New Antibiotics, motherfuckers!

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New Antibiotics, motherfuckers!

Always an exciting day.  The September 19, 2008 issue of Science reports the effectiveness of a compound directed at the guanosine triphosphatase FtsZ (which forms the septum at which (most) bacterial cells divide and another compound which acts bacteriostatically by inhibiting a histidine kinase that works in quorum sensing.  And yes, the first one kills MRSA and MDRSA dead as a fucking hammer.  Eukaryotes do use a similar kind of septating ring to complete cell division, but form it from a protein called tubulin; while tubulin and FtsZ are commonly derived, the new compound described does not have an effect upon tubulin ring formation in vitro, which means that we've got selective toxicity and a brand new scope for targeting bacterial infections.  

 

 

SCIENCE!

 

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For the laymen:  There's a

For the laymen:  There's a new drug that gives bugs real problems by inhibiting the production of chemicals that facilitate division, and another one that inhibits growth by reducing the production of a chemical that somehow or another works in a population of bacteria as a regulator of gene expression -- that is, bacteria know how to adjust their gene expression based on their population density, and this chemical is one of the main ways they do it. MRSA is a really fucking nasty staph infection.   I assume MDRSA is, too, but I'm unfamiliar with it.The real benefit of this drug is that it targets just the bug's chemicals, and not the chemicals that do similar work in the host.Did I get that about right, DDA? 

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MRSA is Methicillin

MRSA is Methicillin resistant, MDRSA is Multiple Drug Resistant, for clarification.  And I hoped the thread title would be enough for the laymen.

 

"The whole conception of God is a conception derived from ancient Oriental despotisms. It is a conception quite unworthy of free men."
--Bertrand Russell


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Ah.  That makes sense. 

Ah.  That makes sense.  Anyway, you know me... I like to always find ways of speaking to the common man!

By the way, weren't you going to give me a journal? 

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You gonna be home tonight?

You gonna be home tonight?  I could drop it off or put it in your mail if you ain't there.

 

"The whole conception of God is a conception derived from ancient Oriental despotisms. It is a conception quite unworthy of free men."
--Bertrand Russell


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If you two will pardon me

If you two will pardon me for interrupting your arranging of your date:

Thank everyone who's been busting thier butts on this sort of research. Thank you, DamnDirtyApe, for letting us know.

MRSA and MDRSA have been (admittedly rather irrational) fears of mine, and I was getting worried that we'd backed ourselves into a corner with antibiotics.

Ok, do resume your courtings. Laughing out loud

"Anyone can repress a woman, but you need 'dictated' scriptures to feel you're really right in repressing her. In the same way, homophobes thrive everywhere. But you must feel you've got scripture on your side to come up with the tedious 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' style arguments instead of just recognising that some people are different." - Douglas Murray


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JillSwift wrote:If you two

JillSwift wrote:

If you two will pardon me for interrupting your arranging of your date:

Thank everyone who's been busting thier butts on this sort of research. Thank you, DamnDirtyApe, for letting us know.

MRSA and MDRSA have been (admittedly rather irrational) fears of mine, and I was getting worried that we'd backed ourselves into a corner with antibiotics.

Ok, do resume your courtings. Laughing out loud

Well let's just hope that doctors don't start throwing this shit around like candy and make it useless like they did with tet.

"The whole conception of God is a conception derived from ancient Oriental despotisms. It is a conception quite unworthy of free men."
--Bertrand Russell


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DamnDirtyApe wrote:Well

DamnDirtyApe wrote:
Well let's just hope that doctors don't start throwing this shit around like candy and make it useless like they did with tet.
Yus. We'll see, I guess.

(I wonder if there'd be some way to force 'em to include in the documentation they ship something like - in large, red lettering - "Doesn't work on viruses, don't waste it on easy to kill bacteria, you pig-ignorant philistines." )

"Anyone can repress a woman, but you need 'dictated' scriptures to feel you're really right in repressing her. In the same way, homophobes thrive everywhere. But you must feel you've got scripture on your side to come up with the tedious 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' style arguments instead of just recognising that some people are different." - Douglas Murray


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...I was going to say,

...I was going to say, hopefully this stuff won't be another just another example of how the beautification industry is desperately trying to kill everybody.

