Wellness News 5-1

     Doctors wrote 12 million antibiotic prescriptions in a single year for colds, bronchitis and other respiratory infections against which the drugs are almost always useless.  “A study found such indiscriminate use of antibiotics has contributed to the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria, a growing problem in the United States,” the researchers said.  More than 90% of upper respiratory infections, including bronchitis and colds are caused by a virus and are therefore impervious to antibiotics.  Doctors usually know this, but studies have suggested they may yield to pressure from the patients – or what they perceive to be the patients’ expectations – to prescribe a drug, even if it is unlikely to help.  “Every time we use an antibiotic, we run the risk of promoting antibiotic resistance, or drug resistance, by bacteria,” said the lead author, Dr. Ralph Gonzales. 
     Despite the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria strains, the old standby antibiotic amoxicillin is still the best first-line treatment for children’s ear infections – but doctors should double the standard dose.  Drug resistance has become a major problem in this country because of antibiotic misuse, and over-treatment of ear infections has been a big contributor.  About one-third of ear infections are asymptomatic and happen to get diagnosed during well-baby checkups.  “One of the most important steps in using antibiotics more wisely is not to treat those kids.”
     A recent nation-wide survey of nearly 700 kids revealed that children who have taken more than 20 cycles of antibiotics in their young lifetime were over 50% more likely to suffer developmental delays compared with children who have had 3 or fewer rounds of antibiotics.
The spread of antibiotic-resistance bacteria is associated with antibiotic use.  Children are important targets for efforts in reducing unnecessary antibiotic use.  Antibiotic prescribing for children diagnosed as having colds, URIs, and bronchitis, conditions that typically do not benefit from antibiotics, represents a substantial share of total antibiotic prescriptions in the U.S.
     About 90% of staph bacteria are resistant to penicillin, and may be resistant to everything except vancomycin.  A super-bug immune to all antibiotics poses a deadly threat to the half million patients who contract staph infections each year in hospitals.  It’s only the latest in a disturbing trend that has claimed thousands of lives.  About 19,000 people died in 1992 from bacterial infections that could not be treated with antibiotics, making bacterial infections the 11th- leading cause of death.  More than 1,400 died in New York City in 1995 from antibiotic-resistant infections.  And the list of super-bugs is growing, as more bacteria develop resistance.  Health experts point to the vast overuse of antibiotics as the problem.  Through mutations and other methods, bacteria learn to fight back, rendering the drugs useless.  The more the drugs are used, the sooner they fail.
     The May 25, 1999, issue of Your Health contained a feature about the potential risks of antibiotics revealed in a new book authored by three medical doctors.  The article states that “the medical advice in the book was reviewed by experts and is based on the latest medical information” misleading the reader that these are new concepts developed by these medical individuals.
     The idea that the misuse of antibiotics is potentially dangerous is not a new one. For decades, chiropractic physicians, along with other holistic practitioners, have been warning about the potential risks, including but not limited to drug-resistant bacteria.  These conclusions can be found throughout the literature, including the book “Beyond Antibiotics”, written by Michael Schmidt, DC and first published in 1992. Instead of recognizing the ideas of these professionals as useful information, the medical profession labeled chiropractors as quacks.  Now we see that the chiropractors were right all along. It is not the first time. The same has happened with manipulation, herbs, vitamins, physiotherapy, and a host of other therapies and practices.
    The article also points out that even though these concepts have been proved true, many medical doctors still do not follow the recommendations. One excuse given by doctors who write unnecessary prescriptions is that they are pressured by patients to do so. This is simply a cop-out. Patients simply should not be choosing their own treatment as if they are ordering from a menu board at a fast food restaurant. As William J. H. Boetcker said, “That you may retain your self-respect, it is better to displease the people by doing what you know is right, than to temporarily please them by doing what you know is wrong.”
Another excuse given is that “it takes less time to fill out a prescription form than to explain why drugs will not do any good.” This is frightening. The latest research project to prove that medical doctors are either ignorant of the situation, or ignoring its danger, was a report published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.
     Let nature and your body work without any interference – you’ll love the feeling.
 This article was submitted by Dr. Donald J. Bretz D.C. at Bretz Family Chiropractic located at 6810 S. Cedar,  Suite D, Lansing, MI 48911.     The phone number is  517-699-2100.