Wednesday, January 14, 2015

New Antibiotic To Last Us 30 Years

First new antibiotic in 30 years discovered in major breakthrough

The discovery of Teixobactin could pave the way for a new generation of antibiotics because of the way it was discovered.The first new antibiotic to be discovered in nearly 30 years has been hailed as a ‘paradigm shift’ in the fight against the growing resistance to drugs.       

But more importantly it could pave the way for a new generation of antibiotics because of the way it was discovered.
Scientists have always believed that the soil was teeming with new and potent antibiotics because bacteria have developed novel ways to fight off other microbes.
But 99 per cent of microbes will not grow in laboratory conditions leaving researchers frustrated that they could not get to the life-saving natural drugs.

Now a team from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, have discovered a way of using an electronic chip to grow the microbes in the soil and then isolate their antibiotic chemical compounds. 

They discovered that one compound, Teixobactin, is highly effective against common bacterial infections Clostridium difficile, Mycobacterium tuberculous and Staphylococcus aureus.

Professor Kim Lewis, Director of the Antimicrobial Discovery Centre said: “Apart from the immediate implementation, there is also I think a paradigm shift in our minds because we have been operating on the basis that resistance development is inevitable and that we have to focus on introducing drugs faster than resistance
“Teixobactin shows how we can adopt an alternative strategy and develop compounds to which bacteria are not resistant.”

The first antibiotic Penicillin, was discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928 and more than 100 compounds have been found since, but no new class has been found since 1987.
The lack of new drugs coupled with over-prescribing has led to bacteria becoming increasingly resistant to modern medicines.

Dame Sally Davies, the government’s Chief Medical Officer, said antibiotic resistant was ‘as big a risk of terrorism; and warned that Britain faced returning to a 19th century world where the smallest infection or operation could kill.

The World Health Oganisation has also classified antimicrobial resistance as a "serious threat’ to every region of the world which ‘has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country"
However the new discovery offers hope that many new antibiotics could be found to fight bacterial infections.

Crucially, the scientists believe that bacteria will not become resistant to Teixobactin for at least 30 years because of its multiple methods of attack.

Testing on mice has already shown that the antibiotic works well at clearing infections, without side-effects. The team is now concentrating on upscaling production so that it could be tested in humans.
“Right now we can deliver a dose that cures mice and a variety of models of infection and we can deliver 10 mg per kg so it correlates well with human usage,” added Professor Lewis.
The breakthrough was heralded by scientists who said it could prove a ‘game-changer’ in the struggle against antimicrobial resistance.

Prof Laura Piddock, Professor of Microbiology at the University of Birmingham, said: “The screening tool developed by these researchers could be a ‘game changer’ for discovering new antibiotics as it allows compounds to be isolated from soil producing micro-organisms that do not grow under normal laboratory conditions.”

Prof Mark Woolhouse, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, from the University of Edinburgh added: “Any report of a new antibiotic is auspicious, but what most excites me about the paper is the tantalising prospect that this discovery is just the tip of the iceberg.
“Most antibiotics are natural products derived from microbes in the soil. The ones we have discovered so far come from a tiny subset of the rich diversity of microbes that live there.
“Lewis et al. have found a way to look for antibiotics in other kinds of microbe, part of the so-called microbial “dark matter” that is very difficult to study.”

Dr Angelika Gr√ľndling, Reader in Molecular Microbiology, Imperial College London said the discovery , ‘raises our hopes that new antibiotics can be brought to the clinics in the not too distant future.’

“The great hope is now that many more new antibiotics can be uncovered in a similar manner.”
Public Health England also welcomed the breakthrough.

“The rise in antibiotic resistance is a threat to modern healthcare as we know it so this discovery could potentially help to bridge the ever increasing gap between infections and the medicines we have available to treat them,” said Prof Neil Woodford, Head of Public Health England’s Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections Reference Unit.
The research was published in the journal Nature.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Obama To Disband the Marine Corps [oh, and donuts,sprinkles, and stuff]

Thu Jan 01, 2015 at 01:26 PM PST

Obama To Disband the Marine Corps

by SemDem   Opinion - Daily KOS

You didn't know this, did you?

On a flight home I sat in between two individuals,  a Marine and boxing promoter.  The boxing guy was an older gentleman, and told interesting stories, such as meeting Don King.  Both men were very pleasant and that helped make time pass on the flight.  We were all combat veterans and all Southerners, so we had a lot in common.  Then the discussion, inevitably, turned to politics.
The older guy turned to the Marine and said "You know Obama is getting rid of the Marine Corps, right?"

