Monday, July 28, 2008

Silver and copper nanoparticles kill bacteria

An Indian research team has found a novel way to kill bacteria that grow resistant to conventional antibiotics. Researchers from Mumbai and Kolkata have found that silver and copper nanoparticles could kill several deadly bacteria.
See doi:10.1038/nindia.2008.196; Published online 2 May2008 Nature INDIA

Friday, July 18, 2008

Bacteria Subsisting on Antibiotics

The researchers, led by George M. Church, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School, found hundreds of bacteria that can subsist on antibiotics as their sole source of carbon. They isolated strains from soils in 11 locations, including alfalfa fields in Minnesota and urban plots in Boston, and fed them 18 natural and synthetic antibiotics, including common ones like penicillin and ciprofloxacin. Bacterial growth was seen with almost all of them.
The researchers, who reported their findings in Science, say these microbes could be considered super-resistant, since they can tolerate antibiotic concentrations that are 50 times the levels used to define bacteria as resistant.
None of the microbes studied by the team cause illness in people, though some are closely related to pathogenic bugs. And no human pathogens are known to have the ability to eat antibiotics. They wouldn’t necessarily be expected to — there are plenty of better food sources in the body.
But the findings represent an indirect threat to human health by showing that there’s a large reservoir of resistance in common bacteria in nature. And since bacterial resistance can be acquired through gene transfer, the possibility exists that human pathogens could pick up resistance from one of these relatives in the soil.
(Science 4 April 2008: Vol. 320. no. 5872, pp. 100 – 103 DOI: 10.1126/science.1155157)

Dr. Tamhankar comments---
Can this be a new threat for us???

Can Chloroquine induce resistance to antibiotics??

Malaria is taking several lives every year. Chloroquine is the cheapest and most widely used drug to cure malaria. The latest research done by the Lakeridge Health Centre in Oshawa, canada, reveals that chloroquine use is associated with the risk of resistance to antibiotics. People living in remote villages in Guyana, were studied under the research. These people were specially chosen to study the antibiotics resistance because these people were never exposed to antibiotics. Hence the researchers expected zero resistance level in these people. But the study showed that 4.8 percent people under the study had high antibiotic resistance level. These people had strains of E. coli that were resistant to the antibiotic ciprofloxacin.
Dr. Michael Silverman of Lakeridge Health Centre in Oshawa, Ontario said that the loss of effect of these commonly used antibiotics could give a death blow to public health.
The researchers are still doubtful whether high resistance level is related to cholroquine alone. The researchers added that the only possible solution to fight this complicated problem is to increase the efforts to prevent malaria.
Dr. A.J. Tamhankar comments-----
  1. The % of people with resistance in the study is very small.
  2. But if it is true that this population was really not subjected to antibiotic use earlier, then it gives FEW conjectures. A. there could always be a segment of population everywhere that could be resistant to any external agent used against them. B. The researchers might have carried resistant E.coli on them which got transmitted to these people in study. C. It could be an example to show that RESISTANCE DOESNOT RECOGNISE ANY BOUNDRIES.
  3. Let us hope this is not true for India!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

FDA (USA) warning on CIPRO

The FDA as issued a renewed warning that Antibiotics like CIPRO and Fluoroquinolones pose the risk of tendinitis and ruptured tendons. The risk is greater in patients of 60 years and more, those who have certain organ transplants and those using steroid therapy. Patients with tendon pain should immediately stop taking the drug. Most cases involve the Achilles tendon, which attaches the calf muscle to the heel. Less frequent ruptures affected tendons in the shoulders, biceps, hands and elsewhere.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Gut superbug leading to more illnesses and deaths

The number of people hospitalized with a dangerous intestinal superbug Clostridium difficile has been growing by more than 10,000 cases a year in US according to a new study. Resistant to some antibiotics, it has become a regular menace in hospitals and nursing homes.
A recent study found it played a role in nearly 300,000 hospitalizations in 2005, more than double the number in 2000.
The infection, Clostridium difficile, is found in the colon and can cause diarrhea and a more serious intestinal condition known as colitis. It is spread by spores in feces. But the spores are difficult to kill with most conventional household cleaners or antibacterial soap.
C-diff, as it's known, has grown resistant to certain antibiotics that work against other colon bacteria. The result: When patients take those antibiotics, competing bacteria die off and C-diff explodes.
It is opined that one of the causes of the resistance development could be overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotics.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Globle Warming May Make 'Perfect Storm' of Diseases

