Livin' on the MDedge

Gout’s Golden Globe, resistance is fecal, eucalyptus eulogy


 

Resistance is fecal

And now, just in case you were wondering how long it would take to put our newfound knowledge of “in vimo” to use, here comes a study that has “in vimo” written all over it (metaphorically speaking, of course).

Researchers in Sweden and Finland decided to take a look at antibiotic resistance genes in sewage, because “antibiotics consumed by humans and animals are released into the environment in urine and fecal material contained in treated wastewaters and sludge applied to land.” Then they compared the abundance of the mobile antibiotic resistance genes with the abundance of a human fecal pollution marker.

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That marker – a virus that infects bacteria in human feces but is rare in other animals – was “highly correlated to the abundance of antibiotic resistance genes in environmental samples,” they said in a separate written statement, which “indicates that fecal pollution can largely explain the increase in resistant bacteria often found in human-impacted environments.” The name of that marker, the virus found in feces, happens to be “crAssphage.” And yes, the A really is capitalized. Really. We are not making this up.

Gout wins a Golden Globe

Gout has a new poster girl: Great Britain’s Queen Anne. She’s been dead for more than 4 centuries, but a Hollywood version of this stout monarch is turning a famously royal affliction into the disease of the moment.

The credit goes to actress Olivia Colman, who just won a Golden Globe award for her brilliant performance in the earthy comedy “The Favourite.” Ms. Colman transforms the pain-wracked Queen Anne into a needy, manipulative, and loopy monarch who still manages to draw our sympathy.

Besides flummoxing American spell-checkers with its title, The Favourite glories in stretching the truth about the queen’s private life. But she really does seem to have had the “disease of kings,” which has long been linked to the rich, fatty diets enjoyed by blue bloods.

Now, there’s talk that high-protein, meat-friendly keto and paleo diets are boosting rates among the young. This theory got an airing last week in a New York Magazine article titled “Why Gout Is Making a Comeback.”

Podagra: The Gout by James Gillray (1799)

Podagra: The Gout by James Gillray (1799)

The truth may be more complicated. Over the last few years, researchers have cast doubt on the keto-leads-to-gout theory and suggested that fructose in sugar may be the real culprit. According to this hypothesis, gout afflicted British royals as they developed a communal sweet tooth during the early days of the sugar trade. Gout then spread to the general population as sugar became more accessible.

The gout debate will continue. As for Olivia Colman, she will soon grace smaller screens with her performance as Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix’s series “The Crown.”

QE II isn’t known for having suffered from any major diseases. But at her next checkup, we do think she should have that stiff upper lip looked at.

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