Tagantibiotics

Ancient Nubians Drank Antibiotic Beer?

ancient brew

A chemical analysis of the bones of ancient Nubians shows that they were regularly consuming tetracycline, most likely in their beer.

A chemical analysis of the bones of ancient Nubians shows that they were regularly consuming tetracycline, most likely in their beer. The finding is the strongest evidence yet that the art of making antibiotics, which officially dates to the discovery of penicillin in 1928, was common practice nearly 2,000 years ago.
The research, led by Emory anthropologist George Armelagos and medicinal chemist Mark Nelson of Paratek Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

“We tend to associate drugs that cure diseases with modern medicine,” Armelagos says. “But it’s becoming increasingly clear that this prehistoric population was using empirical evidence to develop therapeutic agents. I have no doubt that they knew what they were doing.”

PhysOrg: Ancient brew masters tapped drug secrets

(Thanks Paul!)

Disrupting Bacterial Communications Could Compliment Antibiotics

Quorum sensing diagram

Chatter between bacterial cells may stall healing of skin wounds, and sabotaging that chitchat could offer another way to battle infection, new research suggests.

Making Pseudomonas aeruginosa deaf to the molecular signals that the bacteria use to talk to each other would offer a kind of antibiotic therapy that doesn’t kill bacterial cells but rather strikes at their ability to attack human cells en masse, Jasper Jacobsen of the Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen said May 24 at a meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

Science News: Bacterial chitchat proves distracting for wound healing

See also:

Hacking Your Body’s Bacteria for Better Health

Bacteria vs. Humans: Score One for Us

Talking to bacteria

Life extention myths debunked

At the end of her essay, Schaub worries about decreased fertility; that healthy oldsters would be less interested in reproducing. A first response is: so what? Shouldn’t the decision to have children be up to individuals? After all, already countries with the highest life expectancies have the lowest levels of fertility. A lack of interest in progeny could have the happy side effect of addressing the possibility that radically increased human lifespans might lead to overpopulation. No one can know for sure, but it could well be that bearing and rearing children would eventually interest long-lived oldsters who would come to feel that they had the time and the resources to do it right. Since assisted reproductive techniques will extend procreation over many decades, people who can look forward to living and working for hundreds of years will be able to delay and stretch out the period of parenthood.

[…]

Callahan’s demand that all problems that doubled healthy lifespans might cause be solved in advance is just silly. Humanity did not solve all of the problems caused by the introduction of farming, electricity, automobiles, antibiotics, sanitation, and computers in advance. We proceeded by trial and error and corrected problems as they arose. We should be allowed do the same thing with any new age-retardation techniques that biomedical research may develop.

Full Story: Cato Unbound.

Phil Hine interviews Ramsey Dukes

I think I’ve read this interview before but this is more or less how I feel about the occult and magick right now:

The trouble with successes in magic is that you can look back and describe some things that happened and they are so amazing when that when you tell them to people they think you must be the world’s greatest Magician if you could do things like that. But you know that actually they didn’t happen in the way magic ought to – ?I just want this to happen and I make it happen’. Very little have I managed to achieve in that way, life has a habit of springing surprises however hard you try to direct it. Some of those surprises are uncannily close to what you asked for, and yet they have a way of occurring which is not what you expected. I am very much aware of what is happening to me and it’s a sort of theme which occurs in fairy stories; the wish is granted but it doesn’t work out the way it was meant to. I think it must be a cosmic law that that should happen.

Are you still involved in the occult for the same reasons or have they changed?

That’s a difficult one. I can’t give a tidy answer to that. It’s very much my nature to be involved in the occult and that hasn’t changed. Involvement carries a certain momentum – the friends one has made, the practices I am performing and so on, all that adds up to a reason to stay with the occult. Yet I realise I am looking for different things now than I was earlier on. But those reasons are fairly superficial. It really is just curiosity about life and that is the strongest motive and that, in a sense, has not been changed.

[…]

Why do you think that people are still drawn to mysticism and the occult when the terrain is so obviously dominated by frauds, wastrels and knaves?

Now that’s a bit like saying why are people still interested in sex when obviously the sex industry is so full of corruption and sleaze. I think for some people there is actually a fascination in the sleaze, fraudery and trickery, which actually adds to the subject – sex is actually more intriguing because of the aura of sleaze about it. I’m not sure if that is so for me, but I think the occult too is something which you can be put off by the sleaze of it or actually you can find that as a rather intriguing element in it. One of the ideas I was putting forward in ?The Charlatan and the Magus’ (in ?Blast….’) was that maybe existence itself is sleazy, and that mankind’s instinct always attempts to eliminate sleaze, which is as misguided as swallowing a load of antibiotics, which although they may kill the germ, they kill off certain other things in your gut which then has to recover; or as misguided as trying to make a clean compost heap by putting a lot of disinfectant on it which actually would stop the composting process. In other words, sleaze is itself inherent. The universe itself has a strong element of sleaze in it and it’s part of the nourishment of life. We need to work on our own exaggerated concepts of hygiene.

Full Story: Phil Hine’s web site.

Bacteria vs. Humans: Score One for Us

Researchers in San Diego announce a new molecule that stops bacteria from mutating to become resistant to antibiotics.

Microbes have ruled the earth for more than a billion years; comparatively, we humans are just upstarts. Yet since the invention of penicillin in 1940, we have inflicted a crippling blow on many types of bacteria that make us ill or kill us.

But the bugs have struck back by activating DNA that is prone to errors when it replicates. This increases the chance that mutations will develop to fend off the mortal threat posed by antibiotics. In 2005, biochemist Floyd Romesberg of the Scripps Research Institute, near San Diego, announced that his lab had discovered a gene called LexA that switches on the error-prone DNA, enabling the microbe to mutate rapidly.

[…]

Now Romesberg has announced the discovery of a molecule that inhibits LexA’sability to cause mutations; it was found after the lab screened more than 100,000 possible compounds. The molecule also slips easily into a bacterial cell, which is critical to creating an effective tool to zap the bugs.

Full Story: Technology Review.

Counterfeit Drugs: Coming to a Pharmacy Near You

Counterfeit drugs, including fake, substandard, adulterated or falsely labeled (‘misbranded’) medicines, have become a real and growing threat to global health. Increasingly sophisticated counterfeiting rings, often involving organized crime, are slipping their fakes into the legitimate drug supply around the world. The problem is especially serious in developing countries, where hundreds of thousands die from ineffective medicines, and millions more from the drug-resistant strains of pathogens such as malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis that have been promoted by counterfeits’ suboptimal dosing of antibiotics and anti-viral agents.

Full report: ACSH Publications.

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