Health & Wellness


New antibiotic found in Maine soil proves effective against drug-resistant bacteria

© William Fowle/Northeast University
A previously uncultured bacterium, Eleftheria terrae, makes teixobactin, a new antibiotic.
Researchers may have found a new antibiotic that bacteria will not become resistant to for decades, according to a new study. The discovery came not in a lab, but in soil from Maine, using a little-known device that's "generating excitement."

Dr. Kim Lewis, director of Northeastern University's Antimicrobial Discovery Center, sought to find a new source of antibiotics other than synthesizing them in a lab. So he and Slava Epstein, a biology professor at the same Boston, Massachusetts school, headed into "a grassy field in Maine," Lewis told reporters during a Tuesday conference call. They took a soil sample, which yielded teixobactin, the previously undiscovered antibiotic. The journal Nature published their research on Wednesday.

Lewis then tested the compound for resistance development and did not find mutant MSRA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) or Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistant to teixobactin, which was found to block several different targets in the cell wall synthesis pathway. The antibiotic was effective against the deadly ‒ and difficult to treat ‒ staph infection in mice as well.

Teixobactin is thought to attack microbes by binding to fatty lipids that make up the bacterial cell wall, and it is difficult for a bacterium to alter such fundamental building blocks of the cell, Nature reported. By comparison, most antibiotics target proteins and it can be relatively easy for a microbe to become resistant to those drugs by accumulating mutations that alter the target protein's shape.

"Our impression is that nature produced a compound that evolved to be free of resistance," Lewis said to news@Northeastern. "This challenges the dogma that we've operated under that bacteria will always develop resistance. Well, maybe not in this case."

The antibiotic could be a huge weapon in the fight against drug resistance, a "serious threat" to world health. In the United States alone, at least two million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics each year, and at least 23,000 people die annually as a direct result of these infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

GMO's: Setting the record straight

Michael Specter's story in The New Yorker about Dr. Vandana Shiva's work to protect public health from the effects of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) skewed the facts and fell short of the magazine's usually high standards for fairness.

In the piece published in the August 20th issue (and in a subsequent podcast on The New Yorker's website), Specter makes it clear that he does not approach the topic simply as a journalist, but also as a strong believer in GMOs. He makes no secret of the fact that he considers opposition to GMOs to be unfounded.

But Specter makes his case by ignoring a great deal of evidence that directly contradicts his opinions. By ignoring important facts and questions - scientific, economic and legal - he allows his personal biases to undermine journalistic balance. The end product is a story that mirrors the false myths perpetuated by Monsanto Company on its website and does a true disservice to New Yorker readers.

Comment: Additional articles carried on SOTT.NET about Michael Specter's story in The New Yorker:


Australian pro-vaccine lobbyists trying to ban Dr. Sherri Tenpenny from speaking seminars about vaccine safety

Fresh on the heels of Australia's government effectively silencing criticism of vaccines and the promotion of homeopathic benefits, it appears a heated social media campaign has been launched to stop Dr. Sherri Tenpenny from stepping foot in Australia. Why - because she has talked about the damaging effects of vaccines. It turns out, she is set to give six seminars in March, along with a homeopath, on parenting healthy babies. Coincidentally, last year, the Australian Vaccination-Skeptics Network was literally forced to insert the word "skeptics" into their name. They also lost their charity status "after concerns it could negatively affect children's health."

Comment: It would appear that America is not the only place where the Anti vaxxer debate is a hot topic! Dr. Tenpenny a 'public health menace"? Her scheduled seminars in March, along with a homeopath, are considered 'an endangerment to public health' Why?! Because she is talking about the damaging effects of vaccines? Because she is informing the public about serious concerns based on research? Or maybe she is challenging the current medical status quo in Australia, offering important information to parents that is currently left out of the vaccination discussion. Either way the 'rousing onslaught' against Tenpenny is important to take note of, like other hotly debated topics, in the area of health and wellness, it is no surprise that she is being labeled negatively months before she is scheduled to appear in the country for seminars. If Australia's public health is really a top priority then a discussion on vaccine safety and alleged benefits, should be open for debate from both sides!


9 people contract measles after visiting Disneyland

At least nine people have contracted measles after visiting Disneyland parks in Orange County over the holidays, the state Department of Public Health said Wednesday.

The local infected patients, who were from Alameda, Orange, Pasadena, Riverside and San Diego, range in age from 8 months to 21 years old. Just one of the infected individuals had been fully vaccinated.

The California Health Department has sent out an alert, warning doctors to be on the lookout for signs of measles.

Disneyland released a statement on Wednesday, addressing the issue.

"We are working with the health department to provide any information and assistance we can," Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chief Medical Officer Pamela Hymel said.

"Two Utah resident cases have also been confirmed and three additional California residents are also suspected to have measles and are under investigation," Ron Chapman of the CDPH said.

The confirmed and suspected patients reported visiting either Disneyland and/or California Adventure theme parks between Dec. 15 and Dec. 20 of last year, according to Chapman.

"It is likely that a person infectious with measles was at one of the theme parks on these dates," he said.
Bacon n Eggs

Study shows a little bit of fat goes a long way to fighting staph infections

© Reuters / Rick Wilking
It seems those extra holiday pounds could actually be good for your health. A study has found that fat cells under the skin may protect against the most prevalent type of staph infection by producing molecules that can directly kill invasive pathogens.

Richard Gallo, MD, PhD, professor, and chief of dermatology at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, and his colleagues have uncovered a previously unknown role for dermal fat cells, known as adipocytes: they produce antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) that help fend off invading bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus and other pathogens.

HPV vaccines: 34 deaths reported in one month?

