Antibiotic ‘Last line of defence under threat’ say researchers

You may have read in the news recently that our last line of defence against bacterial infection has come under serious threat. While hospitals are already forced into using ‘last-resort‘ antibiotics, new research results suggest we may reach breaking point soon.

This final stand against the tide of antibacterial infection comes in the form of Polymyxin. A group of antibiotics with a general structure of a cyclic peptide and a long hydrocarbon tail. They kill bacteria by binding with lipids in the phospolipid membrane and thus disintegrating it. While this group of antibiotics was developed around 60 years ago they are rarely used. This is because they are both neuro- and nephrotoxic; affecting both the nervous system and the kidneys.

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Why herbal medicines may not be such a joke

This post has stemmed directly from my undergraduate research, where I tested extracts from the plant Espeletia pycnophylla against microbial pathogens to determine if this plant had potential as an antimicrobial.

Herbal medicines are a type of dietary supplement sold as tablets, capsules, teas and extracts that derive from plants but can also extend to honey and fungal products.The use of plants for medicinal purposes is known as herbalism. When people hear the terms traditional, herbal or alternative medicines many people scoff and picture thoughts of a shaman dancing around a fire blowing smoke in your face shaking maraca’s while calling on the gods for healing, however before the advent of modern medicine plants and natural compounds were used as medicines for thousands of years to treat almost every type of infection. In some developing countries plants are still the only source of medicinal compounds with up to 80% of the population depending upon traditional medicines.

Continue reading Why herbal medicines may not be such a joke

Bacterial antibiotic resistance explained in a short video

A fantastic short educational video on bacterial antibiotic resistance genes, it helped me to visualise the mechanisms when i was revising for my undergraduate microbiology exam. This and other videos by Armando Hasudungan deserve a lot more popularity as they are very well put together and explain things with great clarity.