Monday, April 02, 2007
These are often the same people who demand that the pediatrician prescribe antibiotics for everything, again helping to evolve super-bugs resistant to all treatment. Sinusitis, it seems, may be a big contributer to this problem: US doctors are prescribing antibiotics at a very high rate, relative to the proportion of infections likely to be bacterial as opposed to viral. Much of this is due to a combination of provider ignorance, but a substantial chunk is that patients demand drugs, and providers have neither the time nor the expertise to explain why they don't need them.
On the upside, doctors worldwide may soon have two major concerns fewer to worry about, as researchers move to neutralizing donated blood types and growing organs for transplant. In the former case, a US team has identified a pair of enzymes for removing the A and B antigens from blood, effectively rendering it type O - the universal donor type. While not solving the blood shortage entirely, this would take immense pressure off of the supplies of rarer types.
Second, UK doctors say that they've grown heart valves in culture from marrow cells. If this technology can be applied to human hearts, and is effective, it would set the stage for a major revolution in transplant treatments. Cool!