(By Charles Q. Choi, in LiveScience-posted: 24 June 2008)
A "perfect storm" of diseases can get unleashed by the kind of extreme swings in weather expected with global warming, triggering mass die-offs of wildlife or livestock, research now reveals.
Now the first clear example of such a perfect storm of diseases has been discovered by an international team of scientists.
Global warming is predicted to lead to extreme swings in weather events such as droughts and floods. These could theoretically lead normally tolerable diseases to converge and trigger multiple outbreaks of epidemics with catastrophic mortality.
The clear example of a disease cascade came when researchers investigated outbreaks of canine distemper virus that killed an unusually high number of lions in East Africa, at Tanzania at Serengeti National Park in 1994 and Ngorongoro Crater in 2001.
These infections can have awful effects, such as "a grand mal seizure — the animal is unable to control its movements, starts thrashing about helplessly with every muscle in its body flexed to the maximum, grinding its teeth and foaming at the mouth," said researcher Craig Packer, an ecologist at the University of Minnesota. "Then the seizure stops for a few minutes before starting all over again."
Numerous epidemics of this virus have occurred within these ecosystems over the past 30 years that had proved essentially harmless to the lions, however the lions that survived the 1994 and 2001 distemper epidemics were in unusually poor condition.
"The lions were lethargic, thin, anemic, and had enlarged lymph nodes, physical changes that do not usually occur after recovery from canine distemper virus," said researcher Linda Munson, a veterinary pathologist at the University of California, Davis.
The reason could be that the virus outbreaks in 1994 and 2001 were both preceded by severe droughts, one of the types of weather events predicted to occur more frequently as Earth's climate continues to warm. This debilitated populations of Cape buffalo, a major prey of lions.
After the rains returned, the weakened, starving buffalo suffered heavy tick infestations, resulting in high levels of a tick-borne blood parasite in the lions. These parasites are normally present in the felines at harmless levels.
The canine distemper virus had suppressed the immune systems of the lions, which was already challenged by the high level of blood parasites — a sort of one-two punch. The tick-borne disease thus reached fatally high levels, leading to mass die-offs of lions. The poor condition of survivors of the 1994 and 2001 epidemics also turned out to be due to very high levels of blood parasites.
It was known that global warming and climate change can alter or expand the range of germs, but now we also know that it could "dramatically alter the normal balance between hosts, their parasites and the pathogens those ticks transmit in the same ecosystem where these relationships have been in balance for years," Munson said.
The number of lions analyzed in the Serengeti in 1994 dropped by more than a third after the double infection. Similar losses occurred in Ngorongoro Crater in 2001.
"This is a good example of how extreme variations in climate can lead to disease outbreaks," said Princeton University ecologist Andrew Dobson, who did not participate in this study. "We'll have to look for more and more examples of this as climate gets more variable."
Co-infections may lie at the heart of many of the most serious die-offs in nature, Packer said. Dobson added, "It's likely going on all the time — there just aren't enough people doing this kind of long-term study to see it."
Another place to look for the potential impact of co-infections would be colony collapse disorder in honeybees, he added. This mysterious ailment is claiming the lives of an alarming amount of the bees that help pollinate dozens of key flowering crops, such as apples and citrus fruit.
"There is a strong suspicion that colony collapse disorder is caused by co-infection of multiple disease agents, but more research is needed to nail it down," Packer told LiveScience.
The lion populations recovered quickly, within years of each of the two big die-offs. However, most climate change models predict an increase in droughts in East Africa, so the lions' ability to rebound might increasingly get challenged.
"The next step would be to try to minimize ticks on the lions during the next drought to see if tick removal protected the lions from mortality in case of a co-incident outbreak of distemper," Packer said. Munson, Packer and colleagues detailed their findings in the June 25 issue of the journal PLoS

A patient’s explanation as to why patients in ICU get infections

This patient – a programme officer in Aakashawani- was in ICU for a month and after three weeks when the patient was about to be released… got Pneumonia.

  • Doctors and Nurses don’t wash hands every time they touch one patient after another. The same was true about tools like stethoscope, spatula etc.
  • The pots for stool and urine are not cleaned completely and properly every time.
  • For doing suction every time a new tube should be used. Relatives of the patients spend money and purchase new tubes but still the new tubes are swindled by staff and the old tube is used repeatedly. Not only this, the old tube is kept in the tray near by just like that.
  • Doctors and nurses used the same hand gloves repeatedly in spite of patients relative providing new gloves time and again.
  • The ICU has air-conditioning, which re-circulates the same air without purification.
    After fortunately coming out all this, the patient felt "God is great" and so most of the patients are coming out of ICU without complications and fatality.
    (Sakal weekly: Diwali issue, 2007)

Read The ``TRUE LIFE STORY``of a family infected with MRSA