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"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

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DamnDirtyApe wrote:JillSwift

DamnDirtyApe wrote:

JillSwift wrote:

If you two will pardon me for interrupting your arranging of your date:

Thank everyone who's been busting thier butts on this sort of research. Thank you, DamnDirtyApe, for letting us know.

MRSA and MDRSA have been (admittedly rather irrational) fears of mine, and I was getting worried that we'd backed ourselves into a corner with antibiotics.

Ok, do resume your courtings. Laughing out loud

Well let's just hope that doctors don't start throwing this shit around like candy and make it useless like they did with tet.

Unfortunately I find that extraordinarily unlikely. The same capitalist pressures which caused the last problem are still in effect.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


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If I have one goal in life

If I have one goal in life right now, it's to prove to atheists that capitalism is an effect, not a cause.

 

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Hambydammit wrote:If I have

Hambydammit wrote:

If I have one goal in life right now, it's to prove to atheists that capitalism is an effect, not a cause.

 

Yes, Hamby, but is there an effect that can replace it?


 

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"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


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Can, or will?Sure, there are

Can, or will?

Sure, there are effects that can replace it.  We've seen bunches of them.  However, as to whether or not capitalism will ever be replaced, I'm highly skeptical.

Before I go on, I need to be clear with some terms because I use them in a more sociobiological sense than most political junkies.  When I refer to capitalism, I mean any system of societal organization in which things of value are traded at values determined primarily by the dynamics of supply and demand.  This can include barter, and believe it or not, it can include communism.

When we look at the history of civilization, we might be shocked to realize what tiny blips on the radar were communism and other utopianisms.  That's because they don't take our DNA into account.  Once we understand game theory, we realize that at some level or another, any utopian ideal will fail utterly because of the dynamics of stable evolutionary states.  That is, if everybody's a hawk, a dove benefits, and vice versa.

Contrary to many political beliefs, human societies do not progress in and of themselves.  The reason the !Kung do not have an advanced socialized state is that the constraints of their population and environment dictate their social organization -- not, as some believe, an agreement between all the governed to institute a particular system.  The reason America is capitalist is not because of moral failings on the part of the founding fathers, or lack of knowledge of international commerce.  It's because capitalism was what emerged from the combination of environment, population density, and availability of resources.

Those are the three things that have the most effect on government -- environment, population density, and resources.  In a country where there is far more than enough to go around, communism will never emerge.  It's simply too obvious that there's no need to ration everyone down to a particular level, and there's no desire by the populace to simply dole out equal portions to everybody when even personal failure doesn't result in abject poverty.

In short, so long as resources are abundant, it is highly unlikely that anything will replace the basic model of supply and demand dictating value.  This will ensure that some form of capitalism will be the primary system for a long time to come (assuming stability of resources globally).  That's not to say that American style capitalism will be the norm.  Clearly, our system is pretty harmful in a lot of ways, but make no mistake, even the most socialist of the Western European nations still operate largely on the broad principles of capitalism -- individuals competing in a basically free environment.

One of the reasons I try so hard to un-villify the notion of capitalism is just that -- it doesn't have to be unrestricted free market to be capitalism.  The point is that the principle of free trade is driven by human nature.  Where we can direct it, making society more efficient, this is clearly a good thing.  But to try to counteract it entirely is foolhardy.

 

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Ergh... I need to clarify

Ergh... I need to clarify something.  When I say that my version of capitalism can include communism, I'm not making the distinction meaningless.  Even in communist societies, there are things of value that are traded, whether it's political power, influence, under the table barter, or other such things.  This demonstrates the failure of communism by proving that humans do revert to market driven economies even in the harshest of circumstances.

The broader point is that assuming humans don't revert to a more "primitive" existence, I find it hard to believe that anything approaching true communism will ever be able to stick for long.  My primary contention is that in a post-industrial world with global communication and trade, some version of market driven economy is virtually certain to prevail.  The only detail is how regulated it is, and in what ways it is regulated.

