CDC Warns of Bacteria That Resist the Strongest Drugs
Deadly, antibiotic-resistant "nightmare bacteria" are spreading through U.S. hospitals, long-term care facilities, and nursing homes. No, that's not the plot of a science fiction movie, but the warning from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday. "These are nightmare bacteria that present a triple threat," CDC director Thomas Frieden told USA Today. "They're resistant to nearly all antibiotics. They have high mortality rates, killing half of people with serious infections. And they can spread their resistance to other bacteria." These germs are called arbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), and while their infections are relatively uncommon, the results are often devastating. According to the CDC, if CRE invades the blood, bladder, or other areas where germs aren't supposed to be, "patients suffer from infections that are difficult, and sometimes impossible, to treat." In fact, up to half the people who suffer serious infections from the germ die, and it doesn't help that CRE can give other germs its antibiotic-resistant properties. While CRE is nothing new, it is becoming more common. Hospitals in 42 states have seen one type of CRE, and the spread of the most common type of the germ has increased seven-fold over the past decade. Last year, the CDC released a CRE toolkit for handling the germ and recommends everyone study it. "Leadership and medical staff in hospitals, long-term acute care hospitals, nursing homes, health departments, and even outpatient practices must work together to implement these recommendations to protect patients from CRE."
The Less-is-More Approach to Health Care
There may be one less colonoscopy in your future.
You can thank the Choosing Wisely campaign, a massive effort by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation to promote the judicious use of health care resources amid increasing reports of wasteful health-care spending. As a result, the number of medical tests worth having are continually being called into question.
With the campaign's launch last year, the ABIM, in partnership with Consumer Reports, announced that nine medical specialties had each released a list of "five things physicians and patients should question." So, for example, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology advised against antibiotics for routine sinus infections, which are rarely caused by bacteria and usually clear up within two weeks. The American College of Cardiology said the use of annual stress tests in asymptomatic patients doesn't help and can hurt—leading to invasive procedures and radiation exposure. [Read more: The Less-is-More Approach to Health Care]
Dubious Products on Supermarket Shelves
Food marketers are the source of endless innovation in their quest to "add value" to commodity products so that we consumers will pay more, writes U.S. News blogger Tamara Duker Freuman. Novelty sells, so supermarket shelves see a constant rotation of foods, beverages, and supplements in new flavors (think Lay's Chicken & Waffles potato chips) and different forms (think gummy vitamins), shouting out different beneficial claims ("50 percent of the daily value for fiber per serving!") in an attempt to secure a spot in our shopping carts.
Every so often, a product will hit the market that defies all logic to me as a dietitian. Usually, these products take the guise of a health-focused reformulation that somehow makes the product less healthy or effective despite a clear attempt to do the opposite. Whenever I come across these new products, I can't help but think, Hmmm … ? What were they thinking?!?
In my humble opinion, the following products probably shouldn't have made it to see the light of day:
1. Reduced-fat peanut butter. I get it. Americans love peanut butter, but it has a lot of calories due to its high fat content. [Read more: Dubious Products on Supermarket Shelves]