Blog #109 Antibiotics, Immunology, Mistakes and Miracles

                Blog 109 Antibiotics, Immunology, Mistakes and Miracles

Most people would likely agree that antibiotics and vaccinations are two of the greatest discoveries made in modern medicine.  In fact, Atlantic Magazine, in 2013 consulted top scientists worldwide and their consensus was that both penicillin (discovered in 1928) and vaccines (initially cowpox for smallpox, first in 1796 and then widened to encompass rabies in 1885) are among the top ten most important discoveries since the development of the wheel.  As is true for every blessing and every “good” thing, there is also a “negative” side.  

Antibiotics have saved countless lives.  Overuse of antibiotics has resulted in negative payback.  Not only are antibiotics prescribed for bacterial infections; they are also prescribed for viral infections, presumably to treat any other opportunistic bacterial infections that might arise in the weakened immune systems of patients, since antibiotics are not effective against viruses.  Often, no culture is taken in order to ascertain the identity of the infectious agent or the effectiveness of a particular antibiotic against a microorganism.  Additionally, antibiotics are frequently prescribed for many animals commercially raised for food.  The U. S. government has fallen behind most other countries in curtailing antibiotic use in livestock; most other countries limit use to therapeutic purposes only.  Often, conventional U. S. farmers and ranchers use antibiotics for prevention and to help livestock gain a few more pounds prior to slaughter.  Below is a link to an excellent article on this subject.  If clicking on the link does not work, just cut and paste it into your browser. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4638249/

Combined with the over-prescription of these medications in the human population and with discontinuing a course of antibiotics early, this inappropriate use of antibiotics in food production has resulted in bacteria that figure out how to outsmart the drugs designed to kill them.  In the past several decades, more and more intelligent antibiotic resistant bacteria are arising, especially in hospital settings.  These bacteria mutate or evolve in order to overcome the onslaughts of antibiotics, many of which are inappropriately administered.  Some of these smart and dangerous microorganisms are C Diff (Clostridium Difficile) and MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus).  These mutant bacteria learn how to pump antibiotics out of cells.  Others learn how to neutralize the lethal qualities of the antibiotics and thus coexist with them.  Bacteria also learn to spread their genetic material to other bacteria, thus teaching others how to circumvent antibiotic actions.  Consequently, scientists need to design increasingly complex and powerful antibiotics to keep up with bacterial mutations.  This is a time-consuming and expensive endeavor; the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers this dilemma to be one of the most serious faced in medicine today.  Below is a link to an interesting article about the development of one particular super-antibiotic.  If clicking on the link does not work, just cut and paste it to your browser. 

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/superantibiotic-25000-times-more-potent-its-predecessor

Antibiotic resistance is an urgent threat to global health, and one of the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) top concerns. Yet, instead of teaching superior self-care through improved diet and exercise as well as stress management and improved sleep habits, people are for the most part just offered medication for treatment and vaccination for prevention.  Like the human body, the human immune system is adaptable and even miraculous when supported with healthy lifestyle and dietary choices.  As people take increasingly better care of themselves, they need to depend less on medication and inoculation.  Emotionally, they become less fearful, and the physical relaxation and lack of fear allows internal organs, as well as circulatory, lymphatic and nervous systems to function better.  Hormones will be better balanced, bones and muscles stronger, and immune systems more adaptable and healthy. 

Sometimes, antibiotics and inoculations are the best options for a particular person and can save lives.  As in all of life, these pharmaceuticals are not simply “good” or “bad”.  Sometimes what appears to be beneficial in the short run can cause problems later on, and vice versa.  I have included one more link, this one to an excellent documentary about how Sweden dealt with the pandemic until early January of this year.  Once again, if clicking on the link doesn’t work, just cut and paste it into your browser.  Enjoy!

Covid, Tango and The Lagom Way

This blog’s offer:  feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about how to keep your immune system healthy and how to protect yourself when you are dealing with infection.  Or contact me with any other questions.  Just take a look at the links also.

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