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Superbug: The Fatal Menace of MRSA
Maryn McKenna
Free Press (Simon & Schuster)
Hardcover, 288 pages, $26.00 list
Kindle Edition $12.99
March, 2010

Money quote:

To his bewildered mother and grandmother, the swirl of controlled chaos around Tony was as inexplicable as his sudden collapse; the ICU seemed to be trying everything, hoping it would bring him back from the brink. No diagnosis was possible yet. They had been in the hospital barely an hour, not long enough for test results to make it down to the lab and back. But the medical staff had a strong suspicion of what could bring a healthy boy down so quickly, and the clue lay in one of the drugs they ordered pushed into his veins. it was called vancomycin, and it was famous in hospitals as a drug of last resort. They had used it against a bacterium that had learned to protect itself against most of the other drugs thrown at it, a particularly dangerous variety of staph called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus – MRSA for short.

Basic Premise: A medical journalist, steeped in the ways of the CDC from covering them as a beat reporter, follows the threat of MRSA from the earliest reports in the 80's of hospital nursery spread to reports of modern outbreaks of MRSA (at first rejected by medical journals) to the farms where it incubates and the prisons where it spreads. There were missed opportunities to control spread, and we are still missing opportunities (see the food chain) to do a better job of detection and control before things get even worse than they are now.

Author: Maryn McKenna is a journalist and author specializing in public health, medicine and health policy. She previously published Beating Back the Devil: On the Front Lines With the Disease Detectives of the Epidemic Intelligence Service. An award winning seven part series on flu vaccine was written for CIDRAP (University of Minnesota). Future projects include "a multi-year research project on emergency room overcrowding and stress".

Readability/quality: This is an excellent read, with well researched science but written at a level any news magazine reader could follow. The author has the experience to write about the topic with authority, without hectoring or lecturing the reader.

Who should read it: Anyone interested in learning more about the well-publicized MRSA bacteria; anyone interested in epidemiology; understanding the relationship between animals, the food chain and human disease; and anyone who likes a good detective story. Well, medical detective story, anyway.

Bonus blog: Superbug: Research, strategies and stories from the struggle against methicillin-resistant Staph aureus (MRSA) maintained by the author.

Interview with the author:

Daily Kos: You’re a journalist that followed CDC for many years at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and covered many different topics; what got you interested in MRSA?

Maryn McKenna: The first time I really aware became aware of MRSA was during a year that I spent embedded with the CDC's Epidemic Intelligence Service (a story that's told in my 2004 book Beating Back the Devil, the first book about the EIS). One month I was following an EIS officer, as they're called, who was posted to the Los Angeles public health department; I happened to get there just as he was assigned to an investigation of skin infections among gay men who frequented sex clubs. The question facing the investigators was whether these infections, which were very serious abscesses and fasciitis that required IV antibiotics and surgical repair, were sex-related, or merely an artifact of the conditions inside the clubs. Those clubs combine some aspects of what you would expect with some aspects that are more like a gym: workout equipment, benches. The snag was that men who go to sex clubs generally don't wear clothes inside them but rather a towel around their waists — so the same portion of skin that might bump up against the skin of a partner during sex were also the same portions that were exposed to the bench when they sat down naked.

I've concentrated on outbreaks and epidemics for most of my career, because what's interesting to me about diseases is the nexus of their biological intricacy and the complex social conditions that give rise to them. This LA outbreak had all kinds of complexity. There was the delicate position of the clubs within LA society: championed by the gay community, in a town with a very large gay community, as icons of sexual freedom; respected somewhat uneasily by the public health community because the clubs offered access to a hard-to-reach population; viewed with discomfort by others. Then there was the behavior of the bacterium itself: This outbreak took place in June 2003, just when the community MRSA epidemic was starting to curve upward, and many people just didn't believe that MRSA could do this kind of damage to otherwise healthy men.

Eventually the investigation concluded (verdict: the conditions were analogous to gyms and were not specifically related to gay, or any, sex). I wrote the outbreak up as a chapter in my book and and went on to the next one. But three years later, I was doing another embedded assignment, this time observing overnight shifts in ERs for a year, and I realized that I was seeing lots and lots of similar infections. The ER physicians I was shadowing were not impressed by them, because they had become so used to them, but I found the prevalence dramatic. That experience really sparked this book.

Daily Kos: Do you see new drugs against MRSA as part of the solution to the problem? Is that ever really a solution?

Maryn McKenna: By one estimate — almost certainly an underestimate, I think — invasive MRSA infections kill almost 19,000 Americans a year, and by another estimate, cause 369,000 to be hospitalized. Those numbers are evidence that MRSA — all strains of MRSA, hospital, community and livestock-associated — causes serious infections that require significant treatment. So we'll always need drugs. And since all of those strains are increasingly drug-resistant. we're always going to need new drugs; any infectious-disease physician at this point can tell tales of MRSA cases for which they have to try several big-gun drugs before they find a compound or combination that ameliorates the infection, doesn't cross-react with what else the patient is taking, and is not overly toxic.

The challenges are, first, making sure that firms deliver new drugs, because as SUPERBUG explains, pharma companies are increasingly backing away from antibiotic research as not cost-effective; and second, conserving the usefulness of any new drugs as well as the ones we still have. That requires concerted effort throughout medicine, from hospitals down to primary care, to make sure that drugs are used thoughtfully, so that we slow down the endless game of leapfrog between bug and drug that the bacteria will always win. It probably requires additional funding for research to characterize resistance factors. We need to know more, for instance, about how specific resistance factors are packaged in bacteria's genetic codes, so that we know in advance that a segment conferring resistance to drug A, if it moves among bacteria, might port along with it resistance to unrelated drug F. And it definitely requires taking the ecological approach of understanding that antibiotics are a limited, shared resource that should be conserved. There will not be an endless supply of new drugs, no matter how clever new small biotech firms are in their design.

Daily Kos: What role does USDA play in prevention of future superbugs?

Maryn McKenna: One of the reasons the international epidemic of antibiotic resistance has gotten so bad is because we've done such a good job, collectively, of ignoring the interplay between human health and animal health. MRSA is a perfect example of this, because what I consider the "third epidemic" of MRSA — MRSA ST398, or livestock-associated MRSA — began in pigs, spread to farmworkers and their social networks, and then spread beyond them to cause very serious illnesses in humans who have no connection to farming. The evolution of ST398 was clearly driven by agricultural use of antibiotics; if you look at the susceptibility profiles of the first cases, you can see that the bug is resistant to drugs that were given to pigs.

ST398 emerged in Europe in 2004 and was first spotted in North America in 2007, yet we are still not testing for it, in animals or in humans. It is not a test that the USDA requires. Moreover, the antibiotic-resistance tracking system for food, NARMS (for National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System) doesn't track MRSA. And as several GAO reports have pointed out, the USDA has an imperfect grasp of how many antimicrobials are administered to food animals and under what conditions. The best estimate of antimicrobial use in animals — 70% of all antibiotics used in the US each year — is now about a decade old and has not been updated because USDA and industry hold the necessary data so tightly.

Possible federal action around animal antibiotic use takes in FDA as well, because it is the FDA, not the USDA, that licenses the drugs for use in animals (as humans). FDA has co-ownership of NARMS as well, with USDA and CDC. There is legislation in Congress now that would ask the FDA to restrict the use of certain classes of veterinary antibiotics that are identical to/important in human medicine.

Thank you, Ms. McKenna.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 05:55 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  that's 'staph' not 'staff'. (26+ / 0-)

    We have different issues with staff.   ;-P

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 05:56:11 AM PDT

    •  looks like a good book.... (5+ / 0-)

      thanks for the recommondation and review.  I will get a copy.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 06:07:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have had this super staph... (4+ / 0-)

      It put me into the hospital for over two weeks with Super Cellulitis and only extensive and pretty nasty IV's of Vancomycin and Zosyn would touch this bug.

      Boilerman10 almost became "Peg-Leg Pete"  

      You should see the damage done afterwards.  Half of my leg looked like a big slab of beef jerky; hard, reddish-brown, and itchy-cripes the itchiness!

      I did not take to the side effects of Vanco so well; the itching and rash you can get were maddening, and the need for frequent IV injection point changes made my arms look like pin cushions.  But it was the only thing that would work.

      Today, 4/24/10, 6447 US and allied soldiers, and untold Iraqis and Afghans are dead. Pres. Obama, you inherited Bush's lies, now stop the madness.

      by boilerman10 on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 12:52:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Cool diary (10+ / 0-)

      Very informative. Antibiotic overuse is a major issue. Prior to last year, in Arizona it had been very diffucult. If someone didn't get an ABO script from their PCP, they would just go across the border to Mexico and buy something. In the prisons, MRSA way too common. Especially with so many guys doing tattoos with whatever they can jury rig.
      Look forward to seeing more diaries like this. Community education will be important as we work towards universal, affordable health care.

  •  A friend of mine has MRSA right now.. had to have (17+ / 0-)

    his lungs vacuumed.

    He caught it at work.. at a funeral home.. because there is no uniform protocol for letting funeral home workers know that the deceased passed because of MRSA.

    How about you just use a sharpie marker and put MRSA on the forehead so that people can take some precautions.

  •  Very Informative I've read about MRSAs (6+ / 0-)

    and the problems with staph infections in hospital.  It's good to have a book that ties these epidemics together.

    Do people pick up antibiotic resistance from eating animal and dairy products, or is the spread solely from close contact.

    Do we know whether Tony survived?

    Aud, the Deep Minded

    by HylasBrook on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 06:10:39 AM PDT

  •  The thing that caught my eye (12+ / 0-)

    was the discussion of "the interplay between human health and animal health."  Which brings us right back to Guns, Germs & Steel and the eternal relationship between domesticated animals as food sources and disease.

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 06:23:04 AM PDT

    •  link (7+ / 0-)

      http://www.amazon.com/...

      I do not hesitate to recommend this book to anyone with an interest in world history. The scholarship is first-rate, and the thesis is incredibly significant. The technical details, while complete, are presented in a very easy to understand way, and Diamond's writing style is fun and engaging. It fully deserved the Pulitzer prize.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 06:26:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ties in with Gravlax' diary (5+ / 0-)

      http://www.dailykos.com/... IMHO, the Farm Bill should be branded as the Food, Farm and Health Bill. I don't think many make the connection and there are wealthy, entrenched interests fighting with all their Luntz and money to ensure the status quo of CAFO farming and antibiotic use.

      The first case of MRSA I encountered was in a persistent bullous diaper rash in a newborn, born by C-S in a high-risk labor and delivery unit in 2000. The mother's C-S incision dehisced, requiring rehospitalization, surgery, and many rounds of IV antibiotics to resolve. The diaper rash required an ID consult, but resolved with topically applied antibiotic ointment.

      We see MRSA commonly now in office pediatrics. Scary stuff.

      I look forward to reading McKenna's book.

      "And tell me how does god choose whose prayers does he refuse?" Tom Waits

      by madaprn on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 09:00:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My Mom died of hospital-borne MRSA after (17+ / 0-)

    an orthopedic procedure. It's a truly horrible way to go.

    When an old man dies, a library burns down. --African proverb

    by Wom Bat on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 06:25:24 AM PDT

  •  I love books like this. (11+ / 0-)

    One of my favorites is The Ghost Map, about the 1854 London cholera epidemic.

