Length of antibiotic treatments affect some resistance

Treatments using  antibiotics should stop as soon as possible to prevent patients becoming resistant to their effects, new research has shown, according to Medical News Daily.

A team of researchers led by Professor Robert Beardmore from the University of Exeter, has uncovered interesting new evidence that suggests that reducing  the length of the antibiotic’s course can reduce the risk of resistance.

The researchers examined how microbial communities reacted to different antibiotic cycling patterns.They were surprised to find  that changes both in the duration and dose of antibiotics pushes microbial communities beyond their “tipping point”: an irreversible shift to becoming drug resistant.

The researchers insist that this new study shows that resistant species can increase within the body even after an antibiotic is withdrawn, if a tipping point was passed during treatment.

Professor Beardmore, a mathematical biosciences expert from the University of Exeter said that: “It’s a sensible idea that when you take an antibiotic away, resistance goes away too, but we wondered what kinds of antibiotic treatments don’t behave like that. After all, in some clinical studies, resistance didn’t disappear when the antibiotic did.”

Antibiotic resistance happens when microbes develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them and so multiply unhindered. Antibiotics are the most effective treatment for most microbial infections, including strep throat and pneumonia.

Patients have been told for years that they need to complete courses of antibiotics because too few tablets would allow bacteria to mutate and become resistant. However, it has nowbeen potentially proven that the longer microbes are exposed to antibiotics, the more likely it is that resistance will develop.


200+ sick due to a vegetable outbreak

Infected vegetables are causing hundreds of people to get sick, according to CBS News. More than 200 people from four different states have been infected with a parasite called Cyclospora Cayetanensis, after eating pre-packaged Del Monte Fresh Produce vegetable trays containing broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and dill dip. The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported this matter. Cyclospora Cayetanensis can cause an intestinal illness called cyclosporiasis, when it contaminates food or water and is then ingested by a person. Symptoms include frequent diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach pain or cramps, bloating, increased gas, nausea, and fatigue. If not treated, these symptoms can last up to a month or longer.

Health officials have reported 212 cases linked with recalled Del Monte 6 oz. and 12 oz. vegetable trays in Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, and Michigan. Some of the people had to be hospitalized. Del Monte is now also recalling these veggie trays in the state of Wisconsin, as well as 28 oz. veggie trays which include broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery and dill dip, which were distributed to Illinois and Indiana.

The recalled products were distributed to the following stores: Kwik Trip, Kwik Star, Demond’s, Sentry, Potash, Meehan’s, Country Market, FoodMax Supermarket, and Peapod.

Consumers who have purchased the recalled items should obviously not consume them and ideally throw them away immediately. Officials say that people who have already eaten these products and have had diarrhea lasting more than three days should contact their health care provider immediately. Hopefully no one else ends up suffering from this issue going forward.

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Meat allergy due to ticks is on rise

An allergy to red meat caused by ticks is on the rise, according to CBS News. Getting a bite from the lone star tick can cause people to get allergic to red meat and in some cases a reaction to dairy products.

A researcher from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill discovered that there more than 5,000 cases were reported in the country. That’s up from 3,500 two years ago.

On “CBS This Morning” Dr. Tara Narula revealed that medical experts have only just  begun to understand the condition within the last decade. This meat allergy is an allergy to the alpha-gal carbohydrate that’s found in cows, pigs, sheep and other non-primates, but not humans. Researchers speculate that if a tick bites an animal with the alpha-gal carbohydrate and then bites a human, it injects the carbohydrate into the person’s bloodstream. The human body then mounts an antibody response that can actually activate after consuming red meat.

The Symptoms of the meat allergy include hives, skin rash, stomach problems, headaches and trouble breathing. There is no treatment or cure other than avoiding red meat.

Interestingly, female lone star ticks have a white spot on their back while males have spots or streaks around the edge of the body, but those characteristics are nearly imperceptible to the naked eye.

“The important thing is to do tick checks,” Narula said. “When you come in from the outdoors, take a shower, put your clothes in the dryer on high-heat for ten minutes, avoid high grassy areas, stay on trails and treat your dogs.”


Women who work more hours may get diabetes

Does working more hours make women more likely to get Diabetes? Studies say so, according to Medical News Daily. Previous research suggested that there’s a connection between a long work week and an increased risk of diabetes, but most of these studies focused on men.

