Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘antibiotics

Tidbits #44

The US national debt (the amount the federal government has borrowed over the years and must pay back) is $23 trillion and growing. We’re paying more than $270 billion just in interest on that public debt annually. And the top two foreign countries who “own” our debt are China and Japan. (The irony is that Japan is the second most indebted nation. Go figure)

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.” ― Frédéric Bastiat, French economist

In Minneapolis, between 2000 and 2018 unemployment rose from 6.8% to 8% among black people, while it dropped from 2.5% to 1.9% among whites. In many other US cities where protests have erupted in recent days, the pre-pandemic racial gap in unemployment is striking:

In one hour, our organs consume 100 Watts bulb. We salivate about one litter a day. The total surface of our small intestine is 7 km long

We have two sphincters: one external and one internal.The internal is ready to let go anytime, The nerves of the external is linked to our brain that gives order for the go ahead

I say: Any childhood changes (locations, schools…) is a life changing path . Too many of these child a-changing leave you stuck in a maze.

Chasing after anyone or anything demands plenty of energy. The source of that energy is Temporary Insanity.

The developed States don’t want a reduction in oil prices: they want to preserve the tax revenue in the gas stations, lest the citizens revolt for paying no legal taxes on gasoline in “free markets of demand and offer”

The US national deficit (the difference between what the government spends and the revenue it takes in) is projected to surpass $1 trillion every year.

Germany enables employers to furlough (and keep) staff, with state assistance, while the US has focused on strengthening unemployment benefits.

The 10 ASEAN countries, many of which have rapid growing economies, are importing more Chinese goods than American for the first time,

The biggest percentage drop in air pollution, no surprise, came from the aviation industry, with a 60% decline, or 1.7 million metric tons. The biggest raw drop in emissions came from surface transportation, which fell by 36%, or 7.5 million metric tons. That figure includes personal vehicles as well as trucks and domestic and international shipping. (Read lately that air pollution in Pekin has gone back as bad as before Covid-19)

The objective of history is to define human civilization and the social, economic and cultural events, taken in their totality, as a system. History is an independent discipline: philosophy and politics are branches
Ibn Khaldoun
Are you suffering lactose intolerance, cycles of losing and gaining weight quickly, lesions on your thighs, face and other parts of your body that don’t heal, bad breath, gastroenterite…? You are Not taking good care of the good bacteria in your intestine and mouth.
Beware of antibiotics that kill the good and bad germs equally well.

And when antibiotics don’t work any more? What next?

This is my great uncle, my father’s father’s younger brother. His name was Joe McKenna.

He was a young husband and a semi-pro basketball player and a fireman in New York City. Family history says he loved being a fireman, and so in 1938, on one of his days off, he elected to hang out at the firehouse.

To make himself useful that day, he started polishing all the brass, the railings on the fire truck, the fittings on the walls, and one of the fire hose nozzles, a giant, heavy piece of metal, toppled off a shelf and hit him. (That’s the end of all those drivers who love their machines?)

A few days later, his shoulder started to hurt. Two days after that, he spiked a fever. The fever climbed and climbed. His wife was taking care of him, but nothing she did made a difference, and when they got the local doctor in, nothing he did mattered either.

1:13 They flagged down a cab and took him to the hospital. The nurses there recognized right away that he had an infection, what at the time they would have called “blood poisoning,” and though they probably didn’t say it, they would have known right away that there was nothing they could do.

There was nothing they could do because the things we use now to cure infections didn’t exist yet.

The first test of penicillin, the first antibiotic, was three years in the future. People who got infections either recovered, if they were lucky, or they died.

My great uncle was not lucky. He was in the hospital for a week, shaking with chills, dehydrated and delirious, sinking into a coma as his organs failed. His condition grew so desperate that the people from his firehouse lined up to give him transfusions hoping to dilute the infection surging through his blood.

Nothing worked. He died. He was 30 years old.

If you look back through history, most people died the way my great uncle died. Most people didn’t die of cancer or heart disease, the lifestyle diseases that afflict us in the West today. (Not sure of that statement)

They didn’t die of those diseases because they didn’t live long enough to develop them. They died of injuries — being gored by an ox, shot on a battlefield, crushed in one of the new factories of the Industrial Revolution — and most of the time from infection, which finished what those injuries began.

All of that changed when antibiotics arrived. (Not all)

Suddenly, infections that had been a death sentence became something you recovered from in days. It seemed like a miracle, and ever since, we have been living inside the golden epoch of the miracle drugs.

3:16 And now, we are coming to an end of it.

