The infertility crisis is beyond doubt. Now scientists must find the cause. 


News last week that sperm counts in western men have halved confirmed what experts already knew. The real problem is that no one knows why.

 Life begins … but for western couples the process is becoming more and more difficult.
 Life begins … but for western couples the process is becoming more and more difficult. 

The topic has become the mainstay of dystopian science fiction. Our world is afflicted by widespread infertility and childless civilisations are left hovering on the brink of collapse. Children of Men and The Handmaid’sTale provide perfect examples of these unsettling narratives.

Yet the scenarios outlined in these books and dramatisations may be less fanciful than is first supposed. Indeed, reaction to a study of male infertility, published last week, suggests we may already be hurtling towards such a fate.

According to scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, sperm counts among men in the west have more than halved in the past 40 years and are currently falling by an average of 1.4% a year. Humanity could soon become extinct, it was claimed by some commentators.

It was a chilling and alarming revelation. Western nations – although not developing countries – appear to be facing disaster. But what could be triggering this decline in sperm? And what can be done to counter it?

Answering these questions turns out to be a lot more awkward than was previously realised, and while the most strident apocalyptic warnings that have followed publication of the Jerusalem study are dismissed by experts, most believe its findings suggest we face a major social and biological problem. Worryingly, there is little evidence that any action is being taken to address the coming crisis.

In fact, there was nothing new in the study, Temporal Trends in Sperm Count, by Hagai Levine and others, which was published in Human Reproduction Updatelast week. The work was an analysis of more than 100 previous studies in the field, and most reproductive health experts have reacted positively to it. Professor Chris Barratt, at Dundee University, described it as a landmark study “that should ring alarm bells”, while Manchester University’s Professor Daniel Brison said its “shocking” results should act as “a wake-up call to prompt active research in the area”.

Nor are they alone in declaring their worries about declining sperm counts in the west. Earlier this year, the World Health Organisation described current knowledge of male infertility as “very low”, a relative ignorance that has since been acknowledged by the UK Medical Research Council, which has issued a call for scientists to put forward projects in the field for funding. “We are still relatively ignorant about the causes of male infertility, and as a matter of urgency we need to increase, substantially, our research effort into male reproductive health,” said Barratt.

The dangers of this ignorance were highlighted by Professor Richard Sharpe at Edinburgh University – though he was also quick to dismiss the more outlandish claims that current dwindling sperm counts could doom humanity.

“The end of humanity is not approaching,” said Sharpe. “But at the individual level, for affected people, this trend could be tragic. We have no treatments for improving sperm production in infertile men, and we have no idea about what is the cause of the condition. We cannot remedy it. So we are completely hamstrung.”

The problem is particularly urgent in the west, where couples are having families much later in life, he said. In 2014, 52% of all live births in the UK were to mothers aged 30 and over (67% of fathers fell into this age group). However, when a woman reaches the age of 32 her chances of conceiving start to decrease gradually but significantly until, by 40, they have fallen by half. At the same time, more and more men now have sperm counts low enough to impair their fertility.

“This creates a double whammy for fertility in modern western societies,” said Sharpe. “Couples wait until they are over 30 and then find that one or both have reproduction problems. In some cases, they may not discover these problems until they are in their late 30s – by which time they have little time left to take advantage of assisted reproductive techniques such as IVF. Couples like these are more and more likely to end up childless – as mothers get older and sperm counts continue to drop – and that is a tragedy. The problem is that the only effective way to treat infertility caused by a man’s low sperm count is to treat his partner, invasively, using assisted reproductive techniques. That may not always be seen as an acceptable approach. We are sailing into a storm.”

The issue is further complicated because the underlying cause of these declining sperm counts remains a mystery. “Almost every aspect of modern life – from mobile phones to smoking and oral contraceptives [contaminating drinking water] – has been blamed for declining sperm counts, but no convincing evidence has emerged to link any of them to the problem,” said Professor Allan Pacey of Sheffield University.

In addition, there have been criticisms of some of the retrospective studies that suggest dramatic falls in sperm counts. Some of the studies were based on men attending fertility clinics who were therefore more likely to have low sperm counts.

Different techniques were used in different studies to count sperm in samples, and this variation could also have skewed results.

Neither set of these kind of studies was included in the meta-analysis by Levine and his team, however, and for this reason, several scientists – including Pacey – who had remained cautious about the extent of the problem, have said that they are much more convinced by the new work.

“This new analysis has gone a long way to get round the flaws of previous studies, so I am much less sceptical about the reality of declining sperm counts in the west,” Pacey said.