This ties in to my schtick about how socialized institutions don't make a society socialist, and that it's possible for the free market to work in conjunction with them.

 

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I think this is easy enough

I think this is easy enough to illustrate, Hamby. Industrialized civilization absolutely requires the following processes:

 

* Exploration for raw materials

* Extraction of raw materials

* Refinement of raw materials

* Manufacturing of goods from refined raw materials

* Distribution of manufactured goods to the market

* Transaction of manufactured goods from the market to consumers, factoring-in the work required to create the product (based on the afore-mentioned processes) and demand for the product

 

...So, we have to get someone or something to do the work required by each of these steps (and people can go ahead and more if they feel there are other crucial steps I'm missing; these are the ones that sprung to my mind) in order for us to live as leisure-rich shoppers rather than desperate hunter-gatherers. Civilizations in antiquity answered the problem of work through slavery - Greeks, as an example, were free to pursue lives of luxury and relaxation as the 'barbarians' of the world did most of their work for them under the lash.

Modern civilization has answered the problem through the almighty buck. People do things that they would otherwise never opt to do so that they can have money to purchase the goods and services that this system creates. Whatever permutation you want to point to, this will b the basis of any successful system. It makes sense, then, as to why capitalism would've proved the most competitive and successful of these systems - it entices people (through positive reinforcement. See: wage increase) to do more of this necessary work, which makes more goods of better quality available, which people then want to buy so they will do yet more work, etc. It also allows for degrees of cheating, because you aren't actually being rewarded directly with the goods - you're awarded with an abstract currency instead. So, if you can figure-out a way to get lots of currency while doing little to no work, you've really hit the jackpot. A system that includes rules that can be bent around like this is always going to be more popular than one that doesn't, because a percentage of a population is always going to want an opportunity to cheat.

 

I've talked in pipe-dream terms with friends about an alternate system that allows people to have completely free access to whatever goods they want on the market (abolishing the currency concept entirely) and entices them to work by putting a 'boasting' system into place (I'm put on a team, whatever we accomplish we get to broadcast to the community, people who accomplish nothing or very little also have this fact broadcast to the community), but as Hamby has said repeatedly, ideas of this sort are far-fetched at best. Controlling interests, whether we care to admit it, are also an emergent effect of general animal behavior, and people are likely to reject any concept that doesn't offer a chance to elevate onesself to an elite class of some kind.

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All right, so this one's

All right, so this one's been officially hijacked.  Is there any way we could get a forum specifically targeted to Capitalist/Marxist bloviating--maybe call it "The Dismal Science" so as to keep it away from cooler, actual Science?

 

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Much as there is room for

Much as there is room for some socialism in a capitalist society, there is room for some capitalism inside a socialist one.

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DamnDirtyApe wrote:MRSA is

DamnDirtyApe wrote:

MRSA is Methicillin resistant, MDRSA is Multiple Drug Resistant, for clarification.  And I hoped the thread title would be enough for the laymen.

 

If the title didn't do the trick, the line, "the first one kills MRSA and MDRSA dead as a fucking hammer" should have. Laughing out loud


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Quote:All right, so this

Quote:
All right, so this one's been officially hijacked.  Is there any way we could get a forum specifically targeted to Capitalist/Marxist bloviating--maybe call it "The Dismal Science" so as to keep it away from cooler, actual Science?

We did do a pretty big hijack there, didn't we?  For what it's worth, I've said my peace.  And yeah, I think the science stuff is cooler, too.

I hate politics.

 

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Verily I declare: Thy

Verily I declare: Thy Science doth work, bitches.

 

My wife is a GP and everybody seems to come in wanting this magical stuff that fixes everything called "anti-biotics".  She has to explain all the time about how it doesn't work on viruses.  Often to the same people multiple times.  I don't know how she could explain that the over prescription of anti-biotics could lead to more strains of anti-biotic resistant bacteria to the majority of these people.

Still, this is pretty nifty stuff, but I'm guessing bacteria will evolve around this one too eventually.  At least it's another avenue open to us though.