My great uncle died in the last days of the pre-antibiotic era. We stand today on the threshold of the post-antibiotic era, in the earliest days of a time when simple infections such as the one Joe had will kill people once again.

In fact, they already are. People are dying of infections again because of a phenomenon called antibiotic resistance.

Briefly, it works like this. Bacteria compete against each other for resources, for food, by manufacturing lethal compounds that they direct against each other.

Other bacteria, to protect themselves, evolve defenses against that chemical attack. When we first made antibiotics, we took those compounds into the lab and made our own versions of them, and bacteria responded to our attack the way they always had.

Here is what happened next:

Penicillin was distributed in 1943, and widespread penicillin resistance arrived by 1945.

Vancomycin arrived in 1972, vancomycin resistance in 1988.

Imipenem in 1985, and resistance to in 1998.

Daptomycin, one of the most recent drugs, in 2003, and resistance to it just a year later in 2004.

For 70 years, we played a game of leapfrog — our drug and their resistance, and then another drug, and then resistance again — and now the game is ending.

Bacteria develop resistance so quickly that pharmaceutical companies have decided making antibiotics is not in their best interest, so there are infections moving across the world for which, out of the more than 100 antibiotics available on the market, two drugs might work with side effects, or one drug, or none.

This is what that looks like.

In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC, identified a single case in a hospital in North Carolina of an infection resistant to all but two drugs.

Today, that infection, known as KPC, has spread to every state but three, and to South America, Europe and the Middle East.

In 2008, doctors in Sweden diagnosed a man from India with a different infection resistant to all but one drug that time. The gene that creates that resistance, known as NDM, has now spread from India into China, Asia, Africa, Europe and Canada, and the United States.

It would be natural to hope that these infections are extraordinary cases. In fact, in the United States and Europe, 50,000 people a year die of infections which no drugs can help.

A project chartered by the British government known as the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance estimates that the worldwide toll right now is 700,000 deaths a year.

That is a lot of deaths, and yet, the chances are good that you don’t feel at risk, that you imagine these people were hospital patients in intensive care units or nursing home residents near the ends of their lives, people whose infections are remote from us, in situations we can’t identify with.

7:13 What you didn’t think about, none of us do, is that antibiotics support almost all of modern life.

 If we lost antibiotics, here’s what else we’d lose:

First, any protection for people with weakened immune systems — cancer patients, AIDS patients, transplant recipients, premature babies.

Second, any treatment that installs foreign objects in the body: stents for stroke, pumps for diabetes, dialysis, joint replacements.

How many athletic baby boomers need new hips and knees? A recent study estimates that without antibiotics, one out of ever six would die.

Third, we’d probably lose surgery. Many operations are preceded by prophylactic doses of antibiotics.

Without that protection, we’d lose the ability to open the hidden spaces of the body. So no heart operations, no prostate biopsies, no Cesarean sections.

We’d have to learn to fear infections that now seem minor. Strep throat used to cause heart failure. Skin infections led to amputations. Giving birth killed, in the cleanest hospitals, almost one woman out of every 100. Pneumonia took three children out of every 10.

Fourth, more than anything else, we’d lose the confident way we live our everyday lives. If you knew that any injury could kill you, would you ride a motorcycle, bomb down a ski slope, climb a ladder to hang your Christmas lights, let your kid slide into home plate?

After all, the first person to receive penicillin, a British policeman named Albert Alexander, who was so ravaged by infection that his scalp oozed pus and doctors had to take out an eye, was infected by doing something very simple. He walked into his garden and scratched his face on a thorn.

That British project I mentioned which estimates that the worldwide toll right now is 700,000 deaths a year also predicts that if we can’t get this under control by 2050, not long, the worldwide toll will be 10 million deaths a year.

How did we get to this point where what we have to look forward to is those terrifying numbers?

The difficult answer is, we did it to ourselves.

Resistance is an inevitable biological process, but we bear the responsibility for accelerating it.

We did this by squandering antibiotics with a heedlessness that now seems shocking.

Penicillin was sold over the counter until the 1950s.

In much of the developing world, most antibiotics still are.

In the United States, 50 percent of the antibiotics given in hospitals are unnecessary.

Forty-five percent of the prescriptions written in doctor’s offices are for conditions that antibiotics cannot help.

And that’s just in healthcare.

On much of the planet, most meat animals get antibiotics every day of their lives, not to cure illnesses, but to fatten them up and to protect them against the factory farm conditions they are raised in.

In the United States, possibly 80 percent of the antibiotics sold every year go to farm animals, not to humans, creating resistant bacteria that move off the farm in water, in dust, in the meat the animals become.