The reality of the problem is also supported by the rise in cases of testicular cancer that has taken place in recent years, he added. This also suggests that problems appear to be occurring as the male foetus develops in the womb. In some way, it is becoming more and more vulnerable to changes in conditions there.

Whether these have come about because of alterations to a mother’s diet, or to the drugs she is taking, or chemicals in the environment and other factors, it is hard to say. And why do men outside the western world appear not to be affected?

Scientists are anxious to find an answer, but are unlikely to do so in the short term, they admit. “We should have funded large epidemiological studies of healthy males 25 years ago and this would – by now – have given us a clear answer one way or the other,” said Pacey.

“Unfortunately, it seems as though we might have to wait another 25 years before we might get to know the real answer.”

This point was backed by Sharpe, who warned that the field is still bedevilled by a lack of research investment. “We need a critical mass of scientists trying to find out what is happening and why it is happening. Unfortunately, we still do not have that. Not enough research is being done. Yet I believe the problem is getting worse.”

Source:www.theguardian.com

Advertisements

Putin: GMOs Reduce Sperm Count, It’s A New World Order Depopulation Tool


Russian leader on Monsanto and human devolution By: Daniel Newton

According to new comprehensive studies, sperm counts have plummeted almost 50% in just a four decade As sperm counts in Western men plummet at an alarming rate, Russian leader Vladimir Putin has branded GMOs as “modern poisons” used as a tool of the New World Order to depopulate the planet.

according to new comprehensive studies  sperm counts have plummeted almost 50  in just a four decade

According to new comprehensive studies, sperm counts have plummeted by almost 50% in just a four decades time frame as the modern man’s health deteriorates at break-neck speed.As many theories circulate suggesting that the decline is sperm count is a result of toxic GMOs used by the globalist as depopulation tool, Putin said: “I don’t know what I have to do to get through to people. Can you see where this is headed?“

The human race is doomed unless we take urgent action A young man born today in America will be completely sterilized by the time he is 40.”Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Arkady Dvorkovich, announced last year that Russia had banned GMOs as it had no place in the future of Russian agriculture.Putin said that his goal was to have the world cleanest food supply by boosting the health of its soil, and giving the Russian people purely organic food to avoid the health risks of GMOs. © press sperm counts have plummeted almost 50% in just a four decades time frame as the modern man’s health deteriorates According to a Security Council (SCRF) report, Putin said that evolution was at risk as a result of  Western super powers intentionally decelerating the process for their “personal gain.”Last year, Putin signed Federal Law 358-Z, prohibiting “cultivation of genetically engineered plants and breeding of genetically engineered animals on the territory of the Russian Federation,”GMOs and SpermThe connection between GMOs and Sperm decline hasn’t been officially linked, as scientists still say it’s down to modern lifestyles in the digital era such as anxiety and smoking. So why is Putin the only leader that has made the GMO connection to low sperm counts?

Maybe you should follow the money.“Given the importance of sperm counts for male fertility and human health, this study is an urgent wake-up call for researchers and health authorities around the world to investigate the causes of the sharp ongoing drop in sperm count, with the goal of prevention,” lead author Hagai Levine said in a statement.

Last year, over 37 million bees died when a GMO corn plantation was in close proximity of a local beekeeper in Canada.Incidents like this should be the reason that GMOs should be banned, not just in Russia, but worldwide.

Source:http://www.neonnettle.com

How do bacteria become resistant to lethal antibiotics? 


scanning electron micrograph showing Salmonella typhimurium (red) invading cultured human cells

scanning electron micrograph showing Salmonella typhimurium (red) invading cultured human cells   

In a new study, researchers from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune have shown how bacteria take help of Hydrogen sulphide (H2S) gas to defend themselves against the onslaught of antibiotics. The study was published in Chemical Science.

Antibiotics usually kill bacteria by inducing oxidative stress leading to accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), that damage bacteria’s essential machinery –DNA and enzymes. Interestingly, when antibiotic-resistant bacteria encounter such oxygen-rich environment, they produce H2S that scavenges the excess ROS and protects the cell from damage.

To be able to study how H2S affects resistant bacterial cells, the team devised an innovative system for generating H2S inside living bacterial cells. They designed a new compound, cyclopentane-1,1-diylbis((4-nitrobenzyl) sulfane, “which is a substrate for E. coli’s  nitroreductase enzyme (NTR)  and releases H2S in presence of the enzyme inside the cell”  explains Prashant Shukla, PhD student at IISc, Bangalore, and one of the authors of this study.