    Does this internet make me look fat?

    by pattyp on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 06:26:12 AM PDT

  •  Fascinating. (17+ / 0-)

    My undergraduate degree was in microbiology, and I can remember a meeting with my adviser about career directions.  I was told infectious disease wasn't going to be a good career route...because we had it under control.

    Imagine.

    The recent legislation in Arizona threatens to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans. --B. Obama

    by mem from somerville on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 06:26:58 AM PDT

    •  infectious disease under control? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DemFromCT, barbwires, stitchmd, wmholt

      Sanitation, drug therapy, and Pasteurization have helped reduce infectious disease incidence and mortality a great deal, but evolution will always confound human hubris about infectious disease. We will have diseases twenty years from now no one has heard of yet.

      •  Google "fungal spike" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ice Blue

        whenever there is rapid climate change, (transitions)

        ...fungi literally take over the planet for a few hundred or thousand years..

        You'll see arguments against this theory, but they are based on the observation that its not TOTAL..

        They basically acknowledge that it happens, (its in the fossil record) and just say that there are some areas of the planet that manage to avoid it... small ones, though, relative to the rest..

        So, in terms of its implications, its true.

        Basically, plants and animals can't change fast enough.

        But fungi, bacteria, etc, by virtue of their rapid reproductive rates, can.

        Single Payer represents a QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS MORE IN YOUR POCKET. Single payer isn't an "option"! Thats WHY it works!

        by Andiamo on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 09:02:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Same here... (3+ / 0-)

      As a physician in an Internal Medicine residency, I was told not to go into Infectious Disease because there weren't any more infectious diseases to conquer.

      I was told that if I became a specialist in Infectious Diseases that I would be spending my time doing cultures on other Infectious Disease docs, meaning that we'd have nothing to do.

      I'd like to go back and re-think that issue.

  •  i have had two bouts of MRSA (19+ / 0-)

    the first was around 6 weeks after i discontinued interferon the first time.  right by my right outside wrist bone the first MRSA showed up, like a small spider bite.  within two days my hand was in so much pain and had swelled tremendously.  two days later, on easter sunday that year, the MRSA was surgically-attended to.  the delay was waiting to see how i reacted to the vancomyacin and to see to which antibiotics the MRSA was.  i told the folks at the hospital exactly what it would be resistant to -- one of my closest friends had several bouts of MRSA.  he was not resistant to vanco or septra.  my MRSA was all but septra and vanco resistant.

    what was so odd about this MRSA that while on interferon, i never had a single MRSA, even though when i was feeling well enough to, i would take care of my friend who was having recurring bouts of MRSA.  however, take the interferon out of the equation and six weeks later, i am in the hospital...

    the second and last episode i had with MRSA was just about six weeks after i successfully finished my second round of interferon.  this time the MRSA were in a small cluster on my left upper hand and on the balk of my right calve.  3 successive mornings i went into the ER for vanco infusion therapy and that did the trick -- after they lanced the MRSA on my calve.

    it was almost like clock-work.  six weeks off interferon both times i get MRSA...

    this is one nasty infection.

    really nasty.

    _

    There is a certain charm in the purity of irrelevance. But the more relevant you get, the more real you have to get. (Barney Frank)

    by dadanation on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 06:28:00 AM PDT

    •  My neighbor (7+ / 0-)

      who suffers from RA and Fibro among other related immune systems illnesses has an entire family that should probably have MRSA at the end of their names.
      Neighbor, her daughter, her two grand-children, her mother, and her late father have all had multiple break-outs.

      Her mother (also with RA) was the last and even tho she had a big, open, weeping sore on her head and went to our MRSA infected medical facility ER in extreme pain telling them that she believed it to be MRSA, was told "what makes you think you are a doctor?" by the ER doc.

      It took her another week to see her actual Dr. and get treated, meanwhile infecting her already dying husband. It's a mess, I know too many people who have been infected after being at our "urgent care facility". The place is full of it.

      "Take it back, take it back. Oh no you can't say that. All of my friends are not dead or in jail." John Prine

      by high uintas on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:07:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the judgmental tones in the ER don't help either (7+ / 0-)

        for a while here in SF, non-immune-suppressed folks were not getting MRSA.  gay men and IDUs were.   more than one friend of mine had to call me to get me down to the ER to help them since a few quite opinionated staff were giving them the dismissal tone and scram orders.

        most of our ER staff here in the city are 1000000% beyond phenomenal.  but that stray out-lier who can't but conceal some judgement about the person in front of them with MRSA ("that's a rotten place to shoot up" was what one ER person said to a friend of mine looking at the person's MRSA -- which was NOT at an injection site i might add) is the one who makes it so hard for other, harder-to-reach individuals want to brave the trip for fear of being humiliated or have scorn heaped upon them.

        now that we have MRSA across all folks (immune-compromised and not) here in the city, i have not had any of those calls from friends...

        _

        There is a certain charm in the purity of irrelevance. But the more relevant you get, the more real you have to get. (Barney Frank)

        by dadanation on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:20:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Your neighbor may have mold in his/her home (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ice Blue, LiberalATX

        have them check inside the walls.. Mold will depress your immune system as a preliminary step to eating you (after you are dead)

        Get the picture?

        Single Payer represents a QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS MORE IN YOUR POCKET. Single payer isn't an "option"! Thats WHY it works!

        by Andiamo on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:38:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  now there's an overhyped public health problem (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          stitchmd

          mold.

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:42:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Obviously you've never had to deal with it. (6+ / 0-)

            or you wouldn't say that.

            Its rarely an insurmountable problem, (meaning, its rare when a building is unfixable) but people have to acknowledge it and deal with it. Typically, its hidden inside the walls, and then, its a time bomb that can make people sick for DECADES after the water damage that created it.

            If they don't find it and clean it out, it  has the potential to permanently injure or even kill people.

            Its probably one of the worst- often unacknowledged contributors to health problems in this country.

            Do you know anybody who lived in the area hit by Katrina? Or any flooding events? Ask them about mold, what it does to people.

            Do it.

            If I needed to pick one thing that - if fixed - would improve the nations health, that would be it.

            I read yesterday that black and hispanic people have much more arthritis than white people. That - combined with lead dust- has to be a big part of the reason.

            People live in run down housing, in neighborhoods where they dont feel safe outside.. that means indoor air pollution.

            That causes systemic inflammation.. which leads to athsma, arthritis, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease.

            You name it.

            Mold exposure is cumulative.

            Single Payer represents a QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS MORE IN YOUR POCKET. Single payer isn't an "option"! Thats WHY it works!

            by Andiamo on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 08:30:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I know a scientist.. an immunologist who (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              G2geek, Ice Blue, esquimaux, OHdog, LiberalATX

              maintains a huge database on mold and its health implications.
              He's written a great many papers on various aspects of it.

              I was talking with him once about this and he said that fungi are little chemical factories that have to compete with one another for food in what is essentially - on a microscopic level, a rain forest.. In order to survive, they have to kill and eat everything else. the wetter it gets, the more energy they devote to the killing chemicals and the more dangerous they become.

              Fungi are actually more closely related to animals than they are to plants, so its often quite difficult to kill them. When I was a kid, I knew this kid who had been blinded by a mucormycosis.

              It started in his sinuses and then started eating his eyes. He couldn't see, and he had to wear a fake nose to cover the hole in his face. The mold had eaten away much of his face before they got it under control.

              I wonder if he is still alive.. He was one of the smartest people I had ever met. This kid had mastered every thing you could imagine that had to do with sound. He had perfect pitch. he could also do amazing stuff with his voice.

              There are instructions in the Bible (the Old Testament) on how to remove mold from a home..(from that period, when houses were built with stones, wood and plaster, which are far more mold resistant materials than gypsum wallboard faced with cellulose containing paper.. i.e. mold food)

              In extreme cases, they recommend tearing it down and allowing the stones to sit in the sun for a year, and only then rebuilding it!  

              That is sound advice!

              Single Payer represents a QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS MORE IN YOUR POCKET. Single payer isn't an "option"! Thats WHY it works!

              by Andiamo on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 08:54:45 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  what i do deal with are all the cranks and (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              barbwires, stitchmd

              snake oil salesman selling fungal "cures" for non-diseases. Fungal illnesses are real, somewhat unusual, and nothing like what the internet would have you believe.

              "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

              by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 09:14:02 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I get you.. Scammers.. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                OHdog, freesia

                I'm totally with you on that one..

                You'll notice that whenever I post something Ive read about any supplement, I NEVER recommend any particular brand, reason being that is a pet peeve of mine.. also, there is a lot of variation.

                Not to mention the dangerous hype that product x, y or z will "cure cancer" or whatever..

                On te other hand, one would have to be an idiot to ignore it, especially if one is a doctor, when there's a growing body of stuff in the scientific literature about some safe, effective and cheap therapy for a serious human disease.

                Doctors have to lose this bias that says that anything new or different in philosophy is lacking value..

                But that wilful ignorance seems to be what's happening. Being conservative is smart, but being willfully blind isn't.

                I need to write a diary about how we can save a HUGE amount of money on healthcare using solid, but ignored therapies for common diseases.

                All of the big killers have some huge thing they are ignoring.

                Did you look up quercetin and MRSA on PubMed?

                There are a few papers I have PDFs of that are really good, I have to track down the PMID for them so I can post links.

                A little searching will find them, though..   Seriously, we can lick MRSA if we use these natural substances with ABX.

                Also, they are so safe - (they actually are among the most important nutrients in our diet for our health) that they make sense to take regularly, almost everybody should do that.

                Other cultures do and it helps them a lot, for example, China and tea, India with turmeric, France with grapes.

                Single Payer represents a QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS MORE IN YOUR POCKET. Single payer isn't an "option"! Thats WHY it works!

                by Andiamo on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 09:39:48 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Actually, they aren't at all unusual.. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  OHdog

                  But the medical community is only beginning to understand the scope and magnitude of the health problems posed by bioaerosols and water damaged buildings ....

                  In New Orleans, a great many people, a large percentage of the population.. ended up with persistent health problems..  

                  That's been well documented.

                  Single Payer represents a QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS MORE IN YOUR POCKET. Single payer isn't an "option"! Thats WHY it works!

                  by Andiamo on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 09:50:24 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Have you seen (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DemFromCT, mem from somerville

            Michael Specter's TED talk? Absolutely brilliant. Everyone should watch it.

            Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without - W S Coffin

            by stitchmd on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 10:12:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  My neighbor (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Catte Nappe, Ice Blue

          and family were able to access the Infectious Disease Dept. at the U of U hospital in SLC. They have been working with the family. Their homes and even their cars have been inspected.

          The opinion of the IDD was that the family is harbouring the infection in their depressed immune systems and it emerges when they are under stress. It's more complicated than that, but their homes and possessions aren't their source of infection.

          My neighbor and I have talked about the incidence of disease in her greater family. A century ago they probably would not have survived to reproduce, they are a perfect storm of illnesses. RA, Lupus, Cystic Fibrosis, the list goes on and on.

          Her mother has had RA since she was 8yrs old and two of her siblings died young. They are doing all they can to fight this infection, but when your immune system is so impacted you are really fighting an uphill battle.

          As for our medical facility it's an ATM for the owners of it. It's under-staffed and even my Dr. who is on staff does what she can to deflect patients from going there. We are 30 miles from SLC and it's the closest ER for a big chunk of rural western Utah.