It’s interesting to note that recent research seemed to find the opposite effect in males: the longer the work week, the lower the chance of getting diabetes. For women who work 45 hours per week or more, though, their risk was actually considerably higher.

When comparing the results for males with women who work 35–40 hours each week, they had a 63 percent higher risk of developing diabetes.

The authors of the new study, which was published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care, looked at data from the 2003 Canadian Community Health survey, which included respondents aged 35–74.

They also looked at the Ontario Health Insurance Plan database for physician services, as well as the Canadian Institute for Health Information Discharge Abstract Database for hospital admissions.

The American Diabetes Association says that over 30 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 7 million of these individuals are unaware of it.

Diabetes remains the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S., and, each year, doctors discover 1.5 million new cases. Worldwide, this number jumps to 425 Million adults, with half remaining undiagnosed.

Diabetes prevention and management is an essential part of public health. Studies such as this one can help doctors create guidelines that can potentially positively impact the health of their patients and lead to fewer cases of diabetes down the road.



Accidental tuberculosis release leads to hospital evacuation

The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland was evacuated on July 5 following the accidental release of a small amount of tuberculosis, one of the world’s deadliest diseases. The germ was believed to be released during transportation. Hospital officials say that the disease has since been contained and no one is at risk of contracting the dangerous disease.

Apparently, the incident stemmed from a small frozen vial sample, which dropped onto the floor, causing its lid to fall off. The incident took place in the internal bridge connecting the hospital’s Cancer Research Building 1 to Cancer Research Building 2—a non-patient area.

“The Baltimore City Fire and Rescue unit initiated hazmat protocols and, out of an abundance of caution, both research buildings were evacuated. Public safety officials as well as infectious disease experts have now cleared the buildings, and the evacuation has been lifted,” John Hopkins said in a statement.

“We have confirmed that there was no risk to anyone on campus,” the statement continued. “We want to thank our employees for their quick response to the situation as well as the Baltimore City Fire Department.”

Tuberculosis is typically caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. It infected approximately 10 million people in 2016 alone and led to at least 1.7 million deaths in the same year.

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Medical marijuana rose in popularity among seniors

A study shows that medical marijuana is now more popular among senior citizens according to Web MD, and that they are now giving rave reviews for it.

In a new survey, senior citizens who turned to medical marijuana for the treatment of diseases such as chronic pain, reported that it reduced pain and decreased the need for painkillers for opioid.

9 out of 10 liked it so much that they said that they’d recommend medical marijuana to other people.”I was on Percocet and replaced it with medical marijuana. Thank you, thank you, thank you,” said one senior citizen involved in the study.

Another patient put it this way: “It [medical marijuana] is extremely effective and has allowed me to function in my work and life again. It has not completely taken away the pain, but allows me to manage it.”

Study co-author Dr. Diana Martins-Welch said: “The impact of medical marijuana was overwhelmingly positive. Medical marijuana led them to taking less medications overall, opioids and non-opioids, and they had better function and better quality of life.” Martins-Welch is a physician in the division of geriatric and palliative medicine at Northwell Health, in Great Neck, N.Y. It will be interesting to see if the number of senior citizens using medical marijuana increases over time.

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‘Skinny fat’ could predict dementia in older adults

A new study suggests that “skinny fat,” which is a combination of low muscle mass and strength with high fat mass, could be a predictor of dementia in older adults. And while risks of sarcopenia, the loss of muscle tissue that comes naturally with age, and obesity both have a negative impact of overall cognitive function and health, their coexistence poses a higher threat than either when they’re alone.

The study examined community-based memory and aging studies in 353 participants to analyze the relationship of  “skinny fat,” or sarcopenic obesity, with cognitive performance. The results found that “skinny fat” is linked to poor global cognitive performance in the study’s subjects.

“Sarcopenia has been linked to global cognitive impairment and dysfunction in specific cognitive skills including memory, speed, and executive functions,” said James E. Galvin, M.D., M.P.H., one of the most prominent neuroscientists in the country and senior author on the study.

“Understanding the mechanisms through which this syndrome may affect cognition is important as it may inform efforts to prevent cognitive decline in later life by targeting at-risk groups with an imbalance between lean and fat mass,” he continued. “They may benefit from programs addressing loss of cognitive function by maintaining and improving strength and preventing obesity.”

“Sarcopenia either alone or in the presence of obesity, can be used in clinical practice to estimate potential risk of cognitive impairment,” said Magdalena I. Tolea, coauthor on the study. “Testing grip strength by dynamometry can be easily administered within the time constraints of a clinic visit, and body mass index is usually collected as part of annual wellness visits.”

