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Responsible use of antibiotics
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Latest findings on the consequences of un-balanced diets

Long term vegetarianism can lead to genetic mutations which raise the risk of heart disease and cancer, scientists have found.

Populations who have had a primarily vegetarian diet for generations were found to be far more likely to carry mutated DNA which makes them susceptible to inflammation.

US scientists believe that the mutation occured to make it easier for vegetarians to absorb essential fatty acids from plants. But it has the knock-on effect of boosting the production of arachidonic acid, which is known to increase inflammatory disease and cancer. When coupled with a diet high in vegetable oils – such as sunflower oil – budoy of mutated gene carriers quickly turns fatty acids into arachidonic acid.

The finding may help explain previous research which found vegetarian populations are nearly 40 per cent more likely to suffer colorectal cancer than meat eaters, a finding that has puzzled doctors because eating red meat is believed to raise the risk.

To make the problem worse, the mutation also hinders the production of beneficial Omega-3 fatty acid which is protective against heart disease. Although it may not have mattered when the mutation first developed, since the industrial revolution there has been a major shift in diets away from Omega-3 – found in fish and nuts – to less healthy Omega-6 fats – found in vegetable oils.

The new research was published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.

Abstract of this article.

Latest report from US-based CDC on multi-drug resistant bacteria

Recently, a patient infected with A. baumannii that lacked susceptibility to all commercially available antimicrobial drugs has been reported.

The patient had a prolonged stay in an intensive care unit at the University of Pitts-burgh Medical Center (Pittsburgh, PA, USA). In the tenth postoperative week, ventilator-associated pneumonia developed, which was caused by A. baumanni that lacked susceptibility to all antimicrobial drugs tested except colistin. Despite multiple courses of therapy with colistin and cefepime, the patient never recovered from respiratory failure. She eventually died of sepsis caused by vancomycin-resistant E. faecium. An A. baumannii isolate, obtained just before she died, lacked susceptibility to all commercially available antimicrobial drugs.

Experimental and clinical isolates lacking susceptibility to colistin, often considered the drug of last resort, are increasingly being reported.

Therefore, we alert healthcare workers to the need for stringent care in adhering to infection control precautions when caring for patients infected with multidrug-resistant A. baumannii. Use of contact isolation precautions, enhanced environmental cleaning, removal of sources of infection from the hospital environment, and prudent use of antimicrobial drugs can contribute to control of such outbreaks. A crisis is looming should multidrug-resistant A. baumannii become established pathogens in hospitals.

The report was published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Abstract of this article.