February 28, 2013
Describing the routine use of antibiotics in meat and poultry production as a "serious threat to public health," the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2010 called on livestock operations to voluntarily reduce their reliance on the medications. But an FDA report this month indicates that, so far, the results are unimpressive: Antibiotic sales to livestock operations rose in 2011, rather than falling. It is unclear why the numbers went up - perhaps there were simply more animals - and in fact, new legislation seeks to require better information on this score.
January 17, 2013 |
A new study has found that an infusion of feces from a healthy person into an ailing patient's gut was significantly more effective than a traditional antibiotic treatment - raising hopes that the unconventional approach could one day help combat obesity, food allergies and a host of other maladies. The study, published online Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine, demonstrated that the fecal transplant cleared up a recurrent bacterial infection far more reliably than the routinely prescribed medication.
November 27, 2012 |
A Consumer Reports analysis of American pork purchased in grocery and specialty stores has found that many samples contained high levels of a bacterium that causes food poisoning. More worrisome, much of the bacteria samples were resistant to antibiotics. According to the report, the magazine tested 148 samples of pork chops and 50 samples of ground pork for harmful bacteria from a wide range of stores in six American cities. (The stores are listed in the report, which can be found on the Consumer Reports website.)
November 14, 2012 |
For most people who contract Lyme disease - a bacterial infection borne by ticks - a course of antibiotics does the trick. But for some, especially those who live in areas like the Northeast U.S., where Lyme disease is particularly common, the infection comes back. That raises questions about whether the disease is recurring - a single infection leading to multiple bouts with symptoms - or if reinfection is occurring, meaning the patient is unlucky enough to have been bit again. Now a new study, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine , appears to lay the question to rest: Such patients are reinfected, and Lyme disease does not appear to recur after successful courses of antibiotics.
November 13, 2012 |
Patterns of antibiotic overuse vary in the U.S. vary by region, with residents of some Southeastern states taking about twice as many antibiotics per capita as residents in some Western states. According to the Washington-based Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy , Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana were the states with the highest rates of antibiotic use in 2010. Those states had more than one antibiotic prescription per capita in 2010. The states with the lowest use of antibiotics that year were Alaska, Hawaii, California, Oregon and Washington, with just over one prescription for every two people. Overall, the rate of antibiotic prescriptions in the U.S. declined from 966 prescriptions for each 1,000 residents in 1999 to 801 in 2010.
September 10, 2012 |
I've never met anyone who buys organic food to get more vitamins and minerals, so it's unclear why the public has been treated to a series of studies -- most recently a meta-review out of Stanford University -- telling us that for the most part organics don't have more vitamins and minerals. As a Times editorial pointed out last week, consumers buy organic to avoid ingesting common agricultural chemicals and to prevent those chemicals from harming the environment. Pesticide levels in organic food were found to be significantly lower.