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Comment: Re:Idea (Score 1) 404

by Alu3205 (#31320610) Attached to: New Wave of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Animal use of antibiotics is probably contributing to the problem, and I fully support the banning of widespread use in our foodstock. Not just because of the possibility of antibiotic resistance, but I think it would promote healthier animals (though more expensive) food.

It's interesting to note though, these "superbug" microbes aren't widely appearing on cattle and chicken farms, but in hospitals and communities.

Comment: Re:Idea (Score 1) 404

by Alu3205 (#31320488) Attached to: New Wave of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

I think you're over exaggerating the rate of connective tissue problems associated with Cipro (and other drugs in the same class, flouroquinolones.) First of all, the only major problem FQs have had regarding connective tissue in humans is tendon rupture. In animal studies there's a whole host of other connective tissue problems, but humans aren't rats or beagle puppies.

Tendon rupture is pretty serious, it usually requires surgery to correct. That's why there's a giant disclaimer on these drugs. It's one of those rare, but serious side-effects. The actual rate of tendon problems with these drugs is very, very low, less than a fraction of a percent of all patients that have taken these drugs. You're literally talking about hundreds of instances of tendon problems out of hundreds of thousands that have safely used FQs.

If you look at actual cases of tendon rupture, it seems that some people are more susceptible than others; ex. if you have pre-exiting tendonitis, over 60, or renal impairment. So an otherwise healthy person's chance of tendon problems is even lower than overall reported rate.

As for the possibility of tissue damage using the drug in your ear, it's probably zero. Cipro isn't systemically absorbed through the skin in any significant amount, so it's theoretically very unlikely. There haven't been any reports of tendon or other connective tissue problems using otic FQs.

Lastly, the article probably wasn't talking about ciprofloxacin or FQs. (Although I haven't read it.) There's certainly more risk to using FQs compared with traditional penicillins or cephalosporins. However FQs are candy compared to polymixins.

Medicine

Antidepressants Work No Better Than a Placebo 674

Posted by kdawson
from the sugar-pills-are-cheaper dept.
Matthew Whalley writes "Researchers got hold of published and unpublished data from drug companies regarding the effectiveness of the most common antidepressant drugs. Previously, when meta-analyses have been conducted on only the published data, the drugs were shown to have a clinically significant effect. However, when the unpublished data is taken into account the difference between the effects of drug and placebo becomes clinically meaningless — just a 1 or 2 point difference on a 30-point depression rating scale — except for the most severely depressed patients. Doctors do not recommend that patients come off antidepressant drugs without support, but this study is likely to lead to a rethink regarding how the drugs are licensed and prescribed."
Power

Knee Brace Generates Electricity From Walking 128

Posted by Soulskill
from the runs-on-walks dept.
ktulus cry brings news of a device that can power portable gadgets, prosthetic joints, and other mobile appliances by harvesting energy generated by walking. Researchers are working on making the device — still a moderately cumbersome 3.5 pounds — smaller while maintaining its energy harvesting capacity. CNet has a write-up with more pictures and a diagram of the device. "In the mode in which the brace is only activated while the knee is braking, the subjects required less than one watt of extra metabolic power for each watt of electricity they generated. A typical hand-crank generator, for comparison, takes an average of 6.4 watts of metabolic power to generate one watt of electricity because of inefficiencies of muscles and generators. A lighter version would be helpful to hikers or soldiers who don't have easy access to electricity. And the scientists say similar mechanisms could be built into prosthetic knees other implantable devices such as pacemakers or neurotransmitters that today require a battery, and periodic surgery to replace that battery."
Biotech

Purpose of Appendix Believed Found 235

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the still-at-the-back-of-the-book dept.
CambodiaSam sent in this story, which opens: "Some scientists think they have figured out the real job of the troublesome and seemingly useless appendix: It produces and protects good germs for your gut. That's the theory from surgeons and immunologists at Duke University Medical School, published online in a scientific journal this week. For generations the appendix has been dismissed as superfluous. Doctors figured it had no function. Surgeons removed them routinely. People live fine without them. The function of the appendix seems related to the massive amount of bacteria populating the human digestive system, according to the study in the Journal of Theoretical Biology. There are more bacteria than human cells in the typical body. Most are good and help digest food. But sometimes the flora of bacteria in the intestines die or are purged. Diseases such as cholera or amoebic dysentery would clear the gut of useful bacteria. The appendix's job is to reboot the digestive system in that case."
Biotech

Stem Cells Change Man's DNA 171

Posted by Zonk
from the oh-man-science-is-weird dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After receiving umbilical cord stem cells to replace bone marrow as treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Greg Graves temporarily had three different sets of DNA. Eventually, one of the two sets of cells transplanted into his bone marrow took root, leaving him different DNA in his blood from the rest of his body: 'If you were to do a DNA test of my blood and one from my skin, they'd be different,' Graves said. 'It's a pretty wild thing.'"
Microsoft

+ - Has Microsoft Patented A Successor To Clippy?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "IWeek blogger Alex Wolfe theorizes that Microsoft might be searching for a successor to 'Clippy, the iconic paperclip which was featured in Office from 1997 until the folks at Redmond got tired of the ridicule and retired it in 2004. The most promising candidate may be an eye with a rotating iris. What's equally notable is that Microsoft seems to be taking a page from its attempt to trademark the English word "Windows," and has patented the icon for a camcorder. Do you think this is the typical patent work of a big company, or has Microsoft got something up its sleeve here?"
Software

BitTorrent, Inc. Acquires uTorrent 189

Posted by Zonk
from the now-torrenting-faster-than-ever dept.
ColinPL writes "BitTorrent, Inc. has taken the next step — the acquisition of uTorrent. In a joint announcement made today, the two firms have publicly solidified the merger. 'Together, we are pleased to announce that BitTorrent, Inc. and uTorrent AB have decided to join forces ... BitTorrent has acquired uTorrent as it recognized the merits of uTorrent's exceptionally well-written codebase and robust user community. Bringing together uTorrent's efficient implementation and compelling UI with BitTorrent's expertise in networking protocols will significantly benefit the community with what we envision will be the best BitTorrent client.'"

George Lucas To Quit Movie Business 520

Posted by kdawson
from the may-the-force-be-with-you dept.
CaroKann writes, "Variety is reporting that George Lucas is getting out of the movie business. Mr. Lucas laments that today's big-budget franchise films are too expensive and too risky. He believes American audiences are deserting their movie going habits permanently. Instead of making major films, Lucasfilm will instead focus on television. Lucas states that for the price of one $200 million feature movie, 'I can make 50-60 two hour movies' that are 'pay-per-view and downloadable.' Notably, he does not plan on distributing movies online, calling online distribution a 'rathole.'"

Blue Ring Around Uranus 269

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the too-many-hours-looking-through-a-telescope dept.
ZedNaught writes "The BBC is reporting that 'astronomers have discovered that the planet Uranus has a blue ring - only the second found in the Solar System. Like the blue ring of Saturn, it probably owes its existence to an accompanying small moon.' According to the April issue of Science, the blue ring is one of two new outer rings recently discovered around Uranus using the infrared Keck adaptive optics system. The rings are blue and red like Saturn's E and G rings. The blue ring around Saturn hosts the moon Enceladus while the Uranus ring contains the moon Mab."

Polymer physicists are into chains.

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