The year is 1607 and you have a pounding migraine headache. Luckily, you’re, a member of the nobility and you actually have access to a doctor. So you summon the doctor.
He comes around checks. All your orifices and then he gives you a prescription for a walnut. Why a walnut? Because it kind of looks like a brain. Somehow, this walnut doesn’t help, and then you find that the pain spreads to your tooth.
So the doctor comes around again and this time he makes a tea out of the car to mean plant. Why the car to mean plant, because it’s, white buds kind of look like teeth. This likewise does nothing to relieve the complaint, and next thing you know you’re coughing up blood.
So now the doctor asks you to eat some of the roots of the pulmonary a plant. Guess why? But luckily, for you, this works except that totally fucking doesn’t work because that’s, crazy. So in a last-ditch effort, the doctor pulled out a knife slices open, an artery and relieves you of all of your pesky blood and you die medicine.
This whole treatment because it looks like the thing we’re. Treating thing was real and it was based off of something called the doctrine of signatures. It was an idea first put forward by Swiss physician and Alchemist Paracelsus, and the idea is, of course, these plants.
Look this way, because, God that God gave these plants signatures to tell us that those are treatments for certain conditions, and they believe this for hundreds of years. In fact, that’s, how a lot of these plants got their names that card Amin plan.
I mentioned earlier goes by another name to thwart the pulmonary a plant also went by a lone wart there’s, also liverwort spleen war wound wart and eyebright. I mean it kind of makes sense in the understanding of the time and plants do have some medicinal qualities to them, but not for the reasons that they thought it did.
That’s just bonkers. This was the world before antibiotics and according to some people, it’s a world we’re. Returning to fast, I did a article a while back about people who died from extremely small injuries and almost all of them had a similar theme to them.
There were all just bacterial infections, and this was the reality for most of human history. No matter how big or rich are strong or powerful, you were just the smallest wound could be a death sentence.
No for the mightiest kings can be brought to dust by the smallest of all creatures. There’s, sort of a poetry to it. Yeah poetry, let’s. Go with that! That’s. Why? I always say time. Travel sounds awesome, but if you want to go back before 1928, just yeah, you have fun with that, because 1928 was the year that Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin famously by accident.
He accidentally left some petri dishes that, while he was traveling and when he got back, he noticed that one of the dishes had grown some mold on it, and no bacteria was growing anywhere near that mold and he discovered that that mold was killing.
The bacteria and antibiotics were born. It would probably be impossible to calculate how many millions of people have been saved by that one. Accidental discovery, as I mentioned peace of mind, you know now.
I know that if I trip and fall on drunken stupor, I don’t have to you know, fear for my life. The thing is, though, we have a knew back then that this came with an expiration date and that’s because of antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotic resistance really essentially, is just evolution. It’s, just really that simple bacteria are tiny, one-celled organisms and they propagate in the billions when they find a suitable habitat, and when you get that many billions of organisms running around eventually one of them is going to have a mutation in some Way, it happens all the time and these mutations lead to any number of tiny changes, some that might not make any difference at all, some that might make a big difference like a resistance to certain types of antibiotics, and really this has been happening this whole time.
Antibiotics manufacturers are playing this never-ending game of whack-a-mole, just constantly trying to beat the latest antibiotic resistant strain of bacteria, that’s par for the course that we’ve been managing pretty well for the last 91 years.
That’s, not something that worries researchers. What worries researchers is the rise of what they call pan resistant bacteria. These are bacteria that are resistant to all types of antibiotics super bugs.
If you will – and this is where old school viewers this channel know that it’s time to unpack that good old existential angst, because those super bugs they’re here in August of 2016, a 70 year old woman was admitted to Hospital in Reno Nevada, with a bacterial infection in her hip, and this bacteria was identified as a particularly bad drain of what’s called a carpet venom, resistant and taro bacteria, say or CRE s.
They tried the traditional treatments of CRE, which is tetracycline and cola Steen, neither of those works, so they moved on to other treatments. The team at the hospital continued testing out different types of antibiotics 26 in all one at a time, and none of them worked.
Ultimately, she died three weeks later of sepsis. This was the first recorded case of a truly pain resistant bacteria that was just immune to everything we threw at it, but it’s, not the only concerning case.
In fact, there’s, a strain of Salmonella that’s been shown to be resistant to all types of antibiotics, except for three and then in 2016 it evolved to be resistant to one of those three. So now there’s, only two that it responds to.
It should be noted that even typical Salmonella kills over 200,000 people every year, tuberculosis, one of the biggest killers in human history, is starting to make a comeback, with 13 % of reporting cases showing multi-drug resistance.
There are nearly 10,000 cases a year of drug-resistant pneumonia reported including a case in 2016 that was resistant to all 26 by bacterial treatments. There’s even been a minor case of super gonorrhea in Australia insert downunder joke here.
How did this happen? Well, any use of antibiotics, even small use of antibiotics is going to lead to drug-resistant strains of bacteria, but this is the human race. We’re talking about here, whose motto is if it’s worth doing it’s worth overdoing.