The findings were published in Clinical Interventions in Aging.


New way to identify cancer in children found

Scientists can use a new computational strategy to discover cancer in children, according to Science Daily. Using a new computational strategy, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have managed to identify 29 genetic changes that contribute to cancer in children. The researches used Bayesian analysis, a method used for statistical inference, to confirm the statistical predictions.

Their work helps to explain what causes childhood cancer and suggests potential treatments. Their method can also be used to identify genetic drivers of other cancers.

“We came up with the idea that the altered expression of key cancer genes may be driven by genomic copy-number amplifications or losses. We then developed a new computational algorithm called iExCN to predict cancer genes based on genomewide copy-number and gene expression data,” said Dr. Stephen Skapek, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology and with the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Dr. Skapek, who holds the Distinguished Chair in Pediatric Oncology Research, said the group need to further verify the cancer-causing role of the iExCN-identified genes, but that the research is exciting. “We are exploring new strategies for targeted therapies that zero in on these genes,” he said. “More important, our study represents a general approach that can be applied to identify oncogenic drivers and tumor-suppressor genes in other cancer types for which we have previously failed to uncover targetable vulnerabilities.”



A hospital is testing patients for HIV after a nurse’s mistake

A Cherokee Nation hospital in Oklahoma is testing more than 180 patients for HIV and hepatitis after allegations that a nurse reused syringes to administer medications, according to The New York Post. The nurse has allegedly violated  protocols by using the same vial of medication and the same syringe to inject multiple intravenous bags at W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah, according to Cherokee officials. The nurse has been relieved of her duties following the incident.

“We’re a big government and we have to do our due diligence to make sure things are handled properly,” said Joe Byrd, speaker of the Cherokee Tribal Council. “You can be sure that I’ll have my pulse on the situation.”

Researchers recommend against reusing syringes with IV bags, but say that the risk of transmitting a disease by doing so is sctually relatively low, according to a 2010 study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. The risk of transmitting other diseases, such as hepatitis B was less than 53 in 1 million, while the risk of transmitting hepatitis C was less than 4.3 in 1 million, according to the study. The risk of transmitting HIV was around 0.15 in 1 million.

“Patients were never directly in contact with any needle,” said Brian Hail, the hospital’s CEO. “The likelihood of blood-borne pathogens traveling up the lines into an IV bag or IV tubing to cause cross-contamination from using the same syringe is extremely remote.”


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Ancient parasite eggs shed light on past human diets

For the first time in history, scientists have managed to map out the diets of Northern Europeans from the 11th to the 18th century.

In the study, researchers from the University of Copenhagen and Aarhus University began collecting ancient excrement from old toilets as a way to figure out what people ate hundreds or thousands of years ago. While it is easy to assume diets were worse back then, this new study gives a much more concrete picture.

Nearly all of the samples came from Northern Europe, and the remains allowed the scientists to steadily track how diets changed throughout time.

They did that by filtering the excrement through mesh, which allowed them to collect parasite eggs and use them for DNA analysis.

After collecting, researchers sequenced all the genetic material they could find. That then allowed them to identify any plants, animals, or parasites that were consumed by ancient populations. By looking at specific parasites, they could tell what exactly people ate.

“When you filter and wash these samples, you also still get the DNA of plants and animals, like fish or whale, in the samples,” said lead author Martin Søe, a researchers at the University of Copenhagen, according to NPR.

For example, Danish latrines from 1600 had tapeworm eggs that can only be contracted from eating raw or under-cooked pork. As there were no cow tapeworms, it is likely that beef was more properly cooked. DNA of fin whales also suggested the people of the region spent time hunting the massive beasts.

The data showed that many animals — including cats, horses, and rats — had parasites as well. That suggests the pests may have been much common back then.

Being able to look into which parasites affected different people is important because it sheds light on the way diet changed in the region over time. It also gives much more insight into the history of those areas. The team next plans to expand on their findings by comparing the results with other ancient genetic data. That will then likely lead to more thorough and complex studies down the line.

“This provides us with empirical data on what those diseases might have been in the past,” said  Maanasa Raghavan, a zoologist at the University of Cambridge who did not work on the study. “Having these datasets will help us look further at how these pathogens evolved over time or how people moved around.”

The findings are outlined in the journal in PLOS ONE.