Aquaculture depends on antibiotics too, particularly in Asia, and fruit growing relies on antibiotics to protect apples, pears, citrus, against disease.

And because bacteria can pass their DNA to each other like a traveler handing off a suitcase at an airport, once we have encouraged that resistance into existence, there is no knowing where it will spread.

This was predictable.

In fact, it was predicted by Alexander Fleming, the man who discovered penicillin. He was given the Nobel Prize in 1945 in recognition, and in an interview shortly after, this is what he said:

“The thoughtless person playing with penicillin treatment is morally responsible for the death of a man who succumbs to infection with a pencillin-resistant organism.” He added, “I hope this evil can be averted.”

Can we avert it? There are companies working on novel antibiotics, things the superbugs have never seen before. We need those new drugs badly, and we need incentives: discovery grants, extended patents, prizes, to lure other companies into making antibiotics again.

But that probably won’t be enough.

Here’s why:

Evolution always wins. Bacteria birth a new generation every 20 minutes. It takes pharmaceutical chemistry 10 years to derive a new drug. Every time we use an antibiotic, we give the bacteria billions of chances to crack the codes of the defenses we’ve constructed. There has never yet been a drug they could not defeat.

This is asymmetric warfare, but we can change the outcome.

  1. We could build systems to harvest data to tell us automatically and specifically how antibiotics are being used.

2. We could build gatekeeping into drug order systems so that every prescription gets a second look.

3. We could require agriculture to give up antibiotic use.

4. We could build surveillance systems to tell us where resistance is emerging next.

Those are the tech solutions. They probably aren’t enough either, unless we help. Antibiotic resistance is a habit.

We all know how hard it is to change a habit. But as a society, we’ve done that in the past. People used to toss litter into the streets, used to not wear seatbelts, used to smoke inside public buildings. We don’t do those things anymore.

We don’t trash the environment or court devastating accidents or expose others to the possibility of cancer, because we decided those things were expensive, destructive, not in our best interest. We changed social norms.

We could change social norms around antibiotic use too.

I know that the scale of antibiotic resistance seems overwhelming, but if you’ve ever bought a fluorescent lightbulb because you were concerned about climate change, or read the label on a box of crackers because you think about the deforestation from palm oil, you already know what it feels like to take a tiny step to address an overwhelming problem.

We could take those kinds of steps for antibiotic use too. We could forgo giving an antibiotic if we’re not sure it’s the right one.

We could stop insisting on a prescription for our kid’s ear infection before we’re sure what caused it. We could ask every restaurant, every supermarket, where their meat comes from. We could promise each other never again to buy chicken or shrimp or fruit raised with routine antibiotic use, and if we did those things, we could slow down the arrival of the post-antibiotic world.

16:28 But we have to do it soon. Penicillin began the antibiotic era in 1943. In just 70 years, we walked ourselves up to the edge of disaster. We won’t get 70 years to find our way back out again.

Patsy Z and TEDxSKE shared a link.
What do we doAnd when antibiotics don’t work any more? What next?
Penicillin changed everything. Infections that had previously killed were suddenly quickly curable. Yet as Maryn McKenna shares in this sobering talk, we’ve squandered the advantages afforded us by that and later antibiotics….|By Maryn McKenna

Why antibiotics are over-prescribed?

“Some of the big guns in terms of antibiotics may be overused. We need to reserve those for the most severe infections.” DR. TOM FRIEDEN, CDC DIRECTOR

Circa news posted this MARCH 5, 2014

CDC says doctors still over-prescribing antibiotics

A CDC report shows that the prescription of antibiotics for the same condition varies greatly, with some doctors prescribing 3 times more antibiotics than their peers.

The CDC released a report on March 4 that says that if doctors and hospitals reduce antibiotics prescriptions by 30%, it could lead to a 26% reduction of infections of Clostridium difficlile (C.diff,) a potentially fatal bacterial infection. The report was based on records from hundreds of hospitals.

2 On March 4, the CDC submitted its 2015 budget request which includes $30 million for 5 new labs that would be used to assist doctors in diagnosing drug-resistant infections.

Anxiety over drug-resistant bacteria has been around as long as antibiotics.

Scientists learned early on that antibiotics would knock out most of the cells of an infection, but some strains would survive and multiply.

