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Medicine Biotech

Genes and Ancient Remedies May Help Fight Antibiotic Resistance 30

szczys writes: We've been hearing about it for years; bacteria are developing resistance to antibiotics and evolving into what are called superbugs. Some forecast the end of our ability to combat infection, but humanity has a knack for making breakthroughs that carry everyone forward. Dan Maloney looked at what is being done to combat antibiotic-resistance and the answer combines new technology with old remedies. It turns out that there are many ancient cures that successfully combat infections (video); they're just mixed in among a lot of cruft. More modern efforts focus on attacking bacteria on the genetic level which is a research area just getting itself up to speed now.
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Genes and Ancient Remedies May Help Fight Antibiotic Resistance

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  • A good example (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Gonoff ( 88518 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2015 @08:02AM (#50485771)

    This is a good example of why all forms of information should be retained and studied.
    We have history going back ever further. Who know what might be found in ancient maths, astronomy, cooking, animal husbandry or whatever.

    What other useful things might be pulled out when the right to people sit down together in the cafeteria. It is the best of blue sky thinking and a great reason to keep those non STEM subjects going.

    Lets see about stopping the destruction of ancient history in Syria. Maybe we can find again how to make Damascus steel. (Something to keep the conservatives feeling positive there.)

    • This needs serious research! I only need two more Damascus Steel to get Matchless Steel. Tournesol will be mine!
    • I am pretty sure we have figured out how to make Damascus steel. I watched a documentary on a guy doing the analysis and recreating the steel using the old techniques. In addition, I have a paring knife made of Damascus steel from Lehmans.com. When they compared it to the original steel under a high powered microscope the make up of the newly made steel matched that of the ancient steel.
    • by Gonoff ( 88518 )
      How about Greek fire then? I'm sure that napalm isn't as good.
  • by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2015 @08:07AM (#50485787)

    The ancient cure [slashdot.org] was covered here on /. about six months ago; it's a poison so of course it kills bacteria (among other things).

    Regarding the genetic research, it is indeed a major area of diagnosis and treatment. At this point it's mostly diagnosis - if you can identify the resistance genes a bacteria has you can select the appropriate antibiotic much sooner.

    • by tuxgeek ( 872962 )

      There are many more real and working ancient remedies than you know.
      The main problem limiting your access to, or knowledge of them, depends on whether the Multi-National-Pharma giants can own and profit from something anyone can get for free. All you have to do is know where to look, what to pick, and how to prepare.

      For example, I've been using golden seal root for years and have killed off intestinal parasites and pretty much any bug that makes me ill, all in very short order.
      You can buy the stuff at any

  • As someone who gets earaches fairly often, once upon a time, I would get a course of antibiotics, and occasionally needed a second course.

    Then a very smart lady told me about hydrogen peroxide. A bit of that in your ear for a day or so would knock those little buggers on their ass.

    It was very interesting the first time you put some in your ear - tickles a little and is loud as it releases the oxygen it kills the germs with.

    21st century US litigation disclaimer:

    This is not medical advice. Do not ever

    • by TimSSG ( 1068536 )

      As someone who gets earaches fairly often, once upon a time, I would get a course of antibiotics, and occasionally needed a second course.

      Then a very smart lady told me about hydrogen peroxide. A bit of that in your ear for a day or so would knock those little buggers on their ass.

      It was very interesting the first time you put some in your ear - tickles a little and is loud as it releases the oxygen it kills the germs with.

      21st century US litigation disclaimer:

      This is not medical advice. Do not ever do this. Always consult a trained medical professional with the proper certifications for any and all medical treatments including antiseptics and band-aids. Do not use any other treatments than prescribed medicine. Always visit a trained professional for every physical ailment.

      I might try this, once more, I forgot I used to do this when I was younger. And, it was very loud when I last did it.
      Did you every gargle with hydrogen peroxide diluted with water?
      I am trying to decide if I want to try that again.

      Tim S.

      • I might try this, once more, I forgot I used to do this when I was younger. And, it was very loud when I last did it. Did you every gargle with hydrogen peroxide diluted with water? I am trying to decide if I want to try that again. Yes, its a weird peppery laste, and you're stuck with a foamy mouth for while. If I have a bad sore throat, I'll use it, but no way every day like some do.

