Thursday, September 11, 2008

Honey Kills Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Increased rates of antibiotic resistant infections have led to a dramatic decrease in the effectiveness of almost all conventional drugs. Long live the honey bee! Traditional folk healers have talked about the virtues of honey for treating infections while conventionally trained physicians have long dismissed these claims. Finally there is a bit of science supporting the claims that honey just might have some effect after all.

Researchers in the Netherlands, with government and industry support, investigated the antimicrobial properties of a "medical-grade" honey, which is produced by bees in closed greenhouses. In in vitro studies of bactericidal activity, a 40% solution of honey reproducibly killed all bacterial isolates tested, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin-resistant Escherichia faecium, and multidrug-resistant gram-negative rods. Forty-two healthy volunteers then had small forearm patches of skin swabbed with honey and covered with polyurethane dressings for 2 days. Compared with control skin patches (covered with polyurethane, but without honey) on the same volunteers, the honey-covered patches were culture-negative for bacteria significantly more often. 

Be careful with store bought honey however, because grocery-grade honey is not standardized and can be bacterially contaminated. Much to bee lovers delight, honey might one day take its place alongside mupirocin as a topical microbicide or even as a treatment for wounds that are infected with multidrug-resistant organisms.

Kwakman PHS et al. Medical-grade honey kills antibiotic-resistant bacteria in vitro and eradicates skin colonization. Clin Infect Dis 2008 Jun 1; 46:1677

Citation Link

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Merck Ghostwrites Drug Studies for Doctors

The practice of ghostwriting research articles calls into question all legitimate research that's been conducted by the pharmaceutical industry by academic physicians.

Merck, a major drug manufacturer drafted dozens of research studies for a best selling drug Vioxx. To give validity to the study, Merck was in want of a big-name researcher. Before publication lined up prestigious doctors to put their names on the reports according to a leading medical journal.

This practice calls into question all legitimate research that's been conducted by the pharmaceutical industry with academic physicians.

Vioxx, a best selling drug was pulled from the market after causing heart attacks and killing many people. The company agreed to pay a $4.8 billion settlement to resolve tens of thousands of of lawsuits.

To quote from the JAMA article: "This case-study review of industry documents demonstrates that clinical trial manuscripts related to rofecoxib were authored by sponsor employees but often attributed first authorship to academically affiliated investigators who did not always disclose industry financial support. Review manuscripts were often prepared by unacknowledged authors and subsequently attributed authorship to academically affiliated investigators who often did not disclose industry financial support."

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Hydration, Water and Health

It is well known that as we age, the thirst drive decreases. Maintaining adequate fluid balance is an essential component of health at every stage of life. Age-related changes make older adults more vulnerable to shifts in water balance that can result in overhydration or, more frequently, dehydration.

Maintaining good hydration status has been shown to positively affect urolithiasis (kidney stones) and may be beneficial in treating urinary tract infection, constipation, hypertension, venous thromboembolism, fatal coronary heart disease, stroke, dental disease, hyperosmolar hyperglycemic diabetic ketoacidosis , gallstone disease, mitral valve prolapse, and glaucoma. Local mild hypohydration or dehydration may play a critical role in the pathogenesis of several broncho-pulmonary disorders like exercise asthma or cystic fibrosis. In bladder and colon cancers, the evidence on hydration status' effects is inconsistent.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Electromangetic Fields (EMF) and Public Health

Everyday we swim in a sea of electromagnetic radiation produced by electrical appliances, power lines, and a slew of modern technologies. New research is suggesting that exposure to elevated levels of EMF magnetic fields such as those from electric power transmission lines are implicated in a number of adverse health effects. These include but are not limited to childhood leukemias, breast cancer, neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS, miscarriage, and cllinical depression.

There appears to be a statistical correlation between various diseases and living near power-lines. The physical mechanism is still unclear however it is believed that the EMF is disrupting the ability of our cells to communicate with each other. This disruption in intercellular communication can cause symptoms of electrosensitivity such as inability to sleep, general malaise and headaches as well as more serious concerns.

Check out these links below for more information:

Epidemiologic Literature on EMF and Health

Magnetic Field Exposure and Neurodegenerative Disease

Neurodegenerative Diseases and Workers Exposed to High Levels of Magnetic Fields

Magnetic Fields and Miscarriages 1

Magnetic Fields and Miscarriages 2

Increased Exposure to Aerosol Polutants Under Power Lines

Thursday, March 13, 2008

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Special thanks to Derek and Heather!

Don't Drink the Water!!!

The AP reports that a vast array of pharmaceuticals — including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones — are entering our bodies via the drinking water delivered to homes and workplaces. Millions of Americans are being affected.

The presence of so many prescription drugs — and over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen — in so much of our drinking water is heightening worries among scientists of long-term consequences to human health.

Check out more here:

As Drug Advertisements Surge, More Prescriptions Filled

Prescription-drug ads prompt nearly one-third of Americans to ask their doctors about an advertised medicine, and 82% of those who ask say their physicians recommended a prescription.