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Quote:Still, this is pretty

Quote:
Still, this is pretty nifty stuff, but I'm guessing bacteria will evolve around this one too eventually.

Typically speaking, putting your money on the bugs is always a good idea.  When you have ten thousand or more generations to one, math is on your side.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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As a short word on

As a short word on antibiotic resistance, I'll point out that bacteria are creatures of budget, like the rest of us, and the transfer of antibiotic resistance to other bacteria by conjugation and to descendants is actually an unexpected expense in nucleotides and a potential disruption of native genes.  If you grow resistant bacteria without antibiotic selection, they'll very often lose resistance over successive generations as individuals with functional mutations in the resistance gene begin to exhibit slightly improved efficiency in growth and replication over their comrades who maintain the gene as a perfect copy.  This is especially true when a resistance gene is delivered by a plasmid or a transposon, the latter of which may be disrupting the transcription of a native gene or genes.  

What I'm saying here is that resistance now doesn't mean resistance forever.  By judicious use of antibiotics, we can cut down on the spread of resistance and even see it recede.  Keep in mind that antibiotics and antibiotic resistance predate humanity and that penicillin, the antibiotic that first comes to mind for most people, is actually a fungal defense against bacterial infection.  It's been around for hundreds of millions of years quite likely, and you can still kill lots of bacteria with it.  Some soil bacteria do have multiple resistances locked into the genome, but that's because they live with fungi everyday and have for hundreds of millions of years.  Most bacterial pathogens of animals (think cholera, syphilis, gonorrhea, the bacterial pneumonias, plague, etc.) don't experience that kind of selection.  That's why they were vulnerable to antibiotics when we first started using them and also why we can turn back the clock on resistance in the next few generations if we're smart.  All of this being said, I expect China and India to make that kind of adjustment almost impossible.

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Quote: Most bacterial

Quote:
Most bacterial pathogens of animals (think cholera, syphilis, gonorrhea, the bacterial pneumonias, plague, etc.) don't experience that kind of selection.  That's why they were vulnerable to antibiotics when we first started using them and also why we can turn back the clock on resistance in the next few generations if we're smart.  All of this being said, I expect China and India to make that kind of adjustment almost impossible.

And there's the human generation length and population size, too.  It's not too big a deal to give bugs a chance to forget their resistance in, say, Milwaukee.  You just have to get a couple hundred doctors to stop prescribing it for a while and build electric fences around the town so residents cant go to Chicago to get a second opinion.

When somebody's got a nasty bug that they haven't been able to shake for three weeks, and they're about to lose their job from missed days, it's kind of hard to convince them that they ought to run with it because of their grandchildren.  Most people will say, "Awww... it's just me. I'm not going to hurt anything.  It's just this one bout of the flu I can't shake.  I'm good about not taking antibiotics most of the time."  The length of time involved gives people a feeling of immunity from guilt.  After all, those kids won't be born for another thirty years.

While we're at it, let's remember that China and India have a lot of airports, and people come and go to just about everywhere, bringing bugs with them.

It's just my gut feeling, but I'm guessing  though weeding out antibiotic resistance is theoretically pretty easy, it's damn near impossible on a large scale in practice.

 

 

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As the good folks at Mama

As the good folks at Mama Sid's have taught you, the public health front of the war on bacterial pathogens is the most essential.  Antibiotics are like satellite guided bombs, but rubber gloves and washing your hands and taking out your garbage are the boots on the ground.  What I should have said is that resistance can be knocked back to much safer levels than we experience now and that our public health infrastructure is sufficiently advanced to handle that.  Take a look at hospitals in Western Europe and the only MRSA/MDRSA you're likely to find is on American tourists who were quarantined the second they walked in and announced their American citizenship with their loutish, demanding behavior and funny accents.  A new drug (and a new set of targets, more importantly) makes it possible for us to do the same by easing back on the use of older drugs that bounce off resistant strains and killing those resistant strains as best we can.  

 

"The whole conception of God is a conception derived from ancient Oriental despotisms. It is a conception quite unworthy of free men."
--Bertrand Russell