The NTR enzyme is expressed exclusively in bacteria and not in mammalian cells. “We wanted to exclude possibilities of host-derived  H2S  playing a role in our experiments with intracellular pathogens such as Salmonella and Mycobacterium.” says Harinath Chakrapani, Associate Professor, at IISER, Pune and an author on the paper.

The designed donor was able to permeate inside healthy bacterial cells while retaining their functionality. When donor loaded bacterial cells were exposed to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), which is a good source of ROS, the H2S released by donor present inside the bacterial cells was able to reduce it and protect the cell from damage.

The authors also examined if elevated endogenous  H2S  levels showed a positive correlation with drug resistance in human infections. “We measured the intracellular H2S levels of several multidrug-resistant (MDRE. coli strains isolated from patients suffering from urinary tract infections (UTI). The endogenous H2S levels were considerably higher than non-pathogenic strains (of bacteria) indicating a possible functional role for H2S in antibiotic resistance”, says Shukla. The authors were also able to show that inhibition of H2Sbiosynthesis reversed antibiotic resistance in MDR varieties of UTI-causing bacteria. UTI affects millions in India and indiscriminate use of antibiotics has made UTI pathogens resistant to most antibiotics.

Amit Singh, Assistant Professor at IISc and one of the authors of the study says “A combination of molecules/drugs targeting H2S biosynthesis, antioxidants, and an alternate route of respiration could have a remarkable impact on reversing drug resistance and clinical outcomes”.

Vasanthi Ramachandran, Director of Microbiology Division, Bug Works, who is unrelated to the study, says, “the authors have used a novel approach to substantiate the role of H2S towards antibiotic resistance. Adding that, “the study has definitely shown and opened up newer avenues including novel targets that can be exploited to understand and overcome resistance.”

CDC Admits 98 Million Americans Received Polio Vaccine Contaminated With Cancer Virus


The CDC has quickly removed a page from their website, which is now cached here and here, admitting that more than 98 million Americans received one or more doses of polio vaccine within an 8-year span from 1955-1963 when a proportion of the vaccine was contaminated with a cancer causing polyomavirus called SV40. It has been estimated that 10-30 million Americans could have received an SV40 contaminated dose of the vaccine.

SV40 is an abbreviation for Simian vacuolating virus 40 or Simian virus 40, a polyomavirus that is found in both monkeys and humans. Like other polyomaviruses, SV40 is a DNA virus that has been found to cause tumors and cancer. SV40 is believed to suppress the transcriptional properties of the tumor-suppressing genes in humans through the SV40 Large T-antigen and SV40 Small T-antigen. Mutated genes may contribute to uncontrolled cellular proliferation, leading to cancer. Michele Carbone, Assistant Professor of Pathology at Loyola University in Chicago, has recently isolated fragments of the SV-40 virus in human bone cancers and in a lethal form of lung cancer called mesothelioma.

He found SV-40 in 33% of the osteosarcoma bone cancers studied, in 40% of other bone cancers, and in 60% of the mesotheliomas lung cancers, writes Geraldo Fuentes. Dr. Michele Carbone openly acknowledged HIV/AIDS was spread by the hepatitis B vaccine produced by Merck & Co. during the early 1970s. It was the first time since the initial transmissions took place in 1972-74, that a leading expert in the field of vaccine manufacturing and testing has openly admitted the Merck & Co. liability for AIDS. The matter-of-fact disclosure came during discussions of polio vaccines contaminated with SV40 virus which caused cancer in nearly every species infected by injection. Many authorities now admit much, possibly most, of the world’s cancers came from the Salk and Sabin polio vaccines, and hepatitis B vaccines, produced in monkeys and chimps. It is said mesothelioma is a result of asbestos exposure, but research reveals that 50% of the current mesotheliomas being treated no longer occurs due to asbestos but rather the SV-40 virus contained in the polio vaccination.

In addition, according to researchers from the Institute of Histology and General Embryology of the University of Ferrara, SV-40 has turned up in a variety other tumors. By the end of 1996, dozens of scientists reported finding SV40 in a variety of bone cancers and a wide range of brain cancers, which had risen 30 percent over the previous 20 years. The SV-40 virus is now being detected in tumors removed from people never inoculated with the contaminated vaccine, leading some to conclude that those infected by the vaccine might be spreading SV40. Soon after its discovery, SV40 was identified in the oral form of the polio vaccine produced between 1955 and 1961 produced by American Home Products (dba Lederle).

