Thursday, February 11, 2016

Don't Trust that Prescription

    
It’s natural for us to reach for some sort of antibiotic whenever we feel the slightest symptoms of a cold.  However, it has been proven that antibiotics could actually be harmful to our health.    
     Each year, more than two million people in the United States develop drug-resistant infections, and of these two million people, at least 23,000 die from these infections.  This antibiotic resistance is when microbes acquire genetic mutation making it resistant to anti-bacterial agents, such as antibiotics.  

     The problem arises when doctors prescribe patients with a drug but receive lab results confirming the doctor’s diagnosis correct a whole day or two after the patient starts to take the drug.  During this long waiting period, the patient would end up taking too many unnecessary antibiotics, building up antibiotic resistance.  
     It would be nice to be able to prevent this antibiotic resistance, and that is what a research lab at Seoul National University has been focused on developing.  The team has been developing faster tests that would allow doctors to take bacterial samples and observe the images of the cells for the specific changes in the structure.  This has been done by immobilizing single bacterial cells, and the development of a microfluidic chip that creates an ideal environment for the survival of bacteria.  These methods provide environments for a better diagnosis.    

     These enhanced images and careful observation would lead to a much better diagnosis, and reduce the delay that occurs after a doctor’s initial prescription.  To prevent our resistance to where treatments will no longer be effective, these new methods will allow us to receive definite, effective treatments in a timely fashion.  

Citation: Maron, Dina. "A Faster Way to Diagnose Antibiotic Resistance." Scientific American Global RSS. Web. 8. Feb. 2016.

Yustina Kang (Group 2)

14 comments:

  1. Antibiotic resistance is a serious issue that should be greatly focused on today. If our bodies are becoming resistant to antibiotics then what would be a better alternative? We are not only getting resistant to antibiotics through medication but also by the food we eat. For example, the meat we consume may contain antibiotics which can greatly increase the our resistance even more.

    Sarah Ona

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  2. I've heard this is also a problem with people self medicating with over the counter cold and flu medicine at the first sign of a runny nose. People use them so often that bacteria can start to develop resistance over time. The scary thing about that is that most people probably have or still do this without even realizing that they could be contributing to the problem. This is definitely something that needs more attention.

    -Cole DiStasio (Group 1)

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  3. This is huge right now in the medical field. People are abusing antibiotics and doctors are fearing there will be a "super bug" that develops. With constant antibiotic abuse, there is a threat of a "super bug" that will not respond to any antibiotic we have discovered. The new imaging will help us battle this problem by providing a quicker outcome to prevent patients from having to take antibiotics. It's very important to the industry, and I am looking forward to seeing how popular this new testing system becomes.

    Dasha Agoulnik (Group 1)

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  4. Antibiotics is definitely interesting but I found it slightly difficult to follow your thought process and the progression of some background in antibiotics to possible alternative methods for diagnosis. Also, is the two day period between prescription and diagnosis confirmation long enough to build up antibiotic resistance to deem the treatment ineffective? Just curious, otherwise a very interesting post.

    Allen Currier

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    1. .Although the two-day period seems like a short amount of time, the patient could be taking antibiotics that do not have anything to do with the illness and build up resistance in this way. With the newer diagnostic methods, the lab would confirm the diagnosis in a much faster and much more accurate way. This way the patient would not risk several days of useless antibiotics and take an antibiotic that actually effectively treats.
      (Yustina)

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  5. Lately, I have heard many people discussing that antibiotic resistance is becoming a huge issue. People are continuing to use medicine that they necessary don't need to be taking. The more of the medicine a person takes, the more the bacteria will resist that antibiotic over time. This is a serious issue because over time a type of antibiotic that was once used to cure a sickness will now have no affect.

    -Rebecca Thomas

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  6. This topic has always interested me. I agree too that antibiotic abuse is a serious issue that needs to be given more thought. I think the idea of being able to see what specific bacteria is infecting the patient at a faster pace is great. Many people not informed about this issue think colds can get better through antibiotics, and often push for antibiotic prescription. Another interesting topic about antibiotics is the affect on our microflora in the gut. Overusing antibiotics can do a number on our gut by killing many communities of microbes, good and bad. This leads to immune system issues, digestive issues and many more. Overall, abuse of antibiotics should be watched more carefully to avoid resistance and any other problem that follows.

    Cara Murphy

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  7. Antibiotics today remind of how pesticides were in the mid 1900s. During that time, farmers were desperate to rid their crops of insects using these chemicals. What they didn't expect was that each generation of the pests would develop strong resistance against the pesticide. In a way, this is very similar to the problem we are facing now with antibiotics. Do we really want to keep causing diseases to evolve to be more resistant?

    Chris Richard

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  8. I think a big part of the problem with antibiotics is that people often times seek medical attention for issues that will go away on their own. That said- meaning something like a cold or similar trivial problem. Antibiotics should be used in situations where the body truly needs assistance in fighting infection, rather than using antibiotics for any possible sort of issue, before it even becomes an issue.

    Erina Taradai

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  9. I agree that many people in society look for the easy route when they are sick and will reach for prescriptions when they are not always necessary. I have read that there is a big problem with pushy parents who will demand antibiotics when there child has a virus and try to pressure the doctor to giving their child medicine they do not need. Also, if the doctors are prescribing these drugs before the diagnoses is confirmed, should the doctors be held responsible for the negative side effects?

    Ashley Geary

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    1. I found what you are saying to be very interesting. I never thought about who should be held responsible for the administering of these antibiotics. I believe personally that doctors should only be held responsible when there is a clear violation of the law, and not with just the possibility of building up antibiotic resistance.
      (Yustina)

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  10. I can see how increased prescriptions could be a problem, in America in particular. I just recently learned that America is one of the few countries that air ads for prescription medicine on television. This creates a problem because people are now going to their doctors asking for prescriptions they might not need rather than having it prescribed to them based on a proper diagnoses of their symptoms. This also further complicates the problem with antibiotic resistance.

    Mahder Haile

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  11. I can definitely see where you are going with this article on prescription drugs. It is scary to see the increase of antibiotic resistance in patients. What can be an alternative to antibiotics if it becomes a larger issue that people are building a resistance to them? Another way to look at things is that I feel as though a lot of patients that are prescribed antibiotics don't necessarily need them. By decreasing the amount of antibiotics prescribed we could decrease the amount of patients becoming resistant to them.

    Stephanie Aboody

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  12. i have learned in my biology class back in high school that not only are our bodies growing immune to antibiotics, but viruses and bacteria that inhabit hospitals are also growing resistant to antibiotics as well through natural selection and mutation of genes. This will be a prevalent issue given that we have not come up with an alternative or another drug that can replace antibiotics and target and kill viruses and bacteria. It is true that we excessively use antibiotics, and as a result, there are and will be consequences.

    -Soffie Jobarteh

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