4 Modern medicine has exacerbated the problem with cancer treatments that weaken the immune system, and with the use of catheters, which make it easier for infections to enter the bloodstream.
5 Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for the UK, told the UK’s parliament in Jan. 2013 that surgeries now considered simple could soon become life-threatening due to the danger of infection. Bacteria are becoming resistant to many of the antibiotics now available.
6 A survey published on July 4, 2013 showed 80,000 people were currently fighting drug-resistant superbugs in European hospitals, according to the European Centre for Diseases Prevention and Control, the EU’s disease monitoring agency. Some 3.2 million people are infected annually in Europe.
7 Drug-resistant bacteria kills 23,000 people a year in the U.S., roughly the same as those killed by the flu, according to a separate report released Sept. 16, 2013 by the CDC. The report is the government’s first estimate of the death toll of drug-resistant bacterial infections.
8 During a Dec. 12, 2013 House hearing at the Oversight subcommittee on Energy Policy, Healthcare and Entitlements, FDA Drug Evaluation Director Janet Woodcock said the agency wants Congress to pass legislation establishing an FDA program to develop drugs targeting drug resistant bacteria.


Similar Circa Storylines

Fighting for the Man; (October 9, 2009)


Food aplenty for the few:

They are addicted to junk food.

Leftovers for the leftover of humanity;

Delicious: hungry


Fighting for the traits, given and wanted traits,

Thriving for characters of the beyond;

Fighting for the provocation of the ambient collective;

The objective environment and the living one;

The ambient social, psychological, and family;

Fighting for the Man.


Toys aplenty for the few;

They are addicted to one-on-one machines.

Leftovers for the leftover of humanity;

A piece of paper and threads gets kites flying high; smiles even higher;

A couple of sticks get a team running and laughing;

An old makeshift ball got kids gamboling and shrieking with joy.


Fighting for the society of objects;

The historical environment, of body and soul;

The cosmic belonging, the instinctive thrust;

The defense of the ego and the taste to live;

The denying and utilization of the other;

Fighting for the Man.


Vaccines and antibiotics for the few;

Open heart surgery for the few;

They got to be ninety and end up in nursing homes;

Alone: the refuse of humanity.

Leftovers for the leftover of humanity;

Barely first generation antibiotics;

They don’t get to live long;

Their young memory didn’t erase the fresh good time.

They die within their community and among parents.


Fighting for the nutritional instinct, sexuality,

The race, age, gender, and life;

Variations in metabolism, language of the forms,

The sick body and the domesticated body;

The presence and ascendancy of the other;

Fighting for the Man.


Spaces and green horizons for the few;

They are addicted to tiny cubicles in overcrowded megalopolis.

Leftovers for the leftover of humanity;

Wind, dust, eroded land, dry earth,

A shade under an old resilient tree out in the nowhere;

A trickle of water of a drying source;

Crying babies, skeletal babies, over-stretched stomachs;

And white carcasses dotting the parched landscape.


Fighting for the emotive duality, the emotive matrix,

The emotive root of characters;

Getting a grip on the conscious, rhythm, perseverance;

Space and living duration;

The I, here, and now; in extension, in tension, and in intention;

Generosity and avarice;

Fighting for the Man.



Homes, gardens, and highways for the few;

They are addicted to driving and drinking.

Leftovers for the leftover of humanity;

Trekking for hundreds of miles; bare foot, crackling skin,

Sore dried up eyes;

To reach one of those Blue Tents

Erected and tended by romantic hearts.


Fighting for accepting reality;

Refusing reality, imaginary refusal;

The real, irrational and the surreal;

Carnal intelligence, dramatic intelligence,

Dialogue, rational arguments, democracy, discrimination,

The master action, the power of deciding,

The struggling with obstacles,

The greatness and misery of the will;

Fighting for the Man.


A car accident, a mugging,

A child left unattended, locked in a car,

A dog, a cat, an iguana for the few.

One million widowed, two millions disappeared,

Three millions refugees,

Four millions disabled in pre-emptive wars,

To depose a dictator here, a tough-minded leader there;

Five millions orphans, dislocated institutions and social fabrics;

Fifty thousands incarcerated:

Potential terrorists, with no hope for legal due processes,

For the leftover of humanity.


Fighting for the moral character, the moral act,

The religious expression of moral limitation;

Comprehending the Man is a science;

Far more complex and exhilarating

Than inanimate physical sciences;

You don’t need to be neutral in human behavioral sciences,

Just be plainly unbiased.

You don’t need to be odorless and insipid in social sciences;

I have got to be fighting for the Man!

The Last Gorilla: The Environmental Branch (Fiction short story, Part 2). (Written in March 14, 2005)

Note: This part concerns the environment. The two parts of this story are a gross brush for a novel. 