Both the oral, live virus and injectable inactive virus were affected. It was found later that the technique used to inactivate the polio virus in the injectable vaccine, by means of formaldehyde, did not reliably kill SV40. Just two years ago, the U.S. government finally added formaldehyde to a list of known carcinogens and and admitted that the chemical styrene might cause cancer. Yet, the substance is still found in almost every vaccine. According to the Australian National Research Council, fewer than 20% but perhaps more than 10% of the general population may be susceptible to formaldehyde and may react acutely at any exposure level. M

More hazardous than most chemicals in 5 out of 12 ranking systems, on at least 8 federal regulatory lists, it is ranked as one of the most hazardous compounds (worst 10%) to ecosystems and human health (Environmental Defense Fund). In the body, formaldehyde can cause proteins to irreversibly bind to DNA. Laboratory animals exposed to doses of inhaled formaldehyde over their lifetimes have developed more cancers of the nose and throat than are usual. Facts Listed on The CDC Website about SV40 SV40 is a virus found in some species of monkey. SV40 was discovered in 1960. Soon afterward, the virus was found in polio vaccine. SV40 virus has been found in certain types of cancer in humans. Additional Facts In the 1950s, rhesus monkey kidney cells, which contain SV40 if the animal is infected, were used in preparing polio vaccines. Not all doses of IPV were contaminated. It has been estimated that 10-30 million people actually received a vaccine that contained SV40. Some evidence suggests that receipt of SV40-contaminated polio vaccine may increase risk of cancer. A Greater Perspective on Aerial Spraying and SV40 The Defense Sciences Office of the Pathogen Countermeasures Program, in September 23, 1998 funded the University of Michigan’s principal investigator, Dr. James Baker, Jr. Dr. Baker, Director of Michigan Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and Biological Sciences under several DARPA grants. Dr. Baker developed and focused on preventing pathogens from entering the human body, which is a major goal in the development of counter measures to Biological Warfare. This research project sought to develop a composite material that will serve as a pathogen avoidance barrier and post-exposure therapeutic agent to be applied in a topical manner to the skin and mucous membranes. The composite is modeled after the immune system in that it involves redundant, non-specific and specific forms of pathogen defense and inactivation. This composite material is now utilized in many nasal vaccines and vector control through the use of

The composite is modeled after the immune system in that it involves redundant, non-specific and specific forms of pathogen defense and inactivation. This composite material is now utilized in many nasal vaccines and vector control through the use of hydro-gel, nanosilicon gels and actuator materials in vaccines. Through Dr. Baker’s research at the University of Michigan; he developed dendritic polymers and their application to medical and biological science. He co-developed a new vector system for gene transfer using synthetic polymers. These studies have produced striking results and have the potential to change the basis of gene transfer therapy. Dendrimers are nanometer-sized water soluble polymers that can conjugate to peptides or arbohydrates to act as decoy molecules to inhibit the binding of toxins and viruses to cells. They can act also as complex and stabilize genetic material for prolonged periods of time, as in a “time released or delayed gene transfer”. Through Dr. Baker’s ground breaking research many pharmaceutical and biological pesticide manufacturers can use these principles in DNA vaccines specific applications that incorporate the Simian Monkey Virus SV40. WEST NILE VIRUS SPRAYING In 2006 Michael Greenwood wrote an article for the Yale School of Public Health entitled, “Aerial Spraying Effectively Reduces Incidence of West Nile Virus (WNV) in Humans.” The article stated that the incidence of human West Nile virus cases can be significantly reduced through large scale aerial spraying that targets adult mosquitoes, according to research by the Yale School of Public Health and the California Department of Public Health. Under the mandate for aerial spraying for specific vectors that pose a threat to human health, aerial vaccines known as DNA Vaccine Enhancements and Recombinant Vaccine against WNV may be tested or used to “protect” the people from vector infection exposures. DNA vaccine enhancements specifically use Epstein-Barr viral capside’s with multi human complement class II activators to neutralize antibodies. The recombinant vaccines against WNV use Rabbit Beta-globulin or the poly (A) signal of the SV40 virus. In early studies of DNA vaccines it was found that the negative result studies would go into the category of future developmental research projects in gene therapy. During the studies of poly (A) signaling of the SV40 for WNV vaccines, it was observed that WNV will lie dormant in individuals who were exposed to chicken pox, thus upon exposure to WNV aerial vaccines the potential for the release of chicken pox virus would cause a greater risk to having adult onset Shingles. CALIFORNIA AERIAL SPRAYING for WNV and SV40 In February 2009 to present date, aerial spraying for the WNV occurred in major cities within the State of California. During spraying of Anaheim, CA a Caucasian female (age 50) was exposed to heavy spraying, while doing her daily exercise of walking several miles. Heavy helicopter activity occurred for several days in this area. After spraying, she experienced light headedness, nausea, muscle aches and increased low back pain. She was evaluated for toxicological mechanisms that were associated with pesticide exposure due to aerial spraying utilizing advanced biological monitoring testing. The test results which included protein band testing utilizing Protein Coupled Response (PCR) methods were positive for KD-45. KD-45 is the protein band for SV-40 Simian Green Monkey virus. Additional tests were performed for Epstein-Barr virus

