Fight MRSA with help from Tasmanian Devils?

Antibiotic resistance is a major source of anxiety for anyone in the healthcare field these days. So-called “superbugs” like methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (commonly known as MRSA) develop the ability to withstand the medications used to treat them, leading to a continuous race between bacteria and drug manufacturers to develop faster. This constant back-and-forth of changes in bugs, drugs, and bugs again appears unsustainable to many, even leading CDC spokesperson Dr. Arjun Srinivasan to declare recently that we have reached “the end of antibiotics, period.”

There still may be hope, however, from an unlikely source: the Tasmanian devil. A recent study found that the animal’s milk contains proteins (called cathelicidins) that can break down MRSA (possibly developed to allow baby Tasmanian devils to live in very dirty environments).

 

Read more here: Tasmanian Devil Milk Fights Superbugs

Fight MRSA with help from Tasmanian Devils?

The Price of ‘Skin-to-Skin”: The Hidden Costs of Childbirth and Medical Billing in the US Healthcare System

Nine months of preparation for your little bundle of joy?  $5,000+. A six-week birthing class?  $60-100.  Getting the chance to hold your newborn baby?  Priceless…and $40.

A Utah couple discovered the true price of that unforgettable moment when they received the bill for their son’s caesarian section and posted their experience on Reddit.  “Skin-to-skin” is a common hospital practice in which newborns are placed on their mother’s chest soon after delivery, which has been shown to promote longer breastfeeding periods and better temperature stability in the infant.  According to the hospital, the charge was incurred due to the extra nurse that needed to be present during the skin-to-skin time – a claim that was supported by a practicing Ob/Gyn.

The larger point in this case concerns the lack of federal rate-setting for the medical materials and procedures in the US.  If you are covered under private insurance or paying out-of-pocket, the hospital sets the prices associated with your care.  The federal government does set the rates for individuals with certain types of coverage, including Medicaid; however, by and large, this is far from the norm.  In fact, the billing process is so bewildering for patients that companies are creating medical billing navigation apps to help them.

The Price of ‘Skin-to-Skin”: The Hidden Costs of Childbirth and Medical Billing in the US Healthcare System

Why the Intersection of Medicine, Dentistry, & Microbiology Should Make You Smile

Pop quiz: What happens when the facial nerve (CN VII) causes the zygomaticus major to contract? — you SMILE! One reason to smile is the interdisciplinary work in the fields of medicine, dentistry, and microbiology! Recent collaborative efforts in these areas have identified and are working to prevent infectious outbreaks due to contaminated water at dentists’ offices. Dental unit water lines are ideal for the growth of biofilms, which also form pesky and durable microbial colonies on your teeth. Beyond having to brush a little better, these bacterial aggregates can lead to serious health problems.

Last week in Orange County CA, nearly two-dozen children receiving baby-root canals for dental caries (i.e. cavities) developed dangerous mycobacterium infections via inoculation from a contaminated dental water supply. This isn’t the first infectious outbreak from dental lines; in 2015 another outbreak occurred at a Georgia clinic. While full-blown infection development is rare, it can be serious and possibly even require surgery to treat. To prevent such infections, special water filters and treatments should be paired with frequent water testing at clinics. Meanwhile, research efforts are underway to combat stubborn biofilm growth. While targeted at oral biofilms versus ones associated with the water supply, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine is making progress in the field. Recently their work was published, describing certain plant peptides that act as antimicrobials, rapidly killing tooth-decay-causing bacteria by thwarting biofilm formation!

Article: Infection Outbreak Shines Light on Water Risks at Dentists Offices

 

Why the Intersection of Medicine, Dentistry, & Microbiology Should Make You Smile