1. Subscribersonhouse
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    30 Mar '08 05:178 edits
    Antibiotics seemed at first to be a wonder drug, cured people left and right, pennicilin saved lives, etc. But now we find what we are really doing is to force feed evolution into making ever more resistant bugs. So what is to be done? Personally I think most people in the US are so frigging anal they jump at every stupid antibacterial hand cream, soap, body rinse, whatever.

    And it isn't even to actually CURE something. All it is doing is ticking off the bugs into evolving into ever more deadly varieties. Think about it. You wash your hands with regular soap, rinse off in the sink. The bugs go, whee, we're going to a happy place, all that food for us in the sewer and pipes. Now, they aren't threatened, they have a nice new pretty constant temperature home and happily munch on the new goodies they find there.

    But think about washing your hands with antibacterial soap. Now 99% of its little bug friends are dead. There is this weird thing we overlooked about bugs. They fight back. This time, it turns out they can absorb bits and pieces of DNA directly from the environment, and now there is a ton of newly crunched DNA floating around in the water flushing them down the sink. It turns out they can re-cycle that DNA and fast forward evolution so the next time that bug gets on someones hand and the idiot uses antibiotic soap, now only 98% get killed.

    Get the picture? next cycle maybe only 90% get killed cause the little buggers are getting stronger, not in thousands of years of normal evolution but in DAYS, forced to respond to this heavyhanded use of ever more powerful antibiotics. Am I the only one here who thinks this whole scene is nuts?
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    30 Mar '08 05:38
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    Antibiotics seemed at first to be a wonder drug, cured people left and right, pennicilin saved lives, etc. But now we find what we are really doing is to force feed evolution into making ever more resistant bugs. So what is to be done? Personally I think most people in the US are so frigging anal they jump at every stupid antibacterial hand cream, soap, bod ...[text shortened]... f ever more powerful antibiotics. Am I the only one here who thinks this whole scene is nuts?
    Are you saying that you have a solution, or should people not take antibiotics and go back to dying so that the germs don't mutate?
  3. SubscriberAThousandYoung
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    30 Mar '08 15:45
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    Antibiotics seemed at first to be a wonder drug, cured people left and right, pennicilin saved lives, etc. But now we find what we are really doing is to force feed evolution into making ever more resistant bugs. So what is to be done? Personally I think most people in the US are so frigging anal they jump at every stupid antibacterial hand cream, soap, bod ...[text shortened]... f ever more powerful antibiotics. Am I the only one here who thinks this whole scene is nuts?
    I agree with you 99%. I've been arguing against the casual use of antibacterial soaps and such for a while. However, the technical aspects of your analysis I find both interesting and questionable.

    If 98% of the bacteria died because of the antibiotics, the 2% who are left don't need to absorb DNA to become antibiotic resistant. They already are! That's why they didn't die. What happens though is that they then breed with no competition, and then all of their descendents are resistant.

    The factor you spoke of is fascinating and probably makes the little creeps even tougher, but it's not necessary for antibiotic resistant bacteria to thrive in the presence of antibiotics.
  4. SubscriberAThousandYoung
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    30 Mar '08 15:461 edit
    Originally posted by pawnhandler
    Are you saying that you have a solution, or should people not take antibiotics and go back to dying so that the germs don't mutate?
    It's a tough call. I'm a Libertarian. I hate having the government tell people what to do. Taxing or requiring a prescription for antibiotics of any kind, including soaps, might work, but it makes me uncomfortable.

    Maybe consumer pressure on the companies in the form of boycotts and the like? But I am too lazy to bother to organize it.
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    30 Mar '08 22:38
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    (text shortened)
    If 98% of the bacteria died because of the antibiotics, the 2% who are left don't need to absorb DNA to become antibiotic resistant. They already are! That's why they didn't die. What happens though is that they then breed with no competition, and then all of their descendents are resistant.
    In addition to the excerpt of your text quoted above, the resistant strains can also pass their resistant gene to other non-resistant bacteria by conjugation if they are in close enough vicinity. So this helps resistant strains to be wide-spread and also multiple resistant strains to emerge. Crafty they are 🙁
  6. Subscribersonhouse
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    31 Mar '08 10:14
    Originally posted by kyue
    In addition to the excerpt of your text quoted above, the resistant strains can also pass their resistant gene to other non-resistant bacteria by conjugation if they are in close enough vicinity. So this helps resistant strains to be wide-spread and also multiple resistant strains to emerge. Crafty they are 🙁
    There is an article in the most recent Scientific American about the issue, and its even more insidious than it appeared even last year. Now we find that bare DNA getting through all the sewer water treatment plants are resources for bacteria, which before now has never been tested. The biggest load of antibiotics and DNA comes from feedstock which are fed these things in order to grow faster but the antibacterials end up in waters draining from the thousands of ranches so the problem is much greater than first thought. How many people think hospitals are germ free? The most virulent varieties are grown there.
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    31 Mar '08 10:49
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    It's a tough call. I'm a Libertarian. I hate having the government tell people what to do. Taxing or requiring a prescription for antibiotics of any kind, including soaps, might work, but it makes me uncomfortable.

    Maybe consumer pressure on the companies in the form of boycotts and the like? But I am too lazy to bother to organize it.
    Thats one of the problems with a Libertarian system. Many people are gullible enough that the advertising companies rule the world.
    I think a partial solution would be for the government to publicize the scientific findings on the matter. Rather like the "surgeons general warning" does not stop you smoking but at least you know where you stand.

    With antibiotics its not so much people wanting antibiotics but doctors being to ready to prescribe them.