          After my last experience there all I can say to people is if you can live until you get to SLC, do it. If you can't get patched up and then get to SLC, don't get admitted there. There are good people there, just too few of them. I don't want to gamble with my life.

          "Take it back, take it back. Oh no you can't say that. All of my friends are not dead or in jail." John Prine

          by high uintas on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 08:30:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Many drugs for RA, etc depress the immune (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            high uintas, joanneleon, wa ma

            system. Im sure many people don't know that when they start taking them.

            Doctors give patients many of the immune suppressant drugs to save time, but often this is the wrong approach, IMO. because they allow bacteria and fungi - to get a foothold.

            There are also regional diseases. There are areas of this country, where .. well..

            We need a complete re-engineering of health care and health policy.

            We literally need to start from scratch and build it anew. Thats how bad and dangerous its potentially becoming.

            Caveat emptor!

            Single Payer represents a QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS MORE IN YOUR POCKET. Single payer isn't an "option"! Thats WHY it works!

            by Andiamo on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 08:39:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I remember back in the 60s and 70s (9+ / 0-)

    old hippie resistance to profligate use of antibiotics because we felt our natural immunities were being subverted by over-reliance on them.  I don't know how we knew this, just that it was commonly accepted in those circles that the bugs were growing more antibiotic resistant.

    Another of the wild stories passing around then that turned out to be true. Many of us lived in what I would now call filthy squalor, and fought off our share of (conventional) staph infections with various natural remmedies. I shudder now to think back on it all, but we, and our kids, did develop ferocious immune systems that are still working well for us, decades later, through all that exposure.

    My RN partner has told me plenty of stories about MSRA gone wild in present times.

    don't always believe what you think...

    by claude on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 06:28:30 AM PDT

  •  A very ugly (9+ / 0-)

    and relatively unknown story behind Vancoymcin resistant staph has to do with how IV drugs were marketed in the 90s, setting a fictitious "Average Wholesale Price" to create profit margins of more than 1,000%. This encouraged the use of Vancomycin when it was not necessary. It was ultimately stopped as the result of a whistleblower case and an investigation that was initiated out of the Florida Attorney General's Office, and was later picked up by the other States and the Federal Government.

    Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Palate Press: The online wine magazine.

    by dhonig on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 06:28:50 AM PDT

  •  It's a tiny little thing really (6+ / 0-)

    but a MRSA education bill was just signed in Tennessee.

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 06:29:15 AM PDT

  •  My mother nearly died of it 3 years ago (7+ / 0-)

    Her neurosurgeon was chatting with her last week about her lousy gait and asked if she would go back to the orthopaedic surgeon and ask for the other knee to be replaced.

    No way. She would rather crawl than risk MRSA again.

  •  Thanks (8+ / 0-)

    I'll look for this book.  Both my parents have had MRSA--for my mom, the vancomycin was worse than the infection.  After so many years of caregiving for both of them, I wouldn't be surprised if I cultured positive for it.  Probably something I should look into...

    I'm currently reading Safe Patients, Smart Hospitals by Peter Pronovost.  The hospital system where I work is currently re-thinking our entire approach to be more patient-centered, and I'm trying to figure out how some of his ideas can be integrated into the changes we're making.

    There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast.

    by puzzled on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 06:37:18 AM PDT

  •  Norway reduced their MSRA cases dramatically (8+ / 0-)

    through means that will not be easily replicated here in the US or elsewhere or that matter. Making antibiotic use a last line of therapy instead of the first, quarantining MRSA patients in hospital - no or limited limitation rights, eliminating over the counter antibiotics, reduced disinfectant use and finally, eliminating routine antibiotic use in agriculture.

    Good luck making that happen here elsewhere.

    "The central tenet of Buddhism is not 'Every man for himself'" - A Fish Called Wanda

    by the fan man on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 06:44:55 AM PDT

    •  well actually (6+ / 0-)

      Making antibiotic use a last line of therapy instead of the first

      Cutting back on antibiotic use is a signature quality issue for many doctors, regardless of patient expectations (which are tough to manage)

      quarantining MRSA patients in hospital - no or limited limitation rights

      done now, extensively and ubiquitous in hositals small and large

      eliminating over the counter antibiotic

      doesn't exit here

      reduced disinfectant use

      already introduced

      eliminating routine antibiotic use in agriculture.

      that's the big one!!

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 06:51:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, not entirely the case here (7+ / 0-)

        eliminating over the counter antibiotic

        doesn't exit here

        There was a story a couple of years back that spoke to this: Illegal Medication Sales Common

        ....They are visiting convenience stores that function as de facto pharmacies, dispensing medications without prescriptions.

        The sale of antibiotics is especially common, and that has some doctors worried. WBUR’s health and science reporter Allan Coukell has been investigating....

        The recent legislation in Arizona threatens to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans. --B. Obama

        by mem from somerville on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 06:54:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  thanks for that!! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mem from somerville, G2geek

          didn't know it was that extensive. Doesn't exist here legally, and doesn't sound easy to stop.

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:05:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This is also linked to (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            G2geek, stitchmd

            the lack of access to routine medical care for the uninsured.  And also to fears in immigrant communities of accessing official channels for things.

            I thought it was an interesting story, but never heard any more about it.  I doubt it is only in Boston.

            The recent legislation in Arizona threatens to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans. --B. Obama

            by mem from somerville on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:09:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I am sure it isn't (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mem from somerville, G2geek

              cultural roots go very deep. I'd just expected it more in AZ and TX not Boston, simply because of geography and access.

              "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

              by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:15:03 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Another thing I hear about (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                G2geek, stitchmd, sillia

                is people using pet medications for humans.  I know that is classed under animal use, but maybe not the same as agricultural.  I know people who have purchased pet meds for themselves to use.

                Also linked to lack of access to medical care and to cost.

                The recent legislation in Arizona threatens to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans. --B. Obama

                by mem from somerville on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:16:59 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  that's more common (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  G2geek, Ice Blue

                  especially tetracycline (commonly used for ich treatment in fish tanks, when they start getting gauzy trailings on their fins.)

                  "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

                  by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:20:30 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Used to shop at the feed store (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    G2geek

                    Neosporin Ophthalmic was a favorite.

                    "Muéstreme su identificación." - BlackSheep1

                    by tlemon on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 10:01:10 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  It's used, but not for ich. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    G2geek

                    Ich is caused by a protozoan called Ichthyophthirius multifiliis.  (I had to look up the spelling for that one.)  Antibiotics are useless for it.  You treat it with stuff like methylene blue, malachite green or acriflavine.  They're cheaper than antibiotics anyway.  

                    But antibiotics are used for other diseases.  One thing about antibiotics and fish--remember chloramphenicol and how it had a nasty habit of causing aplastic anemia in humans?  Well, it's fine for fish.  It won't hurt 'em.

                    Anyway, the best treatment is always prevention, even for aquarium fish.  Every fish geek knows that.

                    It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.--James Thurber

                    by Ice Blue on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 10:38:57 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Its a lot cheaper (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  G2geek

                  and basically the same stuff.  If I didn't have insurance, I am quite sure that I would be using at least a couple of pet meds.

                  Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

                  by barbwires on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 05:04:35 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  veterinary supply stores, some pet stores (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mem from somerville, G2geek, Ice Blue

            offer OTC antibiotics for animals and the "survival" tip you can read all over the place (including on the FluWiki!) is to stock up on these. They say that these are food-grade and acceptable for human use if you adjust the dosage. I don't know how many people are actually doing this, but it is widespread information.

            "We did not come here to fear the future, we came to shape it." --BHO "Grab a mop." --BHO

            by sillia on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 08:32:20 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Aquarium stores sell OTC antibiotics. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              G2geek, sillia

              In fact, I've seen the exact same tetramyacin caps bubble packed and hanging on the wall of pet stores that my mother used to take for her acne.

              It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.--James Thurber

              by Ice Blue on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 10:03:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  People buy fish antibiotics too n/t (0+ / 0-)

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 08:47:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Disagree on antibiotic use by physicians. (0+ / 0-)

        Still handed out like pez in hospital my wife worked at (Westchester county NY) and by doctors, though it is getting better, slowly. Also, the amount of elderly terminal patients receiving vancomycin therapy for MRSA is frightening.

        "The central tenet of Buddhism is not 'Every man for himself'" - A Fish Called Wanda

        by the fan man on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:46:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Quarantine procedures are substandard here. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek, Ice Blue, James Philip Pratt

          In Norway, medical personnel who test positive for MRSA are given sick leave. Any chance of that happening here? Norway's example make hospitals places for sick people to get well, not for social gatherings. Hospitals here used to be like that but the recognition that family presence helped recovery led to hospitals becoming much more than recovery centers.

          From one article:

          Aker University Hospital is a dingy place to heal. The floors are streaked and scratched. A light layer of dust coats the blood pressure monitors. A faint stench of urine and bleach wafts from a pile of soiled bedsheets dropped in a corner.

          Look closer, however, at a microscopic level, and this place is pristine. There is no sign of a dangerous and contagious staph infection that killed tens of thousands of patients in the most sophisticated hospitals of Europe, North America and Asia this year, soaring virtually unchecked.

          The reason: Norwegians stopped taking so many drugs.

          Doctors track each case of MRSA by its individual strain, interviewing patients about where they've been and who they've been with, testing anyone who has been in contact with them.

          Haug unlocks the dispensary, a small room lined with boxes of pills, bottles of syrups and tubes of ointment. What's here? Medicines considered obsolete in many developed countries. What's not? Some of the newest, most expensive antibiotics, which aren't even registered for use in Norway, "because if we have them here, doctors will use them," he says.

          He points to an antibiotic. "If I treated someone with an infection in Spain with this penicillin I would probably be thrown in jail," he says, "and rightly so because it's useless there."

          Norwegians are sanguine about their coughs and colds, toughing it out through low-grade infections.

          "We don't throw antibiotics at every person with a fever. We tell them to hang on, wait and see, and we give them a Tylenol to feel better," says Haug.

          Convenience stores in downtown Oslo are stocked with an amazing and colorful array - 42 different brands at one downtown 7-Eleven - of soothing, but non-medicated, lozenges, sprays and tablets. All workers are paid on days they, or their children, stay home sick. And drug makers aren't allowed to advertise, reducing patient demands for prescription drugs.

          In fact, most marketing here sends the opposite message: "Penicillin is not a cough medicine," says the tissue packet on the desk of Norway's MRSA control director, Dr. Petter Elstrom.

          He recognizes his country is "unique in the world and best in the world" when it comes to MRSA. Less than 1 percent of health care providers are positive carriers of MRSA staph.

          Solution to killer superbug found in Norway
          Of course the google ad in the article:
          Ads by Google

          PureGreen24 Disinfectant - Kills MRSA w/ 24hr Protection Non-Toxic + Fastest Kill Time - www.puregreen24.com

          "The central tenet of Buddhism is not 'Every man for himself'" - A Fish Called Wanda

          by the fan man on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 08:00:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The US doesn't even have any paid national holida (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            G2geek

            I think we are one of the only nations, if not the only nation, that doesn't.

            Single Payer represents a QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS MORE IN YOUR POCKET. Single payer isn't an "option"! Thats WHY it works!

            by Andiamo on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 10:43:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  In most of the EU (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            G2geek, the fan man

            you can also get excellent lozenges with codeine that stop a cough in its tracks with very little systemic intoxication.  Not legal in the US though.

            Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

            by barbwires on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 05:07:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  you gotta know where you've been (0+ / 0-)

          before you know where you're going.

          Much better than it used to be, but communities differ.

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 08:09:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My wife ( RN) on ICU in Westchester last year. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            James Philip Pratt

            No backwater at all. Agree with you on way back vs. forward, but it is slowwwww progess if we want to call it that. Vancomycin was frequently used right off the bat for MRSA, regardless of patient status.

            By the way, thanks for the post.

            "The central tenet of Buddhism is not 'Every man for himself'" - A Fish Called Wanda

            by the fan man on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 08:13:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  it's actually easier to control (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ice Blue

              in small community hospitals than in major med centers. Thanks for the comment.

              "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

              by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 09:01:15 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  The problem is worse in affluent communities (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ice Blue

            I'm sure you've seen that data. Pediatricians may be the front line in these cases.

            Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without - W S Coffin

            by stitchmd on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 10:18:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Poor people don't go to the doctor anymore (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              G2geek

              unless its a life or death situation. And even then, they often don't.

              Single Payer represents a QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS MORE IN YOUR POCKET. Single payer isn't an "option"! Thats WHY it works!

              by Andiamo on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 10:41:57 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  In USA what used to be hospital based MRSA (0+ / 0-)

      as the source of MRSA cases in the community has turned around with community based cases now the main contributor of MRSA in hospitals.  There is some effort to triage incoming patients that may have MRSA besides any other medical problem  so they can be handled as an infection risk.

      Lighting one candle in the darkness gets less attention than lighting one stick of dynamite.

      by OHdog on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 08:29:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I lost my father to this (7+ / 0-)

    A fairly low-risk kidney surgery got infected with this crap, and it killed him a couple of months later.

    I do believe in the power of stuff. - Sokka

    by Carakav on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 06:52:52 AM PDT

  •  Wrong, sort of. (0+ / 0-)

    Not technically, I suppose, because new drugs that the little bugs haven't seen are about the only way to kill them, but the one nation that has battled MRSA to a standstill followed the opposite approach: fewer, not more, drugs.

    Treating the problem as a mounting biological war is metaphorically appealing but goes against the grain of evolution.

    MRSA evolved as antibiotics selectively bred drug-resistant bacteria -- which is what happens when you kill most, but not all of a population.

    Carefully controlling antibiotic use -- and especially letting body defenses work their magic on minor infections eventually rights the ship.

    Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

    by dinotrac on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 06:54:08 AM PDT

    •  not wrong (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dinotrac, James Philip Pratt

      when you are in the hospital, that's not an option (see the money quote). But such meds need careful control.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:06:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Difference between population and patients. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stitchmd, James Philip Pratt

        Yes. A patient with MRSA is already lost to most drugs, which creates quite a Catch-22 for drug companies -- one that good health care reform could do something about.

        The total number of MRSA cases is relatively small -- at least if compared to something like the flu. A MRSA-only antibiotic would have to used in very limited circumstances, meaning it would also be very expensive.

        Worse, sensible antibiotic controls should reduce the number of MRSA infections, meaning demand for the drug(s) went lower and lower.

        Good news is bad news, so to speak.

        But, absolutely.  I'm not suggesting that we simply throw up arms and sacrifice people to MRSA, but that we do the things to make MRSA go away.

        Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

        by dinotrac on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:35:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  my kid's temperature soared from (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, G2geek, James Philip Pratt

    nothing to 106 in under 5 hours.

    The on call nurse at the insurance company wan't calling back to I just brought him to the nearest hospital and carried him in. He was dilerious but by the time I got there just sick. We slept on the floor waiting for space.

    The doc asked all the quesions about flu which of coourse he didn't have. No cough, no cold, nor runny nose, no sore throat, no, no, no, no. The flu test came back negative, doc said he didn't have flu. When I asked what caused the spike in temp she told me she didn't know, lots of things cause sickness.

    $1,500

    Next day I went to the regular pediatrician, Kaiser. Tested positive for staph.

    $30 plus $30 for the test.

    I keep wondering if the ER doc thought me another over cautious parent who  reads too much about the flu. I wasn't, no flu comes on like that.

    I paid for the hospital which was most of the $1,500, but the doc I had to get hard with, I offered the laywers, her bills stopped.

    "Don't fall or we both go" Derek Hersey

    by ban nock on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:03:53 AM PDT

    •  flu absolutely comes on that fast (3+ / 0-)

      not everything is flu, but certainly is in the differential diagnosis (the choice of possibilities), is one of the more common reasons for that high a spiking fever, and needs to be tested for or screened (cough, sore throat, yes/no.) They have to ask about it.

      Without a source (see the money quote; Tony had a scrape as well as a swollen knee), it's a tougher diagnosis to make properly. Can't do it without tests (a blood culture, or a nasal swab.)

      Nothing is free.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:10:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Rapid testing is part of the answer. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, OHdog

      Traditional tests for everything from albicans, e.coli, staph, e.faecalis  can take days, new tests which are inexpensive can be made in hours now.

      But here's the thing: most of the larger hospitals are so damn set in their ways, they won't adopt new diagnostic techniques. Something tells me it was a large hospital you took him to, too. I swear, the bigger the hospitals are, the more dangerous they are getting.

      Your experience on the flip side [thank goodness your son's staff was apparently not resistant] a blessing, and yet another illustration of severe problems with American health care hierarchy.

      How to fight the fascist right? Register people to vote.

      by shpilk on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 08:46:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've had several (4+ / 0-)

    I had my first skin staph infection in Bolivia, got bit by an ant and scratched the bite with dirty fingernails.   I got several more "furunculos" in Bolivia and Brazil but they were all relatively easily cured, generally I could just squeeze the infection and out would pop the "carnegao", a semi-solid mass of grossness.  In Brazil at the hospitals the doctors didn't even bother with medicines, I guess they'd seen enough of them to know what to do, just get some scissors and cut the damn thing out. Not pleasant but effective.  
    Then in the States I got one and it didn't respond to squeezing out the infection and kept growing.  I went to a clinic and they sent me to the hospital. They didn't freak out in front of me, but they were obviously freaked b/c they gave me a room and an IV drip of vancomycin, or "Gorilla-cillin" as the doctor called it.  It took about 4 days for it to go away, plus a nice phat hospital bill.
    Having been out of the country for a few years I didn't know that recently a wave of MRSA had been shocking people.  The reason why my doctors freaked was b/c the week before an otherwise healthy teenage wrestler had died from an MRSA infection.
    I haven't had any since, but I am very nervous about the potential...

  •  Dr. Stuart Levy has been trying to warn us since (6+ / 0-)

    the 1970s about Darwin and the ability of bacteria to adapt. In 1981, Stu Levy started the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics.

    Look, I'm no Luddite, but we do travel down some roads at great peril to our common well being.

    This is a "war" we cannot win.

    Occam's Razor tells us that Darwin wins.
    Always.

    Frankly, our acculturated hubris and confidence is a potentially a very dangerous thing. We as a society and scientific community have got to stop blindly internalizing this belief that technology conquers all. Because it cannot.

    How to fight the fascist right? Register people to vote.

    by shpilk on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:08:02 AM PDT

    •  no question (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ice Blue

      though the issues with MRSA specifically are less at the hospital/doc/technology end and more at the USDA/farm end these days.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:12:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not sure I can agree with that. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stitchmd

        The most dangerous of these repositories of these resistant vectors are found in hospital/clinic settings.

        People are not dying from AB resistant strains from eating food. Not yet, anyway. There's very little data to support that inter species antibiotic resistance is a major player [yet] in this dynamic; have there been cases showing where AB resistance in the food chain is related to human health issues on a wide scale?

        I have yet to hear of it.

        Or maybe I am being daft, and totally misunderstanding your comment.

        How to fight the fascist right? Register people to vote.

        by shpilk on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:50:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  read the book (4+ / 0-)

          the agricultural vector is huge.

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:59:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, of course it is .. very large. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            G2geek, stitchmd, obnoxiotheclown

            I've posted about the use of antibiotics in farms, years ago myself. I haven't read this book.

            But I don't think there's any proof that shows farm bred vectors are causative in the bulk of the epidemic of the current antibiotic resistance spreading through our health system, hospitals, clinics ..

            This part may be correct, but it doesn't explain what proceeded before.  

            MRSA is a perfect example of this, because what I consider the "third epidemic" of MRSA — MRSA ST398, or livestock-associated MRSA — began in pigs, spread to farmworkers and their social networks, and then spread beyond them to cause very serious illnesses in humans who have no connection to farming. The evolution of ST398 was clearly driven by agricultural use of antibiotics; if you look at the susceptibility profiles of the first cases, you can see that the bug is resistant to drugs that were given to pigs.

            Potentially this is a scary prospect, but so far it's a minor player in the overall scheme; ironically, it's not clear if perhaps a human truly had the resistant infection first and then spread it to the animals, either. [not that it matters much in this case; the resistance simply could not continue if animals were not routinely fed antibiotics].

            No doubt inter-species transmission is a threat.

            The solution is quite simple, since these animals are in no need of these drugs, to begin with. Stop using antibiotics as prophylactics, much as it is with humans.

            When will the FDA make a determination [if ever] banning their use? Highly unlikely, given the massive amounts of money at stake for pharmaceutical companies.

             

            How to fight the fascist right? Register people to vote.

            by shpilk on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 08:22:20 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Read Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              G2geek

              if you haven't already. Most infectious disease originates in livestock. This seems astonishing, but Diamond lays it out in a very comprehensible way.

              "We did not come here to fear the future, we came to shape it." --BHO "Grab a mop." --BHO

              by sillia on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 08:44:32 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm familiar with the concept and find it lacking (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                OHdog

                intellectual rigor. There was an article in Nature about this a few years back and I thought it was totally off the wall in quite a few places.

                But hey, that's my opinion, FWIW.

                The human organism and all animals constantly crawl with bacteria. It's always been part of our existence, and infectious disease was surely part of human culture before we began herding animals.  

                Tempting Darwin with antibiotics, making resistant strains and having that bacteria jump species is no doubt happening, but I really question that anyone can show this is a significant player. I think most of the resistance problems are still related to human use of antibiotics, within human communities.

                How to fight the fascist right? Register people to vote.

                by shpilk on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 08:59:41 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  What about flu, then? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  G2geek

                  Influenza virus is a model for how this transfer from animal host to human host can take place. The DNA studies of the 1918 flu strain show convincingly that this was/is a bird virus. Jeffrey Taubenberger did the sequencing, with the result:

                  "Analysis of all eight genes showed the Spanish flu came directly from a bird virus and moved into humans after slowly mutating."

                  From a summary of 1918 Spanish flu study on PBS NewsHour.

                  In fact, all flu originated in birds, with the possibility of an intermediate host (swine) as well. This used to be just a hypothesis, but now they can read the DNA in the virus itself and see it for a fact.

                  "We did not come here to fear the future, we came to shape it." --BHO "Grab a mop." --BHO

                  by sillia on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 10:01:04 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Birds aren't livestock. (0+ / 0-)

                    There are vectors for flu, of course.

                    Wanna talk about livestock, there's always prions.

                    But I'm not buying that what we've seen so far with antibiotic resistant bacteria in human pathology has much to do with livestock.

                    That can change.  

                    How to fight the fascist right? Register people to vote.

                    by shpilk on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 11:40:28 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  huh? (0+ / 0-)

                      Domesticated fowl aren't livestock? Oh, well, never mind. Just believe whatever you want.

