Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

‘Good’ Bacteria Could Save Patients From Infection by Deadlier Ones

03.11.2005


Can it be that the stress on the use of antiseptics and antibiotics in hospitals is actually putting patients at a greater risk of suffering fatal bacterial infection?



Yes, argues Mark Spigelman, a visiting professor at the Sanford F. Kuvin Center for the Study of Infectious and Tropical Diseases at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Faculty of Medicine. Prof. Spigelman points to a recent BBC report on the poor record of bacterial infections in patients (the worst in Europe) in British public hospitals, especially involving the deadly MRSA (methacillin resistant staphylococcus aureus) bacteria. Despite being around for 40 years, these bacteria are still basically found only in hospitals. The question Spigelman asks is why?

Spigelman, who is also a visiting professor at University College London, argues in an article appearing in the current online edition of the Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England that the stress on antibiotics and scrubbing with antiseptic soap may actually open an avenue for the more virulent forms of bacteria to attack patients. This is so because these “preventive” measures destroy beneficial bacteria, while at the same time the more “nasty” bacteria are often able to survive by adapting themselves to the pharmacological means used against them.


Since different strains of bacteria do not generally occupy the same surfaces, it would be better, argues Spigelman, to allow the harmless or “good” bacteria to live in the hospital environment, thus creating a kind of natural protection against the deadlier strains.

To test his hypothesis, Spigelman suggests experimenting with antibiotic-free hospitals in which harmless bacteria would be free to exist and there would be no environmental “incentive” for the more virulent strains to develop. Any patients needing antibiotics would be transferred to hospitals where they are in use. Doctors in the antibiotic-free hospitals would not enter and treat patients in antibiotic-using hospitals.

Along the same lines, he suggests that when doctors finish washing their hands with antiseptics, they might plunge their hands into a solutions saturated with harmless bacteria – for example “bioactive yoghurt.” The same approach, perhaps, should be applied to patients’ tissues that are to be exposed to surgery.

Admitting that his ideas may sound absurd to some, the fact is that MRSA has become widespread in hospitals – including in Israel as well as the UK -- where the most advanced antibiotics and most rigorous antiseptic measures are taken. One must ask, says Spigelman, “why more of the same does not seem to be working?” The approach he suggests is that “we ought to begin treating the cause and not the consequence of this disease”.

Jerry Barach | alfa
Further information:
http://www.huji.ac.il

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Routing gene therapy directly into the brain
07.12.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital

nachricht New Hope for Cancer Therapies: Targeted Monitoring may help Improve Tumor Treatment
01.12.2017 | Berliner Institut für Gesundheitsforschung / Berlin Institute of Health (BIH)

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

Blockchain is becoming more important in the energy market

05.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New research identifies how 3-D printed metals can be both strong and ductile

11.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

11.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

What makes corals sick?

11.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>