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Better Living Through Well Being

The overuse of antibiotics in human healthcare, veterinarian, and agricultural settings has created a global crisis. With ever-increasing bacterial resistance and a dire shortage of effective antibiotics, many thousands are dying every year, constituting a major public health issue. Without immediate and collaborative action, more infections are going to become impossible to treat. This is an urgent call to awareness and a crusade to action for wiser use of antibiotics in animal and human health.

“The increase in antibiotic resistant bacteria poses a major healthcare threat. In the face of an almost complete absence of new antimicrobial drugs in development, antibiotic resistance (ABR) has become one of the main public health problems of our time.” This is the opening statement of “The WAAAR declaration against antibiotic resistance,” with ten recommendations for action to safeguard the effectiveness of antibiotics and to stabilize the bacterial ecosystem. The World Alliance Against Antibiotic Resistance (WAAAR) is a nonprofit international group of key players of the healthcare sector from 55 different countries. It receives no funding from the pharmaceutical industry and is open to professionals and consumers worldwide.

Few people really grasp the dire scope of this problem. Treatment failures due to multiple drug resistant (MDR) bacteria are no longer limited to hospitals and now occur commonly in the community as well. Use of an antibiotic in a single patient can select for ABR that can spread to other people, animals, and the environment, making an antibacterial used in one patient ineffective in many others. This type of bacterial resistance can evolve rapidly. As bacteria acquire resistance mechanisms, the altered bacterial genetic material coding for resistance mechanisms can be transmitted between bacteria, extending the resistance. Antibiotic resistance is also directly related to the volume of antibiotics used. Increasing amounts of antibiotics used in healthcare and agriculture are being discharged into the environment.

According to WAAAR, safeguarding antibiotics will require a concerted effort by citizens, patients, and prescribers. They have created their declaration document with the primary goal to raise awareness about the urgency and magnitude of the threat and promote an international dialogue. Actions advocated by WAAAR include standardized monitoring of antibiotic use, rapid and appropriate use of diagnostic tests to aid in distinguishing bacterial and nonbacterial etiologies and selection of targeted therapies and duration of treatment, information and awareness campaigns directed at the public on expectations about the rational use of antibiotics, continuous education and training in the curriculum for all healthcare professionals in all settings, and education of farmers.

In order to disseminate its Declaration, WAAAR is seizing the opportunity to have a signed resolution about the program during the Annual General Meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO).

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New medical treatments are needed in the fight to prevent and stop the spread of infection from flesh-eating bacteria. Many people lose limbs or even die from this necrotizing fasciitis when it is triggered by bacteria that are resistant to common antibiotics. The bacteria, typically Streptococcus, get under the skin and spread, and the toxins produced by the bacteria and the body’s own immune response eat away tissue. In the current standard of care, doctors flood the body with heavy doses of intravenous antibiotics and cut away dead tissue, but toxins continue to eat away tissue, which requires more surgery and even amputation. The mortality rate from this disease is currently over 20 percent.

Fortunately, a new treatment for this life-threatening disease has been developed that can fight the resistant bacteria that turn scratches into deadly infections. Dr. John Crew, director of the Advanced Wound Care Center at Seton Medical Center in Daly City, California, has developed a ground-breaking treatment described in a recent paper in the medial journal “Wounds.” The basic idea is to neutralize the toxins that eat away flesh by irrigating the wounds of necrotizing fasciitis patients with a substance called hypochlorous acid (HOCI), a natural chemical produced by white blood cells as a first defense against microbial invaders. Lab studies show that hypochlorous acid not only kills bacteria, but it neutralizes the toxins and appears to stop the spread of the dying tissue.

To date, all patients treated with this new irrigation method used in combination with a common vacuum technique called negative pressure wound therapy have been spared their limbs and their lives.

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Other articles of interest in this Summer 2014 TMIS eNewsletter:

* Seattle Children’s Hospital discovers a mutation of the CHD8 gene that will enable intervention at three or six months of age -- a real game changer in the treatment of autism.

* Safety tips for the home and on the road to keep your family and friends safe throughout the summer season.

* A new campaign aims to break the silence around an often-neglected area of women’s health -- sex after menopause.

* British Prime Minister David Cameron warns many countries about the increasing threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria; says new weapons are needed to fight resistant bacteria and avoid being “cast back into the dark ages of medicine.”

* Tips for skin cancer prevention while in your car.

* National chain begins rollout of shops to dispense legal sales of marijuana.

* Biobalance Integrated Wellness revolutionizes care for veterans with PTSD and TBI using neurofeedback with BrainPaint EEG.

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I am grateful to be in a collaborative business with many talented and skilled professionals. Additional feedback and recommendations for our products and services at TM Information Services are always welcome.

- Mary Michele McLaughlin


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