    With antibiotic hand soaps etc, I get annoyed at the amount of false advertising that goes on regarding them. If you watched tv adds in South Africa you would think that you were about to die from a deadly disease if you didn't wash your hands with detol every 5 minutes.

    The main killer diseases today: malaria, HIV, tuberculosis will not be prevented by washing your hands. Some others: dysentery, cholera etc might be, but ordinary soap will normally do the job.
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    31 Mar '08 10:51
    The issue of the treatment/resistance cycle is well known to farmers who must keep changing their pesticides to stay ahead.
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    31 Mar '08 16:331 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    The issue of the treatment/resistance cycle is well known to farmers who must keep changing their pesticides to stay ahead.
    The problem is at what point will the bugs get so strong that NO antistuff will kill them? Where the only thing that will off them is a big dose of UV or something. One recent finding about AIDS btw, is they can pretty much reduce the virus load in blood by having a machine that takes the blood out of the system, and zaps it with a special laser and then back into the body, the blood cells unaffected but the virus killed. We will see if if pans out as a real lifesaver.
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    31 Mar '08 23:23
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    There is an article in the most recent Scientific American about the issue, and its even more insidious than it appeared even last year. Now we find that bare DNA getting through all the sewer water treatment plants are resources for bacteria, which before now has never been tested. The biggest load of antibiotics and DNA comes from feedstock which are fed ...[text shortened]... ght. How many people think hospitals are germ free? The most virulent varieties are grown there.
    Sounds like a nightmare.

    I'd like to read about it. Would you give us a link?
  11. Subscribersonhouse
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    01 Apr '08 02:431 edit
    Originally posted by kyue
    Sounds like a nightmare.

    I'd like to read about it. Would you give us a link?
    Here is an old article from BBC, about 2003:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2918423.stm

    Here is the scary one:
    http://discovermagazine.com/2008/mar/14-dna-pollution-may-be-spawning-killer-microbes
  12. SubscriberAThousandYoung
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    01 Apr '08 04:21
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    The problem is at what point will the bugs get so strong that NO antistuff will kill them? Where the only thing that will off them is a big dose of UV or something. One recent finding about AIDS btw, is they can pretty much reduce the virus load in blood by having a machine that takes the blood out of the system, and zaps it with a special laser and then b ...[text shortened]... the blood cells unaffected but the virus killed. We will see if if pans out as a real lifesaver.
    That's one of the first things that jumped into my mind when thinking about curing AIDS. Have a tube going into the person and one coming out. The tubes go to a machine that purifies the blood outside of the body itside itself then it goes back to the body.
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    01 Apr '08 07:59
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    The problem is at what point will the bugs get so strong that NO antistuff will kill them? Where the only thing that will off them is a big dose of UV or something. One recent finding about AIDS btw, is they can pretty much reduce the virus load in blood by having a machine that takes the blood out of the system, and zaps it with a special laser and then b ...[text shortened]... the blood cells unaffected but the virus killed. We will see if if pans out as a real lifesaver.
    With crops a partial solution is to cut down on mono culture. The reason the bugs are so successful is that there are vast areas of one crop. If you grow one crop one year and another the next, the bugs for the new crop wont be around.
    Nature has taught us that in places like the amazon, there is a vast variety of life for this very reason. The moment a life form gets to successful, so does a bug that preys on it.

    The partial solution for man, is to not treat unnecessarily. You should not take antibiotics unless you have a bacterial infection. Doctors are too ready to dish out antibiotics for everything 'just in case'. For example, if you get the common cold (a viral infection), the doctor may prescribe an antibiotic because: 1. He cant cure the virus and 2. There is a possibility that you might get a bacterial lung infection due to the congestion.
    Malaria treatment also suffers from the same problem. When I was young, doctors would prescribe malaria treatment for everything from a common cold to a stubbed toenail. The general rule was - treat for malaria, and if that doesn't work then we'll take another look at you.

    Other diseases such as HIV are best solved by tackling the transmission stage.

    Another factor not mentioned so far in this thread is that excessive use of antibiotics including antibiotic soaps etc may lead to your immune system not learning about bad bugs so that when it does get attacked it is in a weakened state.
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    01 Apr '08 08:05
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    That's one of the first things that jumped into my mind when thinking about curing AIDS. Have a tube going into the person and one coming out. The tubes go to a machine that purifies the blood outside of the body itside itself then it goes back to the body.
    Two objections:
    (1) The virus doesn't alwasys be in the blood, they are also inside cells in every part of your body. To clean the blood from virus doesn't solve the problem.
    (2) There is no known techique to purify the blood from virus and not purify it from other things that must be there for our lifes. Blood is not only a fluid, it contains a lot of other stuff.
  15. Subscribersonhouse
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    01 Apr '08 09:20
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    Two objections:
    (1) The virus doesn't alwasys be in the blood, they are also inside cells in every part of your body. To clean the blood from virus doesn't solve the problem.
    (2) There is no known techique to purify the blood from virus and not purify it from other things that must be there for our lifes. Blood is not only a fluid, it contains a lot of other stuff.
    I will look for the link, but there is a technique now that can do just that, kill the virus in blood by pulling it outside the body and zapping the blood with a low powered laser that fries the HIV virus but leaves everything else alone. While its true the virus hides out inside cells, its the virus load in the blood that spreads it around the body, thats where the biggest number is. Its not a cure but a delaying tactic till something permenant come along. Remember, it has bolluxed the medical profession for over 20 years. Aids 1, humans 1/2.
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