                      "We did not come here to fear the future, we came to shape it." --BHO "Grab a mop." --BHO

                      by sillia on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 12:27:31 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  check out China (0+ / 0-)

                      fed tamiflu to domestic fowl, resistant flu is a consequence. link

                      Farmers in China started feeding the drugs to their chickens as a way of keeping the poultry safe from avian flu.

                      But in the process, the avian virus appears to have found a way to be resistant to the drug.

                      Consequently, 30 percent of the avian flu samples recently analyzed by the study authors proved resistant to the adamantane drugs.

                      keep an open mind or you'll sound like the guy waiting for proof smoking causes cancer, or that global warming is real.

                      Let's just say the data accumulates over times.

                      In the meantime, there are issues besides bacterial resistance:

                      The federal government and virtually all public health agencies oppose consumption of raw milk because it can carry dangerous bacteria including E. coli 0157:H7, listeria and campylobacter. Last month, 13 people in Michigan were sickened by campylobacter in an outbreak tied to raw milk sold at a northern Indiana farm.
                      Raw milk drinkers argue they should be allowed to decide whether to take the risk. Many who drink raw milk believe the unprocessed, non-homogenized version is more nutritious and can help with ailments such as allergies, asthma and gastrointestinal issues, though public health agencies and nearly every major medical association in the country say those benefits are unproven.

                      http://dailyme.com/...

                      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

                      by Greg Dworkin on Wed Apr 28, 2010 at 06:07:30 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  It is huge (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            shpilk, createpeace

            but the majority of these infections in the community are spread from person to person. The outpatients I have seen it in (and many are confirmed by culture) have been daycare workers, lower level healthcare workers (nursing aides, for example, who do a lot of the linen changing, etc.) and frankly athletes, a bit of which was noted in the article above. Athletic transmission occurs with other conditions, too; one kid got a wicked herpes infection from an athletic mat.

            Agriculture may be a big source of the antibiotics, but the transmission for infection is still primarily human to human.

            Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without - W S Coffin

            by stitchmd on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 10:24:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  true but the evolution of the bugs (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              G2geek

              occurs in the ag setting first.

              other illnesses like E Coli 0157 are more direct  ag-human.

              "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

              by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 10:49:59 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Another aspect of this though (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shpilk

      is some people use the same argument as a reason for not vaccinating.  Which comes with its own set of other issues--spreading infection to the larger community that could be controlled.  

      The recent legislation in Arizona threatens to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans. --B. Obama

      by mem from somerville on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:20:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No no no .. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        James Philip Pratt

        there's a difference between treating an infection and using a device like vaccination.

        Please, do not confuse what I am saying here.

        Read my follow up post: I have some quite detailed knowledge here - I wish I had the "OK" to really let it rip, but I am shall we say 'constrained' from doing that, for personal reasons.

        How to fight the fascist right? Register people to vote.

        by shpilk on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:51:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I understand that-- (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shpilk

          but what I'm saying is that there are people out there who are saying, "Oh, my kid shouldn't take pharma products because they should strengthen their immune system" and "viruses will just evolve anyway".

          My point is that there is an education piece that has to be carefully handled.  The appropriate use of these things can't be dissed either.

          The recent legislation in Arizona threatens to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans. --B. Obama

          by mem from somerville on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:58:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Agree. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DemFromCT

            There will always be agenda driven arguments that will twist and distort facts to match some sort of prefabricated outcome.

            We're supposed to have this thing called a 'free press' that's supposed to be a bulwark against that from getting traction. But that's mostly dead and gone in this brave new world.

            So we are left with [yes I'm overstating this to the extreme, but lately I despair in finding much except extremes] on the one hand the dynamics of no-nothing religious fundamentalism, and on the other drug companies and their profits as they try to market antibiotics as fast as they can make and create them.

            .. and we are caught in the middle. May god or whomever it is that might watch over us, help us all.

            How to fight the fascist right? Register people to vote.

            by shpilk on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 08:05:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not going to go into details here because (7+ / 0-)

      of personal reasons, but I have connections with people involved directly with cutting edge technology in the field.

      Stu Levy, whom I note above I have met personally.

      I debated posting this, but feel it's important to the discussion at hand. People need to know the truth about the inner workings and dynamics.

      I took college level biology and a micro biology course, years ago and god knows, I'm no expert. It's not my field. So I can get some details not quite right, and will be the first to admit that. But I can read some quite in depth medical literature and actually understand it enough to know what the hell is going on, and it's frightening.

      There are really important diagnostic tests that are languishing below the radar - the ability to detect rapidly and accurately critters like  Staphylococcus aureus are available, reducing lengths of hospital stays, reducing and/or totally eliminating the shotgun approach to using postoperative  [or WORSE and most unethically prophylactically] intravenous vancomycin.

      Want to avoid getting a resistant infection?
      One of the best things you can possibly do if you have to have an operation is to get the hell out of the hospital as soon as possible after wards.

      Now for these tests, I say these are 'languishing below the radar' because there is serious pushback from "old school" medicine that just doesn't care that it can take up to 48 hours to get an answer on blood culture.

      Very few hospitals have adopted these new diagnostic techniques, continue to pump their patients full of antibiotics, without having test results.

      Internal politics and dynamics as administrators, heads of ID [infectious disease staffs] and heads of labs argue about whose "turf it is" to get the best tests in a given hospital are resulting patients dying. That's god's honest truth.

      I'll be quite blunt here: I know people intimately on the inside of this process and some of the "largest and most prestigious" hospitals are staffed by imperious and rigid administrators, doctors and lab heads who are more than happy to tell you that "we've always done things this way, and we're not changing".

      {I had to seriously edit the more colorful metaphors I used at first when describing these people}.

      Simply and frankly: people are needlessly dying in hospitals because of a turf wars between the arrayed political forces that operate inside these institutions.

      And, it's going to get worse.
      Much worse.

      MRSA may be the least of our problems.

      http://www.nytimes.com/...

      We are starting to enter a new period of gram-negative bacterial resistance, which can make MRSA look like a walk in the park.

      Read the article.  

      How to fight the fascist right? Register people to vote.

      by shpilk on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:45:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  MRSA is only one of the possibilities (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shpilk, G2geek, OHdog, wilderness voice

        I acquired c. difficile in the hospital.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 08:54:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There are tests using fluorescent markers (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          barbwires, G2geek, OHdog, wa ma

          for albicans, difficle, [gram neg] aeruginosa .. I just used staph as people are most familiar with it.

          Hey, at least you had a gram positive infection!

          The gram negative bacteria are nasty, all by themselves. There's simply not much in the way of any drugs to fight them, due to the nature of how these things are constructed. Sulfa stopped working long ago on most of these critters.

           

          How to fight the fascist right? Register people to vote.

          by shpilk on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 09:10:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  and there are increasing problems (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shpilk, barbwires, wilderness voice

          with C. diff also becoming resistant to antibiotics. Bad, bad stuff.

          Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without - W S Coffin

          by stitchmd on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 10:26:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  C. diff (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            G2geek, wilderness voice

            usually shows up after/during high dose antibiotics.  One really good idea is to get active cultures to replace intestinal flora after any high dose antibiotic.  (Not activia, but something consideralbly more potent).

            Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

            by barbwires on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 05:13:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  it is increasingly transmitted person to person (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              G2geek

              particularly in hospitals and long term care facilities, and it is running rampant in some. It's a big problem. Transmission of C. diff also is not prevented by using alcohol, unlike other organisms. It requires careful hand washing with soap and water.

              Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without - W S Coffin

              by stitchmd on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 05:16:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  The probiotic that has been used most (0+ / 0-)

              successfully after C. diff. infection is Saccharomyces boulardii. It's available commercially but may be more effective to prevent re-infection than to significantly change the course of an ongoing infection.

              Lighting one candle in the darkness gets less attention than lighting one stick of dynamite.

              by OHdog on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 08:44:03 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  There is some other new technology (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shpilk, G2geek, wa ma

        for diagnosis, not yet out of the development stage, that will blow everything else out of the water in terms of quick, easy, cheap, accurate i.d. of organisms found in the blood. I am told several years away from being available.

        However, you are right that even that may not overcome the resistance to change in many places. It is unfortunately human nature and a big stumbling block in scientific advancement. (Think of Galileo.)

        Richard Feynman (or somebody like that?) said, "Science advances one funeral at a time" meaning, new understanding is often not accepted until the old farts die off.

        "We did not come here to fear the future, we came to shape it." --BHO "Grab a mop." --BHO

        by sillia on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 09:13:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  btw (0+ / 0-)

      here are the two of them (McKenna and Levy) together:

      http://www.npr.org/...

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 01:37:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Infectious disease will always be a threat. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, OHdog

    All large flora and fauna require microbes to process their nutrients. We can't sanitize all bacteria and mold from the world and we would go extinct if we tried. Microbial mutation is inevitable and the spread of mutated populations is rapid. Genetic diversity is necessary to human survival as is weather and the planetary dynamics that cause plate tectonics, so we better just plan for possible consequences and never become over confident.

  •  I had MSSA last March (7+ / 0-)

    In 2009 I had an encounter with MSSA: Methicillin-Sensitive Staphylococcus Aureus.  It is the lesser cousin of MRSA and usually can be treated.  

    Out of nowhere I picked up 5 wounds on my "right side" ... ok, my butt.  In 3 days they penetrated through the muscle and down to the bone, rupturing along the way.  Luckily we found an antibio that held them in check.  Each of the wounds had to be debreeded (surgically scraped clean) and I was on a wound-vac (wonder machine!) for several months.  

    This is nasty nasty stuff, but luckily I only had the treatable junior version.  It took an infectious disease specialist to find a drug that stopped further outbreaks.  He tells me that MSSA is becoming drug resistant. As an aside, thank you Dr. Ginsberg for your efforts and our many talks about the Red Sox.

    To this day, when I need other surgeries I have to be the last one in the operating room that day.  Because I previously had MSSA, the safety procs call for a complete cleaning of the entire operating room after I have been in it: scrub the walls, lights switches and strings, sterilize every instrument, etc.  This takes them 3 hours.  All this for the milder version of MRSA.  



    dfbell

    Be concerned, very concerned.

    H. L. Mencken noted that Alf Landon "simply lacks the power to inflame the boobs."

    by DavoInRI on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:16:29 AM PDT

  •  Offshore Drilling Causes MRSA To Spread To The (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk

    earth's environment, so it is time for Obama to reverse his ill advised hokey bi-partisan relationship with the plague.

  •  Ronald Reagan Gutted Medical Research (5+ / 0-)

    Now we have many erectile dysfunction drugs and few antibiotics that work.

    American Heart Association: Diet Soda can cause type 2 Diabetes.

    by jeffrey789 on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:21:32 AM PDT

  •  there are other reviews of Superbug (6+ / 0-)

    this by my blogger friend Mike Coston:

    Yet, incredibly . . .

       
           * 50% of health care workers fail to consistently wash their hands between patients.
           * Hospitals often rely on `passive’ detection instead of active surveillance for MRSA
           * MRSA is still not a `notifiable disease’ in many states preventing uniform and accurate surveillance and reporting
           * Millions of pounds of antibiotics are used for non-therapeutic use on farms in order to `promote animal growth’.
           * And we ignore the spread of MRSA in fertile breeding grounds like prisons that continually send the pathogen back out into the community.

