News round-up!

As promised, lots to catch up on — so here’s a quick round-up of some great reading that I have been stashing and that you may have missed in the past few weeks.

BBC News: Disinfectants may train bacteria to resist antibiotics
The BBC Health page (bookmark it!) translates a paper from the journal Microbiology on Pseudomonas aeruginosa’s newly recognized ability to pump the active ingredient in disinfectants out of its cells — and then to apply that same ability to the antibiotic Ciprofloxacin, even when it has never been exposed to Cipro before. Money quote: “... Residue from incorrectly diluted disinfectants left on hospital surfaces could promote the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”

Associated Press:  Solution to killer superbug found in Norway
In the latest installment in a 6-month series, AP writers Martha Mendoza and Margie Mason examine Norway’s success in forcing down rates of hospital MRSA. chiefly by extremely strict control of antibiotics dispensed in hospitals. I have some disagreements with this story; I don’t think they account for how much easier it is to do antibiotic stewardship, as it’s called, in a single-payer health system such as Norway or their second example, England, compared to the extremely complex US system. But I’m very glad to see the AP (and the Nieman Foundation at Harvard, where Mason was a fellow) support public exploration of antibiotic resistance, which I obviously feel gets insufficient attention. (Stay tuned for SUPERBUG’s discussion of one US stewardship program that has worked and may be replicable.)

Time: Should weight factor into antibiotic dosage? looks at a provocative new paper in the Lancet that questions whether standard prescribed dosing of antibiotics isn’t really a form of inappropriate use. Money quote: “Dosage according to body mass is standard in anesthetics, pediatrics, oncology and other fields, [but] when it comes to antibiotics and antimicrobials the dosing guidelines are too broad… and may undermine a medications efficacy. …In the face of both widespread obesity and the increasing prevalence of antibiotic-resistance, tailoring dosage for optimal results is increasingly important.

And finally, new today:
Science Daily: Bacteria Are More Capable of Complex Decision-Making Than Thought
University of Tennessee researchers explore the ability of a bacterium (the soil bacterium Azospirillum brasilense) to sense changes in its environment, process that information and make surprisingly complex decisions in response.


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