The Marine was puzzled.  He hadn't heard this news.  Neither had I.  "Yeah, Eric Holder just had a meeting with the Joint Chiefs.  Obama is going to disband them by Executive Order."
Hooooo boy.  We are going to do this now, are we?  Putting aside for the moment why the head of the DOJ would be involved with restructuring a military department in the DoD, I said: "I don't think any president can just disband a branch of service.  Also, this would be pretty big news.  Don't you think it would be all over the news instead of a message board?"  I assumed it was a message board because I follow GOP conspiracy theories on rightwing sites, and never heard of this one.  Even the Marine, who was no Obama fan, agreed this sounded very stupid and we moved on to other topics.
We all parted ways and thanked each other for the talk.  I told the Marine I'd see him on my flight back since there soon wouldn't be a base for him to go to.
Sure enough, I got back home and did some checking on the interwebs.  Although I couldn't find anything about Obama disbanding the Corps, I did find a story that Obama was going to disband the National Guard and Reserves by fall of this year, a post that Hillary Clinton is, in fact, going to dismantle the Marine Corps, and various other hysteria/delusions in the mind of a brainwashed conservative.
I thought about the flight and wondered, how can such a seemingly intelligent, normal man suddenly suspend logic and spout such nonsense?

How can, on one hand, we discuss rationally our jobs, our cars, our families, and then BOOM, a switch goes off and FEMA camps, immigrant take-over, birth certificate time-travel, Sandy Hook being a hoax, and the ever present secret army of "jack-booted thugs" (you know, the bad kind who take your guns away, not the good kind who shoot unarmed brown people).
Paranoia, fear, contempt... it's disturbing.   I think to myself, do you ever listen to how stupid this all sounds? We are coming to the end of Obama's two terms.  Gun rights haven't been curtailed in the least.  If anything, they've expanded and it's easier to get a gun than ever before. Also, no one was taken into camps and locked up (unless you count the record number of undocumented immigrants Obama allowed that to happen to before deportation).

Even the conspiracy theories have gotten lamer.  It went from all of us being destroyed to Michelle Obama wants to take dessert away.  No. Seriously.

Fox News just reported that Obama is going to ban doughnuts!
And not just doughnuts.  Watch the report.  Obama's jack-booted FDA is coming after (and they list these) popcorn, Christmas cookies (ohhh he hates Christmas!), crackers, frozen pizza, and canned frosting.  Fox News host Clayton Morris actually said they would be prohibited!
Hoooo boy.  I shouldn't have to explain this, but what they are referring to is the FDA ban on trans-fat, which was enacted well over a year ago.  Trans-fat isn't needed to make anything, and has already been eliminated by doughnut companies for years!  (This includes the stupid doughnuts Morris was displaying.)  In other words, trans-fat is a dangerous, non-essential ingredient that has already been replaced.  No one gave flying f***.

Yet Fox is lying to its viewers, again, telling them that their favorite desserts will be BANNED!  Cue the outrage--just like when they recently reported that Obama would personally fund a Muslim museum during a government shutdown (their source: a parody website!)

Or this past October when they told their viewers that  Obama was purposefully letting Ebola in America because his "affiliations and affinities" were with Africa!  Sounds incredible?  Yes, because you are rational.  But you don't win the LIE of the YEAR award from Politifact for being rationale.  This year, Fox News won for spreading false information about Ebola. (It can go with their past year awards.)

 And now, at the end of the year, Fox had to cap off their lying streak by  reporting that coming soon in 2015, your favorite sugary treats will be taken by the aforementioned jack-booted thugs.  As Cenk said in the video, it is pretty much guaranteed that one of your brainwashed relatives will state, matter-of-factly, that Obama is coming after our doughnuts.  It was on the "news".
Yet in a few months, when we see that our doughnuts are still on the shelves and no one is trying to take them, the Fox viewer will not once ever stop and say to himself--"Hey, they lied to me!".  That is because he will already be outraged at the next lie.  The cycle will continue, and I'll keep trying to get through.

To all of my conservative friends, past, present, and those I'll meet on flights in the future: Can one of your New Year's resolutions be that when you hear something SO INCREDIBLE about your president or, in fact, any politician, that you will put a minimum amount of effort to verifying it is true before you spout it as fact?  Just ONE google search will usually do it.

That's all I ask. You'll seem more normal, less gullible, and you'll find that people will enjoy your company without suddenly questioning your intelligence.
Happy New Year my friends, and Benghazi.