Category: Staphylococcus aureus

Antibiotic Usage needs to be Studied for Long Term Harm

Apart from the creation of superbugs, overuse of antibiotics has negative consequences including killing many of our beneficial bacteria.  In the grand scheme of things, little is known about the bacteria we live with, and how they individually as a species, and collectively in combinations forming biofilms, get affected by various exposures to our antibiotics.  Insufficient research is being conducted to help us find the answers.

Some research has suggested that antibiotic use may play a role in conditions that lead to obesity, Type 1 Diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, allergies and even asthma, a common chronic airway disorder. Patient populations suffering from all of these chronic diseases appear to be increasing in prevalence, but very little is being done to understand if anything in contributing to all of these conditions as a group instead of just individually.

In agriculture, antibiotics have been used as “growth promoters” enabling farmers to increase their livestock yield, as their animals can gain more weight with less food. The influence of these antibiotics on the livestock we eat is likely to have some impact on our own bodies but this field has not yet been adequately investigated primarily due to lack of financial motivation. In Europe, where usage of antibiotics in livestock as growth promoters has been banned, it was determined that the same dollars spent on extra food resulted in the same growth as yielded by the additional antibiotics.

Given that antibiotics are a critical part of our medicinal arsenal, it is not likely that antibiotics will be replaced any time soon. However, it is important to start asking the questions and dedicate more resources to learning more about how the antibiotics we use directly and indirectly are truly affecting us. Once we learn more about this impact, then we can start to make progress in influencing the development of new alternatives and better approaches to antibiotic usage.

Over 100 Million Doses Of Antibiotics Are Administered Every Year

More than 80 years ago, Alexander Fleming, a bacteriologist, theorized that antibacterial would be found in his own nasal mucus.  During his experiment, a spore of a variant called Penicillium notatum accidentally contaminated his culture plate of Staphylococcus bacteria. This mold released a substance that inhibited the growth of the bacteria, leading to the breakthrough discovery of penicillin which triggered the beginning of a worldwide medical revolution.

Antibiotics, such as penicillin, have greatly reduced illness and death from infections. Today, 130 million doses of antibiotics are administered every year, and up to half of these have been deemed as unnecessary.  One of the main reasons for this occurs when antibiotics are prescribed for viral rather than bacterial infections. As a result, bacterium such as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) have “learned” to develop resistance against common antibiotics and have begun to cause severe infections that are expensive to

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Streptococcus “Strep” VS Staphylococcus “Staph”: How do they differ?

Streptococcus (above) Vs. Staphylococcus (bottom)

There are a lot of similarities between Streptococcus (Strep) and Staphylococcus (Staph) that lead to confusion. Both are:

  1. spherical, facultatively anaerobic gram-positive bacteria
  2. common members of the normal human microbiota
  3. capable of resisting many forms of important antibiotics
  4. some species are capable of being pathogenic, responsible for serious infections and even deaths directly or indirectly through virulence factors such as toxins

The key differentiating characteristics between these two groups of bacteria are Read More

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