            It was a time when those well established “Green Peace”-like movements were integrated within the UN. The genuine “Green Peace” proletarian groups were consistently being tamed by many subterfuge, such as trickling of financial aid, embargo policies, threats, sabotage, lack of State funding, misleading economic/ecological research results, which were funded by multinationals and hostile multinational mass media.

The consequence was that equatorial forests were practically deforested to make room for the lucrative industrial bio-agriculture, genetically modified to resist diseases, and which supposedly produced better and several crops around the year, and were void of any health risk in nutrition or natural diseases. 

An individual knew his nutritional type and could select the bio-food that suited his condition.

            For that aim, a centralized powerful organization, within the UN called “Defense of the Environment“, was created to encourage bio-diversity and promote vegetarian eco-systems.  The goal was poetic and laudable, but the secret plan was malignant and executed by ruthless mercenaries for bounty. 

Already, elephants and whales were exterminated because they polluted the seas and ravaged the vast cultivated lands in India and Africa; they were validated as of no use for mankind, and were easy to locate and exterminate. 

Many species were exterminated on the ground that the analyses of their genomes were completed, thoroughly known, and samples extracted for future reproduction on demands for private billionaires or lucrative zoos. 

The young generations had plenty of digital pictures, videos, documentaries, virtual animations, and cartoons of the animal world to keep them happy and busy.  Grown ups were too busy and militarized to care about this nonsense and redundant animal world, as long as they could keep dogs and cats as pets. 

Sheep, cows, chickens, and pigs were deemed essential for the time, until artificial meat products with various taste were chemically feasibly produced for mass consumption. The slaughtering of animals for meat-eaters, on daily basis, increased from 50 to 100 billion heads per year. Vegetarian people were cornered in specific regions in the world in order for cattle to feed on free lands and be exported to the northern States…

            Chimps, macaques, and their sorts were on the verge of extermination.  The problem resided in killing the gorillas

It was easy killing gorillas, but the UN had to account for the increasing number of suicide acts among the trackers and hunters. Testimonials and statistics proved that those who committed suicide looked directly in the eyes of gorillas.

Mind you that chimps are closer genetically to mankind than to gorillas, but myths are meant to last…

The imposing gorillas sat as statues, majestic, and intelligence piercing the eyes of the bounty hunters; the mute conversation said “You may kill me; I am ready but I pity you.  After you kill me you know that you will be next to go.  If you can kill intelligent and meek mammals then your own kinds will ruthlessly kill those of you who fail to obey orders”. 

The executive branch of the “Defense of the Environment” was ordered to desist momentarily in the plan to exterminate gorillas. This department was glad with the decision, since it had more serious categories to exterminate and they required qualitative tactics for mass extermination. 

For example, the department was disbursing plenty of grants to figure out how to subdue rodents, ants, and cockroaches.  The final selection of strategic methods zeroed on sterilizing the female insects.  One study suggested growing crops that would not hurt man but would sterilize those bloody females that plagued earth sensibilities.

Soon, restaurants were ordered to leave specially grown crops in strategic locations. 

Soon, every morning, people were traumatized with thousands of dead rodents and roaches, belly up, any which way they walked.  The people were very understanding and looked at this mess valiantly for a month; a few communities participated in the collect alongside the “sanitary” personnel or garbage men, wearing all sorts of gloves, masks, robes, and spraying in all directions, particularly towards their own body . 

Soon, people remembered stories of the plague and the dreadful and painful dying process when infected with cholera.

The worst story came from medical research: Published papers broke the surprise news that rodents, and roaches in particular, were mutating and defeating the genetically altered crops.  Other kinds of crops were to be researched, but this time the crops had to be slightly poisonous to mankind.

In the meantime, lethal new generations of anti-biotic were to be researched and produced in abundance to cope with a plausible cholera epidemic.  Old patent medical archives have to be dusted off in search of antibiotics that did not pass Federal regulations or were not commercialized for one reason or other, or were stopped at critical phases in the testing.

These untested drugs were immediately shipped to under-developed States for re-confirmation of the validation process, 

Things were getting out of hands and doom was greatly exaggerated by the scary, weak, and puny spirits who never had confidence in sciences in the first place.

Predicators took to the streets wearing all sorts of sacerdotal outfits or plain expensive three-piece suits and shiny red or yellow shoes that emulated cardinals or bishops or pagan shamans.

The favorite theme of the predicators and preachers was the “Coming of Time“, depending of which stage of the coming they forecasted and according to which religious sect they were proselytizing.




March 2023

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