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Do past medicines hold the answer to antibiotic resistance?

Historically, doctors used metals to treat infections. Researchers think that this treatment method may be worth a modern re-examination. As an increasing number of bacteria develop antibiotic resistance, scientists are looking beyond this family of medications that has served us so well up until now. As the usefulness of antibiotics begins to wane, there is an urgent need to develop new ways to treat infections. Now, researchers at the University of Connecticut (UCONN) in Storrs say they may have found a way forward by looking back at how doctors treated infections before the advent of antibiotics. Kumar Venkitanarayanan led the research team. There are no clear data for how selenium works, says Venkitanarayanan, but there appears to be toxicity against the outer membrane of the bacteria, and it might also cause toxicity against the DNA, potentially in genes that are involved in biofilm creation. Genetic analysis supported this suspicion, showing a reduction, or down-regulation, of genes responsible for biofilm production. Also, the bacteria treated with selenium were no longer as good at sticking to and invading skin cells. Venkitanarayanan team has also looked at the use of selenium for addressing other challenging infections, such as enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) and Clostridium difficile (C. diff). Venkitanarayanan advocates further exploration into the use of metals and metalloids as a way out of the antibiotic resistance dilemma, even as a stopgap, while researchers investigate and develop other treatments. (Credits: www.medicalnewstoday.com)

Cancer survivors report an information gap in treatment side effects

Cancer treatments can save lives, but they also often cause a range of side effects. A recent patient survey in the United States has revealed how people feel about these effects and the information gaps that currently exist. About one-third of people in the U.S. will develop cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy are the three main types of treatment. Each can come with a range of side effects, which vary from person to person. Some people may experience few or only mild effects, while others may find them debilitating. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy tend to have more side effects because they affect healthy cells as well as cancerous ones. People undergoing these treatments commonly report fatigue, along with hair loss. Other potential side effects include nausea and vomiting, changes in appetite and mood, and sleep problems. Chemotherapy can, in some cases, result in long-term heart or nerve damage or fertility issues. Radiation therapy may also affect the skin leading to sore, dry, or itchy patches. The pronounced impact of treatment side effects for patients receiving combination therapy also suggests a need to build better coordination between oncology disciplines about managing side effects and to improve informed consent processes across cancer therapies. Says First author Dr. Narek Shaverdian. (Credits: www.medicalnewstoday.com)