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:30:54 AM PDT

  •  MRSA has infected some in my huband's family (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fcvaguy, shpilk, G2geek

    my small niece got it from day care, then her father got it, then my SIL got it. It shows up as small boils that if caught early do not seem to be a big problem. My BIL almost died from a wound that was infected with it.

    How are clear family members supposed to protect themselves from getting it? How safe are their bathrooms? I think that information needs to be out there.

    "The Church has many that God does not have; God has many the Church does not have" St. Augustine

    by createpeace on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:32:15 AM PDT

  •  My wife was recently released from the hosp. (9+ / 0-)

    because of this disease. She was in the Hosp. for approx.23 days and during that time she had to have 27 operations just to clean out the wounds.

    My wife is bed-bound for the most part and was originally misdiagnosed by a P.A. at our local clinic. By the time we realized just how sick she was she was within hrs of death. To make matters worse the EMTs first accused her of abusing her meds because she was so sick she was totally disoriented. I had to threaten to sue them if they didn't transport her to the ER.
    Once my wife came home we had a home nurse come to the house twice a day just to change her dressings, slowly decreasing the days and time over the next 6 weeks. All this started from a ingrown hair that got infected under the surface. The amount of pain my wife withstood during this time was damn near impossible to watch. For the most part the Drs. and Nurses went to extraordinary to make sure she stayed as pain free as possible. Bless them all.

    "Maybe the American eagle should be replaced with the ostrich."

    by SmileySam on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:35:55 AM PDT

  •  You WILL be interested in hearing THIS (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drofx, G2geek, Ice Blue, OHdog, createpeace

    Many plant phytochemicals can act as antibiotics or antibacterials, but they have a unique, to say the least, side effect profile (they are beneficial)  They kill pathogens and when combined with traditional abx/antibacterials they can wipe out MRSA MUCH faster than antibiotics alone..

    PubMed for quercetin and mrsa and then look at the results and the related articles..

    This is new research.

    quercetin, resveratrol, curcumin, EGCG, etc. are good places to start (easy to integrate into your diet..) but there are hundreds of them..

    Single Payer represents a QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS MORE IN YOUR POCKET. Single payer isn't an "option"! Thats WHY it works!

    by Andiamo on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:36:08 AM PDT

    •  It's an interesting potential adjunct treatment, (0+ / 0-)

      but the data is inconclusive. There have been some studies in Europe that show some promise.

      But again, we're talking about bullets that should not be needed, if antibiotic use protocol was changed.

      How to fight the fascist right? Register people to vote.

      by shpilk on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:58:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  alternative remedies saved me (5+ / 0-)

      I picked up MRSA a few years ago, probably from the locker room, and got an abscess on my butt that was huge and horrible, along with several smaller boils on arms and legs.  I figured it was useless to bother with the docs, hospitals, antibiotics, etc, and instead used several alternatives. (Groan, this will no doubt bring out the allopaths, goddocs, and medical students screaming bloody murder to which I say go fuck yourselves, because this worked).

      1. Vitamin D - get your levels up so your immune system has a fighting chance.
      1. Pleo Not Ointment - it's a gasp, horrors,  homeopathic remedy, but it was killer effective on the abscess and boils.
      1. Colloidal silver - also quite effective topically
      1. Monolaurin - a "natural" antibiotic that I took internally

      There was more, but just this is probably signing my cyber death warrant around here because I didn't use an "approved" drug or vaccine...

      •  lot of snake oil there (0+ / 0-)

        just glad you're better.

        "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

        by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 09:03:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  showing some bias? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek, wilderness voice

          of course it's "snake oil" because no double-blind placebo-controlled clinical studies have been or ever will be run. Ergo, we can dismiss these things that may actually help people.

          •  biased? (3+ / 0-)

            yeah, you betcha, toward science. Studies have to be reproducible.

            Run the studies. That which works will be accepted, that which doesn't will be discarded.

            There's a whole Alt med division at NIH for that.

            http://nccam.nih.gov/

            If all you want to do is push unproven therapies, try Huffington Post.

            "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

            by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 09:22:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  yes, biased (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wilderness voice

              you know full well the studies will never be run on most of these "snake oils", nccam or not. The bias is in favor of profit-driven pharmaceuticals, many of which are barely above placebo in effectiveness.  They are healthy for profits however, and get the studies.

            •  whoa there. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              drofx, wilderness voice

              Assuming Drofx isn't lying (reasonable assumption), what we have here is either:

              a) A difficult-to-treat condition resolved spontaneously (unlikely),

              b) Placebo effect on an infectious disease organism (should be studied further),

              c) Two or more of the PT's treatments had a combined effect (ditto), or

              d) One of the PT's treatments had an effect by itself (ditto).  

              It's unwise to dismiss a first-hand anecdotal report out of hand.  Referring a layperson to NIH is a shoddy debating tactic.

              What's needed is a means by which to gather up these kinds of anecdotal reports and then feed them into the NIH system; and then we need to follow them up with government-sponsored research, far more extensively than present budgets allow.  

              Yes, even the "snake oil."  It might turn out to be the next tea tree oil.  

              •  double whoa there (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                quotemstr

                anyone pushing colloidal silver is out there. there's no 'anecdotal' about it. The plural of anecdote is not data, and it's completely irrelevant. It is not science, which drofx well knows.

                Colloidal Silver: Risk Without Benefit

                Colloidal silver is a suspension of submicroscopic metallic silver particles in a colloidal base. Long-term use of silver preparations can lead to argyria, a condition in which silver salts deposit in the skin, eyes, and internal organs, and the skin turns ashen-gray. Many cases of argyria occurred during the pre-antibiotic era when silver was a common ingredient in nosedrops.

                When the cause became apparent, doctors stopped recommending their use, and reputable manufacturers stopped producing them. The official drug guidebooks (United States Pharmacopeia and National Formulary) have not listed colloidal silver products since 1975.

                http://www.quackwatch.org/...

                "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

                by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 06:35:38 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  PS (0+ / 0-)

                Some of this stuff is proven snake oil, and potentially dangerous. That's why I recommended the CAM section of NIH.

                The commenter gets no free pass on this.

                "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

                by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 06:40:30 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  PPS from NIH (0+ / 0-)

                Scientific Evidence

                Reviews of the scientific literature on colloidal silver products have concluded that:

                   * Silver has no known function in the body
                   * Silver is not an essential mineral supplement or a cure-all and should not be promoted as such
                   * Claims that there can be a "deficiency" of silver in the body and that such a deficiency can lead to disease are unfounded
                   * Claims made about the effectiveness of colloidal silver products for numerous diseases are unsupported scientifically
                   * Colloidal silver products can have serious side effects
                   * Laboratory analysis has shown that the amounts of silver in supplements vary greatly, which can pose risks to the consumer.

                http://nccam.nih.gov/...

                "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

                by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 06:42:07 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  more.... (0+ / 0-)

                The FDA issued a ruling in 1999 that no products containing colloidal silver are generally recognized as safe and effective. In addition, the FDA and the FTC have sent warning letters to the operators of many Web sites that market colloidal silver with drug-like claims (i.e., claims that their products diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease).

                http://nccam.nih.gov/...

                I take great exception to your comment, including

                It's unwise to dismiss a first-hand anecdotal report out of hand.  

                and

                Referring a layperson to NIH is a shoddy debating tactic.

                In point of fact, the NIH site, which I am very familiar with, is excellent for fact finding. And this is a safety issue.

                You're just wrong.

                "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

                by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 06:48:22 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I use the silver topically (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  wilderness voice

                  On a repeated basis, I have demonstrated to myself and my wife that boils treated with silver immediately reduce and then disappear in a couple of days, whereas if left untreated they become nasty.  Silver has long been known to have antimicrobial properties. As for turning blue, um, I seriously doubt a few dabs on a boil will cause that to happen, snicker.  Hasn't yet, anyway.

                  Sorry about the FDA, they have little cred left in my book.

                  I do believe if the medical profession truly wants to help people, no stone should be left unturned in finding new treatments.  However, being realistic (and how big is that nccam budget?), I know that won't happen as long as big pharma runs the show.

                  •  there are always unscrupulous people (0+ / 0-)

                    willing to sell nostrums like colloidal silver.

                    Obviously, there are willing buyers.

                    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

                    by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 08:16:14 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  well (0+ / 0-)

                      the problem (for you) is many of these "nostrums" sold by your supposed unscrupulous people actually work.  I just described how the colloidal silver has worked for me on a repeated basis, saving me a lot of time, trouble and $$.  In addition, there is a biochemical basis for silver as an antibiotic. You disingenuously hide behind "science", knowing that economics trumps science in our world, and you will never see double blind studies on these unpatentable items.  It's easy enough to dismiss everything not a prescription drug by simply repeating your mantra, "no studies, snake oil, huffington post!".

                      Meanwhile, the public is abused with prescription drugs, the sledge hammer approach, working barely above placebo and full of side effects, not to mention expensive. It's really scandalous, imo.

      •  Nano-silver has been used as a residual long (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        drofx

        lasting surface disinfectant. Some colloidal preps probably have enough nano-Ag particles to be effective. The internal use (i.e. drinking and even IV use) of colloidal silver is the aspect of misuse the FDA has specifically warned about and which leads to turning blue.
        Monolaurin and some other long chain fatty acids are ..antibacterial and well tolerated.

        Lighting one candle in the darkness gets less attention than lighting one stick of dynamite.

        by OHdog on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 09:00:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  My Mom died of Alzheimer's (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, Ice Blue

    But technically, MRSA killed her.

    I'm not sure why, but many Alzheimer's patients get urinary tract infections. She had several. One trip to the hospital, she got MRSA and she never recovered.

    •  Please read this.. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shpilk, G2geek, Ice Blue, createpeace

      The best thing for UTIs is Cranberry juice extract in gelcap form. I would be surprised if cranberries were not on the short list of extremely beneficial substances against MRSA..

      They are amazing health wise.. All of these substances below are major cancer fighters too.

      They have cranberry extract caps at Costco, Walgreens, etc. Its really good.

      Also green tea extract. either tea (you have to drink a lot) or EGCG in capsules.. Its also good for creativity. It increases your alpha waves.

      see my other post on the MRSA connection. (The Latin name for tea is Camellia sinensis.)

      Also, quercetin (very good against MRSA) and resveratrol both have a multitude of diverse anti-bacterial properties.

      Think about it. Plants have evolved these substances over millions of years to fight pathogens.

      Single Payer represents a QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS MORE IN YOUR POCKET. Single payer isn't an "option"! Thats WHY it works!

      by Andiamo on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 08:00:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh I agree 100% (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shpilk, barbwires, G2geek, sillia, createpeace

        I have my own bladder issues - cancer. So, I'm quite familiar with the benefits of anti-oxidants. I'm totally convinced that one gallon of green tea a day has kept me 100% recurrence free in 5 years - which is remarkable given this type of cancer has one of the highest rates of recurrence.

        •  Thats GREAT! wow.. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fcvaguy, G2geek

          I wish you decades of health and happiness! You will do it!

          Ive been drinking a lot of tea recently too. Its great stuff on many different levels.

          Far better than coffee for your health.. (although coffee has some benefits too)

          I'm lucky to live near some great food stores that have a wide variety of teas.

          I am convinced that tea (also curry, etc, for similar reasons) are a significant part of the reason why a number of Asian cultures have managed to largely thrive under what would be fairly adverse conditions (overpopulation-wise) without it.