Overuse of antibiotics has been rife in the medical profession for quite some time now, but in the last 20 or 30 years it’s become an industrialized process. Antibiotics are used extensively in the meat industry, for example, and antibiotics soap and hand.
Sanitizers have really helped to weed out the competition by all the weak bacteria, so the stronger bacteria can thrive there’s. Also, the problem of doctors over prescribing antibiotics to patients, most common colds and infections that we have our body’s.
Immune system is strong enough to weed it out, but doctors prescribed antibiotics just to make it go away a little bit faster and yeah. As a doctor, you want your patient to feel better faster, that’s understandable, but often doctors have been prescribing antibiotics for conditions that they know it won’t even help like a viral infection just because the patient insists on it or The doctor might just be you know, relying on the placebo effect in recent years, however, there’s, been a big push for doctors to lighten up on the antibiotic prescriptions that they run, so there might be more willing to just prescribe some rest, and Maybe some drugs to kind of help deal with the system symptoms, while you heal yourself turns out that getting an infection from time to time and exposure to pathogens is actually kind of good for the body which kind of goes to a much bigger issue.
You know as humans, we spent a lot of time in our history, removing ourselves from nature. We put ourselves in buildings with air conditioning we sanitize and sterilize everything we change the environment to fit us and we’re.
Definitely a lot healthier and happier because of it, but is it good for us in the long run, and we we evolved in nature that’s kind of where we’re supposed to be now don’t get me Wrong, I’m, not gon na be moving into a cave anytime soon, but you do kind of have to ask the question: are we doing more harm than good here? The fact is, we’re, definitely living longer healthier lives than ever before, but there are some interesting outcomes to this.
Antibiotic resistance is just one of them. Then there’s, the case of peanut and tree allergies, and that increase in autism rates over the years and while research is ongoing in all of these cases, some studies show that exposure is actually a good thing that children who are exposed to peanut Butter before 6 months of age actually have fewer cases of peanut allergies than otherwise, and it’s likely that there’s, some kind of environmental factor that’s, increasing autism rates.
What that is, we don’t know, we do know what it’s not – and none of this is anything new. There’s, a long history of environmental factors that have caused health problems from asbestos to lead-based paint to arsenic and makeup.
Humans are always coming up with new creative ways to poison ourselves with every advancement. There are trade-offs and backfire effects in the case of antibiotics. There’s, drug-resistant bacteria, our understanding of disease and how we treated those diseases have gone through several phases: phase one was guided by mysticism and superstition people got sick and died because the gods smited them phase, two was guided by the four humors and The doctrine of signatures totally insane but made sense in the context of the time phase three is when we finally understood the germ theory in medicine and learn how to sterilize and contain transmission phase.
Four is the age of antibiotics which we’ve, been in for the last hundred years or so blissfully, unencumbered by the impending doom threatened upon us by bacterial infections, and soon we may slide inexorably into a fifth stage, a post-antibiotic stage, a stage defined By superbugs that are completely resistant to any kind of treatment available.
Now this doesn’t mean we’re completely screwed, and we’re, definitely not as doomed as our ancestors were. We have a much better understanding of medicine. Now than they did back, then we have better ways of containing these kinds of bacterial infections.
We have better ways of keeping them from spreading from one person to another and, as some studies have found, these mutations that are causing these bacteria to become drug-resistant seem to hamper their ability to transfer from one person to another, sometimes and ironically, some of the treatments We may have to rely on look a lot like the treatments from antiquity and a paper titled treatment options in a post-antibiotic world posted last year.
The researchers led by dr. Robert Richard Bragg, discussed several options. We may have to rely on when the antibiotics stopped working treatments like advanced immunotherapy and bacteriophages vaccines and biosecurity measures, but they also discuss options like herbal therapies and essential oils which do have some medical benefit.
It’s just not because they look like a certain thing. I’ll, put a link to that paper in the description. If you want to know more, the bottom line is in a post-antibiotic world. Your survival will depend a lot more on probability than it ever has before.
So if you want to learn more about probability, one place to do that as a probability of course, I’m brilliant down org that’s. A segue, brilliant org is an online learning platform with a twist. Instead of making you memorize facts and figures, they walk you through a series of problems, helping you to figure it out on your own, so you can conceptualize it in the way that makes the most sense to you.
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It’s really worth checking out. If you haven’t, even the free stuff is really cool, so brilliant dork slice answers with Jo links down the description, big thanks to brilliant door for sponsoring this article and a huge shout out to my answer: files on patreon and help keep this Thing moving, who were helping me to grow a team around this and are just having some awesome discussions.
I’m just like talking to you guys there’s, some new people who had joined the trial. Let me murder their names real quick. We got John Jameson James Fitch, Paul Hackett Brian Wakely, Mike Kruger Colton mass mass Jared fuzz Dakota phlegm er, who has been awesome in our community, Daniel Mayer, Mattias Iverson, koltes, F, Rob Dorsey and Gary Weisman, who I met when I was in Florida last week.
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