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. Drug-resistant bacteria mean we're entering a post-antibiotic world — and it won't be pretty. There are, however, things we can do ... if we start right now.
The launch of an advocacy group in Georgia, where I live, gives me the opportunity to look at some of the stats around chicken production. For instance: Georgia is the home of broiler-chicken raising in the US, producing 1.4mm chickens per year, along with 2mm tons of chicken manure, and uncountable antibiotic-resistant organisms. (OK, I knew about the organisms part.)
So, you might have noticed that about 2 weeks ago, there was a bloom of stories saying antibiotic-resistant bacteria on meat is no big deal and not because of farm antibiotic use. Here's why I think they were all wrong.
More on the hair-raising news of totally drug-resistant TB in India: I dig back through the literature (with an assist from ProMED, whom if you don't follow, you should) and find the earliest recorded cases of TDR were not India, or Iran, but Italy in 2003. So, maybe stay away from places that start with a vowel. Just in case.
TB was the HIV of its day, a global epidemic that took the young, urban and brilliant — and since the 1990s, it's been coming back in increasingly hard-to-treat forms. At Wired, I talk about the latest, very unsettling discovery: In India, 12 cases that resist treatment by all known TB drugs.
To Devin Baillie- I agree with you about doing more: I already support Maranatha Missionaries- Docters without Borders- and 3abn.com/tv , and other hands on programs in this pursuit. :-) XLNT 2012 2 U and Urs G+ people. Leland Luster
A lot of these tags are unintentional. I've seen it happen to others- your name comes in as a suggestion, people accidentally click it. I think you can adjust your settings so as to only allow certain circles to tag you; I have no idea how though.
This "classic trash" book review made me snort tea out my nose, and you can too:
"Honestly, I don't know why anyone bothers to write sweeping cross-generational sagas of forbidden love about any other group of people. We Irish have it all: massive guilt complexes, promiscuity, addictive personalities, and a complete inability to ever let anything fucking go, ever. It makes for good copy. If you're not convinced, pick up one of those Maeve Binchy novels you buy for your mom at Christmas, and try to picture the characters hailing from Wellfleet instead. What about a German Scarlett O'Hara? Morgen ist ein anderer Tag? That's just plain menacing."
I have a vague memory of watching an episode of a network medical drama -- was it St. Elsewhere? -- and hearing a character say that before HIV came along, "VD was no b.d." And that's true: For decades, we didn't take sexually transmitted diseases seriously, because antibiotics made them almost instantly curable. Only, that's no longer true. At Wired, I describe a medical journal's warning that gonorrhea is well on the way to untreatable.
The pharm companies are too busy creating new (versions) of psychotropic drugs for a growing captive clientele ; no body is ever "cured", they just move to the next new thing. As the daily stress, so does their need for "Dr. Feel Good".
Maggots, leeches, 1950s milkshakes and the "ick factor": More on fecal transplants, because people just love this stuff. Brilliant sound journalist Steve Mirsky kindly features me on the SciAm podcast.
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Gah. Had to take to G+ because my rage at the NYT Public Editor's "should reporters be 'truth vigilantes'?" cannot be contained in 140.
Dear Public Editor: 1. This column is an embarrassment. 2. Fortunately, your readers (135 comments in 2 hours and rising) are so much smarter than you are. 3. And to answer: No. You go ahead with your slavish Sunday Styles paeans to the lives of the 1% and your whines about not being able to find a Fairway in Kansas City. Leave journalism to those of us working out here who don't actually have to wonder what our job is.
+Maryn McKenna Given the magnitude of the bad public response his strikingly obtuse pair of postings, has anyone considered starting a petition at Change.org to have the NYT remove Mr Brisbane from his current duties? NYT describes Brisbane as the "... readers' representative. He responds to complaints and comments from the public and monitors the paper's journalistic practices ..." Brisbane may be trying, but seriously, how well is he likely succeed after all of this? NYT needs an aggressive, savvy, and "for real" readers' advocate if they want to be taken seriously.