      • I used the hydrogen peroxide in the ear bit when I had earaches too. Don't recommend gargling with hydrogen peroxide, but gargling with salt water helps.
    • As someone who gets earaches fairly often, once upon a time, I would get a course of antibiotics, and occasionally needed a second course.

      Then a very smart lady told me about hydrogen peroxide. A bit of that in your ear for a day or so would knock those little buggers on their ass.

      It was very interesting the first time you put some in your ear - tickles a little and is loud as it releases the oxygen it kills the germs with.

      21st century US litigation disclaimer:

      This is not medical advice. Do not ever do this. Always consult a trained medical professional with the proper certifications for any and all medical treatments including antiseptics and band-aids. Do not use any other treatments than prescribed medicine. Always visit a trained professional for every physical ailment.

      To the readers, the disclaimer above also applies to my post.

      With the cover-your-ass part done, I'll add that I've done something similar. I've used a mix of alcohol (or water peroxide) mixed with tea tree oil and iodine. Hurts as hell, but that has knocked out ear infections that would make me go see a doc to get prescription antibiotics.

      First time I tried and showed my PCP she was actually quite surprised. She even told me "man you did nuke those suckers" (not that she was approving of it.)

      Same with

      • With the cover-your-ass part done, I'll add that I've done something similar. I've used a mix of alcohol (or water peroxide) mixed with tea tree oil and iodine. Hurts as hell, but that has knocked out ear infections that would make me go see a doc to get prescription antibiotics.

        First time I tried and showed my PCP she was actually quite surprised. She even told me "man you did nuke those suckers" (not that she was approving of it.)

        Strange world, where we're here on slashdot trading health tips!

    • Um, unless you have a hole in your eardrum, that doesn't work; or at least it cannot work by disinfection.

      Peroxide in your ear can help get rid of earwax, but the kind of earache you get that needs antibiotics is on the other side of the eardrum, which is sealed from that side.

      Unless the earwax was building up to the point it blocked your Eustachian tube or unless the tickling on your eardrum cleared your Eustachian tube then it could just be a coincidence.

      • Um, unless you have a hole in your eardrum, that doesn't work; or at least it cannot work by disinfection.

        As I said, do not use this method. Before teh age of modern medicine, with properly trained doctors making prescriptions for properly tested pprescription medicines, the death rte from ear infections was 100 percent.

        Seriously my dear fellow, it does indeed work, and you are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.

        No go eat some antibiotic fed beef, it will keep you very healthy.

  • “The greatest harm can result from the best intentions.” Stone of Tears: Chapter 63, page 886 and Legend of the Seeker: Marked If you artifically mess with genetics of an organism, it no longer is that organism. There will be unintended consequences.
    • Actually, it's "Sword of Truth", that was the name of the book series.. Legend of the Seeker was its television name.
    • If you artifically mess with genetics of an organism, it no longer is that organism. There will be unintended consequences.

      Oh, does that mean that if you catch a virus you're no longer human?

  • “After you have stitched it, you should bind fresh meat upon it the first day. If you find the stitching of the wound is loose, draw it together and treat it with grease and honey every day until the patient recovers.” http://www.surgerysupplements.... [surgerysupplements.com]
    • by tomhath ( 637240 )
      Ah yes, "salubrious pus" [google.com]. A massive infection is always the best treatment for an injury; unless it kills you.
    • by TheCarp ( 96830 )

      Yes but isn't that kind of the point here? Even today studies are done that turn out wrong, we find treatments that turn our later to not work.... so why not recreate and evaluate old methods that may have some promise now that we have far better means of evaluation.

      Its not like we shouldn't expect to find things like this, hell, there have been interesting studies with butterflies where it was found that individuals with mite infestations would selectively prefer individual plants that made toxins which tr

      • We have the old treatment with leaches that was found to work very well for reattaching body parts or other blood flow problems. It is now a modern medical procedure that can save you from gang green. Only a couple of decades ago it would have been considered a quack treatment that people did in the ancient times.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm sure there were things that were practiced in medicine in the past that worked to some degree and have been abandoned. That really can't be doubted. However, there was also a lot of well-intentioned snake oil and many potentially dangerous treatments. It's very hard to distinguish a legitimate treatment from the snake oil, and now a huge business has sprung up around peddling mostly snake oil (supplements, homeopathy, etc...). My concern is people turning to alternative medicine when they really need to

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