          People have been drinking tea for thousands of years.

          You are familiar with PubMed, right?

          Its a great resource.

          Single Payer represents a QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS MORE IN YOUR POCKET. Single payer isn't an "option"! Thats WHY it works!

          by Andiamo on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 10:02:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, all good ideas .. but please (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek

        always in concert with a medical health practitioner. As long as you make that clear, I agree.

        You make some excellent points, many of which I follow in our houselhold.

        How to fight the fascist right? Register people to vote.

        by shpilk on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 08:33:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If somebody has an infection, they should always (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek

          try to see a doctor. Always.

          Our system is broken if it doesn't make that as effortless as possible.

          Other countries do.

          Single Payer represents a QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS MORE IN YOUR POCKET. Single payer isn't an "option"! Thats WHY it works!

          by Andiamo on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 09:53:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  They HAVE TO STOP USING ANTIBIOTICS ON COWS (4+ / 0-)

    and other food animals..

    They routinely give them abx - to fatten them up!

    Ever wonder why you can't make yogurt from many brands of store bought milk?

    Thats why.

    Single Payer represents a QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS MORE IN YOUR POCKET. Single payer isn't an "option"! Thats WHY it works!

    by Andiamo on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:40:46 AM PDT

    •  this is a huge problem (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, James Philip Pratt

      and exactly why I asked the author about USDA.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:45:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Irresponsible antibiotic use (4+ / 0-)

      Using antibiotics in animal feed should be illegal, as should all use of animal parts in vegetarian animals' diet. This is a public health issue and the public will accept higher meat and egg prices if they are aware of the MRSA threat. I expect those price increase to be temporary, agriculture is a popular and competitive field. Imports from countries allowing these husbandry practices should also be banned.  The progressive community will have to be the educators and agitators because as the ACC 'controversy' has shown us politicians and their benefactors can ignore facts indefinitely as conditions go from bad to worse.

      •  Our system is broken if we can't MAKE politicians (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek

        fix that kind of thing, fast.

        Seriously.

        This is not democracy any more. Its a TV perversion of it, a parody of it.

        Single Payer represents a QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS MORE IN YOUR POCKET. Single payer isn't an "option"! Thats WHY it works!

        by Andiamo on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 02:37:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Recent research to read.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OHdog, James Philip Pratt

    Planta Med. 2008 Jun;74(8):840-6. Epub 2008 Jun 10.
    The effects of antibiotics combined with natural polyphenols against clinical methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

    Lin RD, Chin YP, Hou WC, Lee MH.

    Department of Internal Medicine, Ho-Ping Branch, Taipei City Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.
    Abstract

    Novel therapies are needed to address the public health problem posed by methicillin-resistant STAPHYLOCOCCUS AUREUS (MRSA). In this study, we determined the effects of combinations of antibiotics and plant polyphenols against 20 clinical isolates of MRSA. The IN VITRO activities of 10 antibiotics and 15 natural polyphenols against the isolates were evaluated by determining minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs). All isolates were susceptible to vancomycin and resistant to rifampicin, while susceptibilities to ciprofloxacin varied. Among the 15 natural polyphenols, kaempferol (3,4',5,7-tetrahydroxyflavone) and quercetin (3,3',4',5,7-pentahydroxyflavone) showed the lowest MICs. In checkerboard assays, combinations of rifampicin and either kaempferol or quercetin acted synergistically or partially synergistically against the clinical MRSA isolates. Rifampicin combined with kaempferol or quercetin exhibited good beta-lactamase inhibitory effects (57.8 % and 75.8 %, respectively) against a representative isolate according to nitrocefin analysis. The study results and ready availability and low toxicity of plant polyphenols warrant further investigations on the therapeutic potential of combination therapies for MRSA infections.

    PMID: 18546080 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

    Curr Microbiol. 2008 Dec;57(6):542-6. Epub 2008 Sep 10.
    Antibacterial effects of green tea polyphenols on clinical isolates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

    Cho YS, Schiller NL, Oh KH.

    Department of Biotechnology, Soonchunhyang University, P.O. Box 97, Asan, Chung-Nam 336-600, Republic of Korea.
    Abstract

    The antibacterial effects of tea polyphenols (TPP) extracted from Korean green tea (Camellia sinensis) against clinical isolates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) were evaluated. Characterization of the minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) of oxacillin for 30 S. aureus strains isolated from patients treated with oxacillin identified 13 strains with an oxacillin MIC >or= 4 microg/mL as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) (range: 8 to 512 microg/mL), while 17 strains were methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) (range: 0.25-0.5 microg/mL). The MICs of TPP ranged from 50 to 180 microg/mL for both the MSSA and the MRSA strains. The MICs of oxacillin for each of the 13 MRSA strains were reduced between 8- and 128-fold when these strains were coincubated with sub-MIC (<or= 0.5x MIC) levels of TPP, demonstrating that the combination of TPP plus oxacillin was synergistic for all of the clinical MRSA isolates. Two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis identified 14 extracellular proteins of MRSA-13 down-regulated and 3 proteins up-regulated by exposure to TPP. These studies demonstrate that TPP can differentially stimulate the expression of various proteins in these bacteria and synergize the bactericidal activity of oxacillin for MRSA.</p>

    PMID: 18781360 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

    J Basic Microbiol. 2005;45(2):106-14.
    Effect of certain bioactive plant extracts on clinical isolates of beta-lactamase producing methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

    Aqil F, Khan MS, Owais M, Ahmad I.

    Department of Agricultural Microbiology, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh--202002 India.
    Abstract

    Ethanolic extracts and some fractions from 10 Indian medicinal plants, known for antibacterial activity, were investigated for their ability to inhibit clinical isolates of beta-lactamase producing methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA). Synergistic interaction of plant extracts with certain antibiotics was also evaluated. The MRSA test strains were found to be multi-drug resistant and also exhibited high level of resistance to common beta-lactam antibiotics. These strains produced beta-lactamases, which hydrolyze one or other beta-lactam antibiotics, tested. The extract of the plants from Camellia sinensis (green tea leaves), Delonix regia (flowers), Holarrhena antidysenterica (bark), Lawsonia inermis (leaves), Punica granatum (rind), Terminalia chebula (fruits) and Terminalia belerica (fruits) showed a broad-spectrum of antibacterial activity with an inhibition zone size of 11 mm to 27 mm, against all the test bacteria. The extracts from the leaves of Ocimum sanctum showed better activity against the three MRSA strains. On the other hand, extracts from Allium sativum (bulb) and Citrus sinensis (rind) exhibited little or no activity, against MRSA strains. The antibacterial potency of crude extracts was determined in terms of minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) by the tube dilution method. MIC values, of the plant extracts, ranged from 1.3 to 8.2 mg/ml, against the test bacteria. Further, the extracts from Punica granatum and Delonix regia were fractionated in benzene, acetone and methanol. Antibacterial activity was observed in acetone as well as in the methanol fractions. In vitro synergistic interaction of crude extracts from Camellia sinensis, Lawsonia inermis, Punica granatum, Terminalia chebula and Terminalia belerica was detected with tetracycline. Moreover, the extract from Camellia sinensis also showed synergism with ampicillin.TLC of the above extracts revealed the presence of major phytocompounds, like alkaloids, glycosides, flavonoids, phenols and saponins. TLC-bioautography indicated phenols and flavonoids as major active compounds.

    PMID: 15812867 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

    and so on.. There are MANY of these papers..

    Some of these substances have the potential to revolutionize medicine.

    Single Payer represents a QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS MORE IN YOUR POCKET. Single payer isn't an "option"! Thats WHY it works!

    by Andiamo on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:45:11 AM PDT

  •  MRSA can't be solved medically or scientifically (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk

    MRSA is a public health issue that antibiotics can only delay. We have to limit anitbiotic issue carefully or risk a drug versus bacterial evolutionary arms race science can't win.
    Red Queen Effect:
    "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!".

  •  Hyperbaric Therapy Stopped MRSA Cold (8+ / 0-)

    My 42-year-old brother, his immune system compromised by the chemo and radiation treatment that had stopped his aggressive cancer (and also destroyed 4" of his esophagus), was on his fourth month of thousand-dollar-a-week anti-MRSA antiboitics, and getting progressively worse, when I finally convinced him to try hyperbaric therapy. Hyperbaric therapy is the high-pressure, 100% oxygen treatment they use for divers who have surfaced too quickly. It is also an accepted treatment for MRSA. Within 20 days, (20 sessions), of beginning hyperbaric treatment, his symptoms had subsided dramatically, and within forty days, his MRSA symptoms had vanished, and he was discharged. A year later he continues in good health, the chemo brain he had experienced prior to the hyperbaric treatment is gone, (hyperbaric therapy is also an accepted adjunct therapy for strokes), and he is back running his development business ten hours a day. See nyp.org/hyperbaric.html or wikipedia.com on byperbaric therapy.

    •  That's really sad (0+ / 0-)

      I see your post. I see another recommending colloidal silver. I've had other people mention tea tree oil.

      These are all signs of desperation. There are no double-blind studies that show that they work, but people can make a lot of money from junk science as long as real science isn't around to beat them.

  •  It's serious stuff.. (4+ / 0-)

    I've had multiple MRSA infections and had some "big gun" antibiotics treating it. Mine started with a staph infection of the skin, a small spot on my shin which suddenly erupted, with a terrible condition called cellulitis. High fever, severe pain, skin swollen and turning purplish red, and ultimately damage to the lymph and nervous systems.  Even when it's gone, it's not gone, and like herpes will erupt again.

    It's a common problem with diabetics, poor circulation and nerve damage lead to poor healing and missing pain queues (numbness with pain, but mostly phantom pain in random places, yet missing the pain of an infection).

    In 2006 I contracted a sepsus condition and spent 27 days in the hospital, about 3 days away from death. That was about the most miserable time of my entire existence (I was 59 at the time..) but I recovered.

    I don't recommend it, friends. Nor diabetes. And it can come from anywhere, staph infection sources are all around us, our skin is vulnerable, and any compromise in our immune system lowers the gate for it.

    It's one way to get a private room in the hospital! ;->

    "The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane." -Mark Twain

    by Elvis Engineer on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 08:17:16 AM PDT

    •  Been there (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek

      and still doing it. Still sensitive to the pain-which I guess is a good thing, in terms of detecting a problem.  Living with it for months at a time is a lot harder.

      Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

      by barbwires on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 05:21:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  as a medical student from down under (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Billy3

      I'm kinda horrified by all the MRSA stories coming out--especially when, as you point out, it's not hard to stop. It's so easy, I don't know wtf this insanity is.

      •  Norway solution was back to basics vs. new tech. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek

        Which is what made it interesting and hopeful on how to deal with the problem caused by over use of new drugs and lack of basic health skills.

      •  It's so easy.. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        barbwires, OHdog

        until YOU have a MRSA infection.

        Frankly, having suffered from it and related problems, it rather pisses me off to have someone being so flip about it.

        It's NOT so easy to deal with when you're infected.

        Simply sitting back and allowing your own immune system to deal with it can end up costing you a limb, or your life.

        "The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane." -Mark Twain

        by Elvis Engineer on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 09:29:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  to be fair (0+ / 0-)

          I think they were talking about prevention, not therapy.

          Still, even that isn't as easy as all that.

