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Metabolic syndrome markers taken before pregnancy could predict gestational diabetes

Posted Oct 13 2010 12:00am

Superbugs are back in the news, most recently with a report in yesterday’s Washington Post about the rise of NDM-1. This antibiotic-resistant gene is now present in germs that cause urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and other common conditions and "is apparently widespread in parts of India," per the Post. Only three U.S. patients have experienced NDM-1-caused illness—and all of them had recently returned from India (where they were successfully treated). But the spread of NDM-1 has many experts concerned. The Post article quotes a UCLA researcher who calls NDM-1 “in some ways our worst nightmare.”

But there’s probably no need to head for the panic room just yet. Although NDM-1 is a concern, in many ways it’s just the latest in a long line of microbial threats to humankind. In the words of this UAB Magazine feature on the myths and facts about antibiotic resistance, “physicians can now describe a dozen doomsday scenarios in which multi-drug-resistant bacteria, immune to all of our antibiotic weapons, could sweep through the population, killing thousands.”

Are those scenarios likely, however? As UAB infectious disease specialist Craig Hoesley points out in that article, hospitals in the U.S. and worldwide could do much more to combat the problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. [ Read the article for more on steps UAB is taking to tackle antibiotic resistance in its hospitals and click here to see a gallery of microbial villains.]

But even with that extra effort, “this is a problem that hospitals are always going to have,” Hoesley notes. And he takes a sanguine view of doomsday scenarios. “We’ll make better and better antibiotics, and we’ll survive—we’re not going to get killed off by these guys.”
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