Say NO to HPV vaccines!
Death reports after HPV vaccines have been filed at a rate of less than five per month since Gardasil and Cervarix were approved for use in the United States in 2006/07. The SaneVax team was shocked when the latest available update from the VAERS (vaccine adverse event reporting system) database revealed 34 death reports after HPV vaccines in a single month.

You can pretty much bet that any anomaly of this magnitude bears investigation. The SaneVax team decided to run a search for only the deaths reported after administration of HPV vaccines within the last month. 35 death reports show up (We assume one was prior to the close of the previous month's stats). The other 34 are identical reports from "a nurse via a company sales representative."

To run the same search, go to and choose the HPV vaccines (HPV2, HPV4 and HPVX), death and a lower appeared on VAERS date of Oct 2014 - to run the same search our team did. You might want to take a look and see what you think.

Comment: We would not be surprised if the numbers were correct and even underestimated: Gardasil: Medical torture and child abuse by Big Pharma:
There is something deeply wrong with a giant pharmaceutical company spending hundreds of millions of dollars to manipulate women and influence legislation in order to generate a revenue stream of billions of dollars a year for itself at the expense of a gullible public. Gardasil is possibly the most dangerous vaccine on the market, with the potential to injure, maim, or even kill the children who receive it. [...]

Merck let 60,000 Americans die from Vioxx-related heart attacks before finally pulling the drug from the market when it could no longer deny the truth, and cold-bloodedly set aside $1.6 billion with the intention of fighting every claim for damages.
Talk about psychopathic calculation!

Arrow Up

Adopt wheat-free life for optimal health, doctors say

Lou Alcalay of Palm Desert was never in poor health, but the weight did slowly creep up on him over the years.

Alcalay's doctor, Dr. Joseph Scherger, advised losing some weight and suggested the book "Wheat Belly," a book advocating for the removal of wheat from everyday diet.

The science within the book resonated with Alcalay, and without hesitation, he gave up all grains, and stopped drinking beer. He still eats plenty of meats, beans and dairy. Within just a few short weeks, he started noticing dramatic changes around his waistline.

"The weight came off so fast," Alcalay, 84, who has maintained a 70-pound weight loss for more than a year. "I went from a size 44 waist to a size 34 waist. ... It's the most expensive diet I've ever done in my entire life. I had to get rid of all of my pants."

Comment: Check out some impressive "before and after" photos at Dr. William Davis page. For more information, read Toast was toast, or how Wheat Belly and its author changed my diet.

Black Magic

Calorie myths we should all stop believing

Many people think weight loss is simply about cutting calories. They believe that to lose weight, you must reduce calories (either eat less or burn more), to gain weight you must add calories, and to maintain weight you keep calories constant. To these folks, calories in, calories out is the only thing that matters. They usually oppose the Primal Blueprint because they assume that we "deny" the importance of calories in weight loss.

Well, they're wrong. I don't deny the importance of calories. Calories absolutely count. And if someone has lost weight, they have necessarily expended more calories than they consumed. That said, there are some major misconceptions about calories, body weight, fat loss, and health. These calorie myths are often rooted in truth but presented in black-or-white terms that are useless at best, harmful at worst, and do little to help the average person lose body fat.

Let's dig right in.

Calories in, calories out is all you need to know

Simple is nice. Simple is good. But overly simple is dangerously inaccurate, so let's break this statement down.

What does "calories in" refer to?

Calories in - what we eat. We can't metabolize sunlight or oxygen. We can't feast on the souls of the damned. The food we eat determines "calories in" entirely. Simple.

Comment: Don't miss Why we get fat - Gary Taubes for more information.

Taubes reveals the bad nutritional science of the last century, none more damaging or misguided than the calories-in, calories-out model of why we get fat, and the good science that has been ignored, especially regarding insulin's regulation of our fat tissue. He also answers the most persistent questions: Why are some people thin and others fat? What roles do exercise and genetics play in our weight? What foods should we eat, and what foods should we avoid?


Mind over matter: Thinking about exercise can regulate muscle strength

For some people, having the discipline just to make it to the gym is half the battle in staying fit. But new research suggests that the simple act of thinking about working out without actually doing it may be enough to tone muscle and even promote muscle growth.

Researchers from Ohio University discovered this after testing the power of intentional thought on a group of volunteers. Two groups of participants were given wrist casts for four weeks, immobilizing the use of one hand, with one of the groups told to sit and think intensely about working out for 11 minutes daily, five days a week.

SOTT Exclusive - The ultimate dietary terror threat in 2015: Red meat (again)

Delicious Steak
Don't be fooled by this delicious looking piece of perfection. This is none other than a pan-seared portion of Satan himself!
Where food science and dietetics are concerned, there has been a major hate-on for red meat in the mainstream media and academia since the 1950s. And when you scrutinize the issue, as I have done, you find that there is no (and has never been) solid reasoning behind it. But, with their constant need to acquire grants or sell headlines, or simply justify their own existence, these people need an enemy. Red meat seems to fit the bill, at the moment. Think of it as the ISIS of your dinner plate.

This all goes back to the ridiculous hubub that started in the 1950s when seemingly clear-headed nutritional scientists decided to ignore all their schooling (and rational thought) to lend their support to really shoddy science "showing" how saturated fat was related to heart disease. I won't go into the nitty-gritty of it here (there are ample expositions of this story already).

The public's perception of red meat never really recovered from that, and the "beat 'em when they're down" media continue to relentlessly take shots at their victim. Pair this ancient knack for blaming scapegoats with the politically-correct trending mythology of the necessity of a "plant-based diet" and you've got the perfect recipe for a 'bad guy' to end all 'bad guys'. Truth be damned: red meat is Hitler (props to Fox News for that one).