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The dorsal view

On the slippery slope to antibiotic resistance

Despite increasing awareness among health professionals,

antibiotic resistance could do with a few more column

inches than it currently receives in the mainstream

press. No doubt you see many patients who come into

your surgery demanding antibiotics to treat little Jimmy’s sniffle.

If you are having trouble convincing them otherwise, and if you

have the time, there’s an interesting little video that might help.

The good folks at Harvard Medical School, US, and the

Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Israel, have put together

a striking fast-motion video to illustrate how quickly

bacteria can mutate to become resistant to antibiotics.

The video is linked to a study published a couple of weeks ago

in Science and to make their point, the researchers built a giant

Petri dish, which they dubbed the Microbial Evolution Growth

Arena Plate, otherwise known as the MEGA plate (who comes

up with these acronyms?). They dropped in some E.Coli, and

the scene was set. Various strengths of antibiotic were placed

on separate sections of the MEGA plate, with each one 10

times stronger than the last. The antibiotic at the centre of the

dish was 1,000 times stronger than the one on the outside.

A camera tracked the E.Coli’s progression over 14 days and

clearly showed the bacteria’s mutation in dramatic fashion.

It’s an interesting study approach and a nice shot in the arm

for antibiotic resistance awareness.

Check out the study at http://science.sciencemag.org/content/

353/6304/1147.full.

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A lot of questions have been raised recently about the health

of US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Videos have been

surfacing of her having uncontrollable coughing fits and appearing

to be dazed, confused and unsteady on her feet.

The Clinton camp has been dismissing these suggestions as

Trump scaremongering or nonsense from the tin-hat brigade,

but at time of going to press, footage has emerged of her legs giving

way, requiring her to be physically carried into her limousine

at a 9/11 commemoration ceremony.

The official line and ‘diagnosis’ from her physician, who so

far has not been presented for interview, is pneumonia. However,

this doesn’t tally with her appearance and the general

symptoms. Many questions have been asked about her muchphotographed

unusual spectacles and on the day she collapsed,

she was wearing blue anti-seizure sunglasses.

Ophthalmologist Dr Marc Werner also told Fox News

the lined spectacles she has been photographed with have a

Fresnel prism to prevent double-vision due to severe head

trauma, among other conditions (she was hospitalised in 2013

with a blood clot in her head due to concussion).

Clinton has cancelled a host of commitments because of her

‘pneumonia’ and ‘dehydration’. I hate to suggest that a politician

may be less than open and honest with the public, but

this is an interesting one for the medical detectives among us.

Indicated for the maintenance treatment

of schizophrenia in adult patients1*

Tonic for the troops?

If you enjoy a gin and tonic at the end of the day, probably

best to look away now.

A team of researchers at Innsbruck University, Austria,

have suggested that G&T drinkers have “psychopathic tendencies”

in comparison to those who prefer a different tipple.

Some 1,000 people were involved in two separate studies,

including personality questionnaires that measured

their “Machiavellianism, psychopathy, narcissism and everyday

sadism”.

The participants were then asked to rank how much they

concurred with statements such as, ‘I have threatened people

I know’ and ‘I enjoy tormenting people’.

The end result was a conclusion that people with “bitter

taste preferences are linked to malevolent personality

traits”.

The same, apparently, applies to strong dark chocolate

and strong coffee.

Study author Dr Christina Sagioglou stated that most

people are put off by bitter-tasting foods because we subconsciously

associate them with poison. People with psychopathic

tendencies, however, are attracted by this taste

sensation, she said.

“Everyday sadism is a construct related to benign masochism

— the enjoyment of painful activities — which was

first described and investigated by psychologist Paul Rozin.

“To quote Paul Rozin for an explanation: ‘For the case of

innately aversive foods, there may be pleasure from the fact

that the body is signalling rejection, but the person knows

there is no real threat’.”

But what if you take sugar?

Words for life

A couple of dubious daily affirmations to finish, kindly

sent to me by a reader.

• I no longer need to punish, deceive or compromise myself.

Unless, of course, I want to stay employed.

• Today, I will gladly share my experience and advice, for

there are no sweeter words than ‘I told you so’.

• Why should I waste my time reliving the past when I

can spend it worrying about the future?

• I am willing to make the mistakes if someone else is

willing to learn from them.

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