recent ResistanceMap visualizations indicate that the US Southeast overprescribes antibiotics at a high rate compared with the rest of the country. Science journalist / "Superbug" blogger Maryn McKenna speculates (while acknowledging that correlation ≠ causation,) that the map might also indicate a link between overuse of antibiotics, obesity, diabetes and stroke. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 25, 2011 - 30 comments

Nanomachines will save us from the new medical Middle Ages

IBM researchers working on nanoparticles to destroy drug-resistant bacteria Hot on the heels of a report on the horrific threat of antibiotics-resistant bacteria, this article highlights one possible solution- using polymers that would attack bacteria membranes, instead of drugs. [more inside]
posted by Apocryphon on Apr 5, 2011 - 21 comments

Medicine: Back to the Middle Ages

Welcome to a world where the drugs don't work - it's here, today. 'A new wave of "super superbugs" with a mutation called NDM 1, which first emerged in India, has now turned up all over the world, from Britain to New Zealand.''After Alexander Fleming's 1928 discovery of the first antibiotic, penicillin, we quickly came to assume we had the chemicals to beat bacteria. Sure, bugs evolve to develop resistance. But for decades scientists have managed to develop new medicines to stay at least one step ahead of an ever-mutating enemy. Now, though, we may be running out of road.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Apr 1, 2011 - 77 comments

We are all going to die!

New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase has been found in India and Pakistan, Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada and the US. "Medical tourism, family travel and international migration have combined to import a potent new form of antibiotic resistance halfway around the planet—and the physician-researchers who have tracked its rapid spread say it is already on the verge of becoming untreatable." You hear that? UNTREATABLE!
posted by vidur on Aug 12, 2010 - 34 comments

Every day we get closer to an epidemic that cannot be stopped.

The Meatrix: parts I, II: Revolting, and II 1/2.
posted by parudox on Apr 28, 2009 - 51 comments

Discovering bacteria's amazing communication system

The secret, social lives of bacteria. "Bonnie Bassler discovered that bacteria 'talk' to each other, using a chemical language that lets them coordinate defense and mount attacks. The find has stunning implications for medicine, industry -- and our understanding of ourselves." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Apr 10, 2009 - 52 comments

Antibiotics in organic vegetables and honey

Worried about antibiotics in your beef? Organic vegetables (and pirated honey) may be no better. 90% of animal antibiotics are excreted as dung which is then used as fertilizer. The amounts are smaller but cumulative, particularly in potatoes, lettuce.
posted by stbalbach on Jan 9, 2009 - 31 comments

It's a new phage in medicine

Bacteriophages ("phages" for short) were the only effective treatment against infectious diseases until antibiotics came along during WWII.

Phages are the most ubiquitous organism on Earth. They are naturally occurring viruses that infect bacteria and bacteria only. We live in a sea of phages. Our bodies are more phage than human. There approximately 10 to the 32 power of them around us. That's 10 with 32 zeros behind it.

Antibiotics cannot keep up with evolving infections, while phages naturally co-evolve with the bacteria.

Currently we are in a growing antibiotic crisis and phage therapy is getting a serious look again. Here's a fascinating discussion from National Public Radio.
posted by wsg on Apr 4, 2008 - 37 comments

S(ch)ickening

83 percent of fresh, whole broiler chickens in the U.S. contain campylobacter or salmonella, the leading bacterial causes of foodborne disease. This is a disturbing increase from the 49 percent that tested positive in 2003. What’s more, most of the bacteria showed resistance to one or more antibiotics, and more expensive premium brands were actually more likely to contain salmonella. Is the problem factory farming? Rampant antibiotic use? Or are chickens just really gross?
posted by kyrademon on Jan 9, 2007 - 59 comments

Rx: 2 Tbsp equal parts fecal matter/aq per os

Stool transplants. How is it possible that this disgusting chestnut has not yet been discussed on MeFi?
posted by stemlot on May 25, 2006 - 52 comments

Antibiotics no good anymore?

First vancomycin-resistant bacteria found in Detroit. This is worrisome, as vancomycin is usually the last antibiotic of choice when fighting a bacterial infection. Bacteria are both helpful and hurtful to the human body, but the little bugs seem to evolve much more quickly than humans own immune systems. Have we seen an end to antibiotics used in the fight against bacteria? What alternatives do we have?
posted by WolfDaddy on Nov 12, 2002 - 37 comments

We're back!

We're back! [2] A new resistant strain of staph has been documented in a Michigan Man. Agricultural and medical abuse of antibiotics has quickly lead us to the point where only very expensive and rarely used antibiotics can treat some new antibiotic resistant strains of staph (and acne). On the bright side you can get your antibiotics by drinking some river water.
posted by srboisvert on Jul 21, 2002 - 11 comments

Anthrax (the band) offered a deal

Anthrax (the band) offered a deal Anthrax has been contacted by makers of the anti-biotic Cipro, a drug used to combat the deadly agent. The company, Bayer, inquired about possibly placing banner ads for their suddenly-in-demand pill at Anthrax's homepage, according to a report on the Rolling Stone website. Wasn't Bayer in the courts a while back for alleged involvement in the Holocaust of WW2? Maybe they were really onto something with the 'Not tested on animals' disclaimer.
posted by skinsuit on Oct 14, 2001 - 9 comments

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