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The case for intelligent antibiotics for complex life forms

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Contrary to claims that the human body is poorly designed, it’s well enough designed that efforts help it do its job often result in unintended to harm. That’s the message from MD’s concerned about the changes wrought by overuse of antibiotic, in particular

Excessive use of antibiotics may be more damaging than originally thought. In addition to creating drug-resistant superbugs, they may be doing permanent harm to the human gut, contributing to increases in obesity, allergies, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease and diabetes, warns a commentary in the journal Nature.

– Martin Blaser, medicine department chair, NewYork University, quoted in Theresa Boyle, “Antibiotics may be doing permanent harm, doctor says” (Toronto Star, August 24, 2011)

While antibiotics have helped increase life expectancy, they are non-discriminatory and destroy even friendly bacteria. Scientists have found that some of the beneficial bacteria may never recover and these extinctions may lead to increased susceptibility to infections and disease, Blaser writes. Indeed, studies have shown links between antibiotic use and obesity, allergies, asthma and inflammatory bowel disease.

To reduce the toll of friendly fire, Dr. Blaser is calling for drugs targeted to specific bacterial invaders. “Kill ‘em all; let God sort ‘em out” is no strategy for complex systems.

Dr. Blaser is mainly concerned about the useful or harmless bax that the antibiotic kills and cripples in addition to pathogens. And here’s a vid on pathogens gaining antimicrobial resistance despite the carnage of other  bax:

See also: Ancient bacteria resisted antibiotics they’d never met – jumping genes implicated

3 Replies to “The case for intelligent antibiotics for complex life forms

  1. 1
    Petrushka says:

    I have personally been “harmed” by antibiotics that killed off friendly gut bacteria.

    That was inconvenient, but I would have been dead otherwise.

    One of the interesting things about genetic engineering is that distant future biologist will be able to sort out the results of genetic engineering. Particularly in multi-celled organisms.

  2. 2
    Joseph says:

    Probiotics- after a course of antibiotics start a course of probiotics.

    Heck just take probiotics.

  3. 3
    Petrushka says:

    Probiotics and nine months. I believe they call the infection C.diff.

    Tough to beat.

    After I made the association with antibiotics i made sure I told doctors about my susceptibility.

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