Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Promising Hospital Anti-infection Strategy Probably Won’t Work

11.08.2004


Hospital patients increasingly face tenacious bacterial infections because microbes found in hospitals acquire resistance to commonly prescribed antibiotics. A recent strategy alternating the most commonly used antibiotics has sparked hope of stopping the spread of antibiotic resistance.



But a new model shows that the practice of cycling – alternating between two or more classes of antibiotics as often as every few months – probably will not work. It is an unexpected finding at a time when clinical tests of the practice with real patients are in progress.

"We were really surprised. We expected to find a number of cases where it would work, and it was the exact opposite," said Carl Bergstrom, a University of Washington assistant professor of biology.


Instead of cycling, Bergstrom said, hospitals could probably help patients more by prescribing a variety of antibiotics, a method known as mixing. That means instead of having a standard, rotating antibiotic that is used routinely within a single unit, such as intensive care, or even throughout the hospital, a more effective strategy would be to have two or more generally prescribed antibiotics being administered randomly. Two people sharing a room could routinely receive different antibiotics.

Bergstrom noted that antibiotic mixing already is relatively common, not as a conscious strategy but rather because individual doctors develop preferences for the types of medications they prescribe. That can instigate the same type of antibiotic variety as mixing would introduce.

The theory behind antibiotic cycling is that, just as a pathogen strain begins to adapt to a particular antibiotic, a new antibiotic is introduced and the pathogen must start from scratch in building resistance. However, the model implies that pathogens actually encounter new antibiotics more frequently when hospitals use antibiotic mixing than when they use cycling, so cycling is unlikely to reduce resistance levels.

"If the cycling trials that are underway don’t work, we’ll know why they don’t," Bergstrom said. "And if they do work, the people conducting the trials are going to have to do further investigation on why they are working, because the rationale that we’ve been using for cycling doesn’t hold true."

The study is based on numerical models that examined the mechanics of how microbial infections spread in hospitals and how the microbes build resistance to antibiotics. Bergstrom is the lead author of a paper detailing the work, which is being published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and will appear online the week of Aug. 9. Co-authors are Monique Lo and Marc Lipsitch of the Harvard University School of Public Health.

Another implication of the work, Bergstrom said, is that cycling actually could be detrimental to patients, "so the studies need to be very carefully monitored to make sure we are not causing additional harm in the hospital."

He likened a hospital to a disease-ridden island in the middle of a relatively healthy river. As people get well and leave the island, they can carry with them the antibiotic-resistant organisms developed on the island and the pathogen can spread. That can make things worse when the patients carrying the resistant pathogens return to the hospital-island, as they often do.

"When you release resistant bacteria into the community, I think it’s a lot like polluting an ocean," Bergstrom said. "At first you don’t notice, but then it starts to creep up on you and you have a real problem. And then it’s hard, maybe even impossible, to go back and fix it."

| newswise
Further information:
http://www.washington.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule
12.12.2018 | UT Southwestern Medical Center

nachricht Pain: Perception and motor impulses arise in the brain independently of one another
12.12.2018 | Technische Universität München

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: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

Im Focus: Three components on one chip

Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.

Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule

12.12.2018 | Health and Medicine

CCNY-Yale researchers make shape shifting cell breakthrough

12.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Pain: Perception and motor impulses arise in the brain independently of one another

12.12.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>