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 09:39:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Boring solution vs. "INFECTIONS GONE WILD"! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DemFromCT

            To be fair, if we don't take the boring solution we will have an infection gone wild.

          •  yeah...prevention (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DemFromCT

            I don't know why that sounded as if I were talking about therapy. Therapy's the last resort, you've already missed the goal if you're on therapy, because the aim is always prevention.

            It's troublesome, but it's a damn sight easier than ODing on vancomycin. Screening, washes, HCWs being careful about transmission, that sort of thing.

      •  I'm not sure what year of medical student you are (0+ / 0-)

        Have you had pathology yet? Surely, you've had microbiology, so you know that there is no easy way of dealing with MRSA, right?

        There are steps we can take to lower the incidence, but once you have it, the complication rate is very high.

  •  this is stick fingers in ears & hum stuff ;) (0+ / 0-)

    there are a LOT of reasons I don't work in health care ...

    all this bug stuff & sick stuff & puke stuff is just ...

    whew. keep me outta of it! isn't it for other people?

    I'm 50, I've had some ailments (appendix, pancreaitis, diabetes ...sp???) the last decade and EVERYTIME I'm stuck in a hospital ALL I want is out - bye - syonara - Good F'ing Riddance!

    thanks for the work, thanks for the book ... I'd really rather watch survivor 'villians vs. heros' or catch up on lindsay lohan ...  

    guts and bugs and sick are BAD! YUCK!

    rmm.

    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 08:44:10 AM PDT

  •  I can't read that book yet. (5+ / 0-)

    Just reading the story brought tears to my eyes.

    My favorite and longest-term learner, J____, died from MRSA about 2 months ago, at age 61. He was diabetic, in dialysis, had had a stroke a few years before, overweight, poor circulation, everything a nasty bacterium could hope for. J____ was tasty.

    One cold winter eve, his wife noticed that his leg was blue and cold to the touch. She took him to the ED, which sent him to the larger city hospital, and right to ICU. In one week, he went from conscious and aware human being to comatose man. He coded twice, was put on constant dialysis, was stuffed full of assorted antibiotics, was stuffed full of assorted meds to support his now-low BP, was found to have gone septic with staph, and died.

    Please, folks, take MRSA seriously. It kills people. It killed my student J____. Try to remember that all those nice antibiotics they use to make your steak and chicken breasts cheaper and those wonderful antibiotics that you insist your doctor give you for your damn cold have come back to bite you (and me, and J____). And if it becomes your turn to really need antibiotics, you may be SOL, just like he was.

    When you're younger, it's "Girls Gone Wild." When you're older, it's "eyebrow hairs gone wild." There's something fundamentally unfair about this.

    by SciMathGuy on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 08:54:18 AM PDT

    •  I'm reducing my consumption of meat greatly (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      barbwires, G2geek, sillia, SciMathGuy

      since I realized how food safety is being rapidly sacrificed to globalization.

      One of these days I'm going to start trying to grow some of my own food again.

      In the 80s I had my own garden in a number of places that I lived, and I loved it. I was very successful in growing basically all my vegetables. Everybody where I lived did it.

      I don't know how much of it I remember, I'd have to start using it again.

      Single Payer represents a QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS MORE IN YOUR POCKET. Single payer isn't an "option"! Thats WHY it works!

      by Andiamo on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 09:07:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  gardening like riding a bike (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SciMathGuy

        you'll remember how to do it once you get going!

        If everybody reduced their meat consumption by half, then sought out organic, grass-fed for the meat they do eat, the industrial problem would be demolished.

        Americans eat so much meat, cutting consumption in half would still result in eating too much for good health, but it would be a big start and would change the whole picture.

        "We did not come here to fear the future, we came to shape it." --BHO "Grab a mop." --BHO

        by sillia on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 09:42:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Please do some reading on plant polyphenols (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, palachia, createpeace

    and fighting drug resistant bacteria.. Its stuff that everybody should know. That saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" is true.. Apples, onions, etc. are a rich source of quercetin.

    Quercetin has major activity against MRSA. So do a number of other plant nutrients. Historically, humans got far more of them in our diet than they do now.

    During the Bronze Age, (pre-agriculture) average human lifespan (if you survived childhood diseases) was actually greater than at any time between then and fairly recently.  (the late 19th century, I think, but it may have been as late as the 1950s)

    That hunter-gatherer lifestyle, and a diet of nuts, lots of raw vegetables, and berries,  with fish and occasional meat, and far fewer grains, was a very healthy one.

    The lack of exposure to xenobiotics (man made chemicals) was probably a significant factor too.

    Humans (when they are in good shape, obviously) also can outrun almost any other animal when it comes to endurance.. Our long legs and big brain are made for running..

    Interesting, huh?

    Single Payer represents a QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS MORE IN YOUR POCKET. Single payer isn't an "option"! Thats WHY it works!

    by Andiamo on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 09:19:26 AM PDT

  •  Antibacterial cannabinoids from Cannabis(title) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    barbwires, OHdog

    Abstract
    Marijuana (Cannabis sativa) has long been known to contain antibacterial cannabinoids, whose potential to address antibiotic resistance has not yet been investigated. All five major cannabinoids (cannabidiol (1b), cannabichromene (2), cannabigerol (3b), Delta (9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (4b), and cannabinol (5)) showed potent activity against a variety of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains of current clinical relevance. Activity was remarkably tolerant to the nature of the prenyl moiety, to its relative position compared to the n-pentyl moiety (abnormal cannabinoids), and to carboxylation of the resorcinyl moiety (pre-cannabinoids). Conversely, methylation and acetylation of the phenolic hydroxyls, esterification of the carboxylic group of pre-cannabinoids, and introduction of a second prenyl moiety were all detrimental for antibacterial activity. Taken together, these observations suggest that the prenyl moiety of cannabinoids serves mainly as a modulator of lipid affinity for the olivetol core, a per se poorly active antibacterial pharmacophore, while their high potency definitely suggests a specific, but yet elusive, mechanism of activity.

    PMID: 18681481 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]Free Article

    pot salve is amazing for skin eruptions of MRSA. Tried and worked.

  •  Some interesting reading.. (0+ / 0-)

    Single Payer represents a QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS MORE IN YOUR POCKET. Single payer isn't an "option"! Thats WHY it works!

    by Andiamo on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 10:38:17 AM PDT

  •  Is fear of MRSA more harmful than MRSA itself? (0+ / 0-)

    Seems to me that there's a major health care problem revolving around absolute paranoia about MRSA.  Once someone has had MRSA, the entire medical profession puts a giant "M" on their forehead.  Over a year before he died, my grandfather contracted MRSA, and even though we were able to get it cleared up, it was even harder to get MRSA off of his file than it was to get it out of his body.  One positive test, and for the next year, every encounter with a medical practitioner was met with outright fear to treat him because of that one positive test for MRSA.  We couldn't get him into assisted living places without a fight because of that one positive test, and when we were discussing moving him to another home with a better ability to treat him in rapidly declining health, they wouldn't take him because of that one test.  Nurses would whisper in conversations to other care providers that they thought he might be a carrier.  Once someone gets this label attached to them, the label is often harder to get rid of than the actual bacteria, and that is a crisis of the health care profession itself that needs to be addressed.

    "You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man's freedom. You can only be free if I am free."-Clarence Darrow

    by cwech on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 11:23:31 AM PDT

  •  Some encouraging news (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DemFromCT

    Again, these are little steps, but every bit helps:

    Program Achieves Large-Scale MRSA Control in French Hospitals

    It's feasible to curb the burden of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection in large public hospital systems, a French study shows. The research appears in the current Archives of Internal Medicine.

    After a European survey showed France lagging in MRSA control, a consortium of 38 public teaching hospitals located in the Paris area launched a program to lower MRSA rates in the 1990s. The program included several measures, such as isolating MRSA-infected patients, use of disposable gloves and aprons, and better communication between units during patient transfers.

    Researchers found that sustained drops in MRSA occurred only after adoption of alcohol-based hand rubs. Overall, the incidence of MRSA cases declined from 1.16 per 1000 hospital days in 1996 to 0.57 in 2007 — a 51% reduction.

  •  Thanks for bringing this to people's attention (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DemFromCT

    We lost my mother-in-law to MRSA.  It was horrible the battle she went through.

    And yes, she got it after being in ICU.....

    And yet, the solution(s) are so easy if you can get past the ego part, where everyone makes sure they are practicing proper cleaning and hygiene.  We also need to lower the amount of prescriptions written every year.

    -6.13 -4.4 Where are you? Take the Test!!!

    by MarciaJ720 on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 04:06:26 PM PDT

  •  another really good interview with the author (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    barbwires

    http://trueslant.com/...

    Are you now scared of doctors or hospitals? How — seriously — do you think most of us will ever challenge a doctor (if we are scared of MRSA) when we are scared or in pain or facing surgery? How scared should we be?

    It is not my intention to make people paranoid, really. I don’t want to frighten people away from hospitals. But I do hold hospitals responsible for not doing better, and because they do not, I do think we have to defend ourselves.

    What that means is doing due diligence before going into the hospital — if you are in a state where there is a mandatory-reporting law for hospital infections or MRSA, look up the institution’s metrics. And when you are in the hospital, try to find the courage to ask health care workers if they have washed their hands. It’s an easy thing to recommend, a very difficult thing to do, because it challenges the power differential in the relationship between health care worker and patient. But I think it’s necessary.

    Next book? current projects?

    One of my favorite parts of the book is tracing the detective story of the "third epidemic" of MRSA in food animals, It got me thinking about how complex and multi-national our food system is now. So I think my next project will turn in that direction, probably toward the difficulty of making food safe.

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 04:33:01 PM PDT

    •  ...and another (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      barbwires

      http://www.reportingonhealth.org/...

      Maryn McKenna has lived inside the "hot zone" for much of her reporting career. She honed her craft at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where she was much admired for her coverage of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It takes skill to persuade any large government agency to give up some of its secrets, but McKenna did just that and turned them into fascinating stories. She has since taken the enviable career path of writing books. Her first, Beating Back the Devil, was about the CDC's Epidemic Intelligence Service. And, in March, Free Press published her book Superbug: The Fatal Menace of MRSA, about methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. The book is as frightening as a Dario Argento film and as well-researched as a Ken Burns documentary. You can read about all of her projects on her blog, Superbug.

      I reached her at her office in Minneapolis. The interview has been edited for space and clarity.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 04:51:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  the solution: (0+ / 0-)

    bacteriophage therapy

    a bacteriophage is a virus that attacks only specific bacteria. It is narrow spectrum and does not disrupt the intestinal flora.  It reproduces and thus evolves faster than bacteria, so is not subject to acquired bacterial resistance.

  •  I don't understand (0+ / 0-)

    My governor, Bobby Jindal, who has a degree in biology, says that all germs came into existence about 10K years ago, and have remained static sine then, since obviously there is no biological mechanism for the genetics of an organism to change over time.  How can these germs be getting drug resistance.  My head is exploding ...

  •  MRSA (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DemFromCT

    My father has elective heart surgery at the age of 89 back in 1999.  The surgery went fine but three days later it became apparent that he had contracted MRSA during the procedure.  Six weeks later we had to make the decision to take him off the ventilator that was the only thing keeping him alive after his kidneys and liver had failed.  It was awful and MRSA was not mentioned as a cause of death.

    "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" Darwin

    by Haole in Hawaii on Mon Apr 26, 2010 at 04:22:31 PM PDT

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