5-Shot Friday: Super Bugs and Super Diets
Hello, and welcome to the third installation of 5-Shot Friday.
1) “Balm Of Hurt Minds,” The Bard Said
Few of Shakespeare’s phrases stuck in my mind like this one about SLEEP: “Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course.” My recall of high school English is pretty spotty, but Macbeth’s words on sleep I remember like it was yesterday. “Double double, toil and trouble” comes from the same play – everybody knows those words --- and that says something about our conflicted attitude towards sleep. Now that you mention it, we could use more sleep, but EVERYBODY knows it’s getting harder than ever. That’s not just regular folks: LeBron James and major pro sports organizations have put big dollar figures to missing their zzz’s.
Patients Like Me (Twitter handle @patientslikeme) shared this resource, from the National Sleep Foundation. Optimizing your sleeping arrangements is about more than avoiding tablet and smartphone use and wearing blue blocker glasses. The NSF has five categories of adjustments, for each of your major senses, to up your odds of getting a much needed, restful snooze.
It’s not The Andromeda Strain, but it’s real and it’s here: a bacterial “superbug” that is resistant to our strongest antibiotics.
Antibiotics are key to fighting off bacterial infections, like the urinary infection in the Pennsylvania woman in question. Taken properly, they kill off bacteria that could otherwise spread and cause serious, sometimes deadly infections. But for years, infectious disease specialists have been alarmed at the decreasing effectiveness of common antibiotics, as bacteria that survive a treatment are able to pass along their resistance to other bacteria.
When I was doing my ICU rotation, I remember a new, special antibiotic that only the intensive care unit senior resident or attending physician could prescribe – it required a special signature in order to be dispensed by the hospital pharmacist. It was to be reserved for severe lung infections, because even then, we knew that widespread use could water down its effectiveness. That wonder drug was azithromycin, which you probably know as the “Z-pak” – now the most commonly requested by patients antibiotic for coughs in the urgent care setting.
The Reuters article mentions antibiotic overprescribing by doctors as a main cause; I urge you to keep in mind that patient insistence is a big part of this equation (“I’ve had this cough for 3 weeks, but I’m leaving for a trip tomorrow and want some antibiotics right now”). And the amount of antibiotics prescribed to humans pales in comparison to what’s used in animal feed to make animals bigger and more tender.
The majority of common infections, especially cough and cold type infections, aren’t even caused by bacteria, they’re caused by viruses that antibiotics don’t even treat. Bottom line: it’s still prudent to discuss an infection with a medical professional – but when your doctor says words like “antibiotic resistance,” “virus,” and “I don’t think this will help much,” please, please listen.
The key is in the “rinse and repeat.” It really is that simple – and that profound.
4) Perspective, People
I’m not entirely sure of Fox News as a source of reliable numbers, but the fine print at the bottom attributes this statistic to the World Health Organization.
(This is a pic of the slow cooker Korean short ribs recipe).
You may not agree with some of the basic tenets of the Paleo Diet (is mimicking the eating patterns of our Paleolithic ancestors the healthiest way to feed?), but it’s hard to argue with the results: low carb/starch meal choices do usually help with weight loss, lowering blood sugar, blood pressure, and with careful monitoring, cholesterol.
Nom Nom Paleo is Michelle Tam’s website, and is arguably the tastiest way to experience preparing food along these guidelines. It’s not easy focusing on whole foods, quality sourced, while passing on processed, starchy carb goodness, but Michelle manages to do so, with moan-inducing tastiness and an easy to search recipes list.
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