The recombinant vaccines against WNV use Rabbit Beta-globulin or the poly (A) signal of the SV40 virus. In early studies of DNA vaccines it was found that the negative result studies would go into the category of future developmental research projects in gene therapy. During the studies of poly (A) signaling of the SV40 for WNV vaccines, it was observed that WNV will lie dormant in individuals who were exposed to chicken pox, thus upon exposure to WNV aerial vaccines the potential for the release of chicken pox virus would cause a greater risk to having adult onset Shingles. CALIFORNIA AERIAL SPRAYING for WNV and SV40 In February 2009 to present date, aerial spraying for the WNV occurred in major cities within the State of California. During spraying of Anaheim, CA a Caucasian female (age 50) was exposed to heavy spraying, while doing her daily exercise of walking several miles. Heavy helicopter activity occurred for several days in this area. After spraying, she experienced light headedness, nausea, muscle aches and increased low back pain. She was evaluated for toxicological mechanisms that were associated with pesticide exposure due to aerial spraying utilizing advanced biological monitoring testing. The test results which included protein band testing utilizing Protein Coupled Response (PCR) methods were positive for KD-45. KD-45 is the protein band for SV-40 Simian Green Monkey virus. Additional tests were performed for Epstein-Barr virus

She was evaluated for toxicological mechanisms that were associated with pesticide exposure due to aerial spraying utilizing advanced biological monitoring testing. The test results which included protein band testing utilizing Protein Coupled Response (PCR) methods were positive for KD-45. KD-45 is the protein band for SV-40 Simian Green Monkey virus. Additional tests were performed for Epstein-Barr virus capside and Cytomeglia virus which are used in bioengineering for gene delivery systems through viral protein envelope and adenoviral protein envelope technology. The individual was positive for both; indicating a highly probable exposure to a DNA vaccination delivery system through nasal inhalation. The question of the century is how many other viruses and toxins are within current day vaccines that we’ll only find out about in a few decades?

A Greater Perspective on Aerial Spraying and SV40 The Defense Sciences Office of the Pathogen Countermeasures Program, in September 23, 1998 funded the University of Michigan’s principal investigator, Dr. James Baker, Jr. Dr. Baker, Director of Michigan Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and Biological Sciences under several DARPA grants. Dr. Baker developed and focused on preventing pathogens from entering the human body, which is a major goal in the development of counter measures to Biological Warfare.

This research project sought to develop a composite material that will serve as a pathogen avoidance barrier and post-exposure therapeutic agent to be applied in a topical manner to the skin and mucous membranes. The composite is modeled after the immune system in that it involves redundant, non-specific and specific forms of pathogen defense and inactivation. This composite material is now utilized in many nasal vaccines and vector control through the use of hydro-gel, nanosilicon gels and actuator materials in vaccines. Through Dr. Baker’s research at the University of Michigan; he developed dendritic polymers and their application to medical and biological science. He co-developed a new vector system for gene transfer using synthetic polymers. These studies have produced striking results and have the potential to change the basis of gene transfer therapy. Dendrimers are nanometer-sized water soluble polymers that can conjugate to peptides or arbohydrates to act as decoy molecules to inhibit the binding of toxins and viruses to cells.

They can act also as complex and stabilize genetic material for prolonged periods of time, as in a “time released or delayed gene transfer”. Through Dr. Baker’s ground breaking research many pharmaceutical and biological pesticide manufacturers can use these principles in DNA vaccines specific applications that incorporate the Simian Monkey Virus SV40. WEST NILE VIRUS SPRAYING In 2006 Michael Greenwood wrote an article for the Yale School of Public Health entitled, “Aerial Spraying Effectively Reduces Incidence of West Nile Virus (WNV) in Humans.” The article stated that the incidence of human West Nile virus cases can be significantly reduced through large scale aerial spraying that targets adult mosquitoes, according to research by the Yale School of Public Health and the California Department of Public Health.

Under the mandate for aerial spraying for specific vectors that pose a threat to human health, aerial vaccines known as DNA Vaccine Enhancements and Recombinant Vaccine against WNV may be tested or used to “protect” the people from vector infection exposures. DNA vaccine enhancements specifically use Epstein-Barr viral capside’s with multi human complement class II activators to neutralize antibodies. The recombinant vaccines against WNV use Rabbit Beta-globulin or the poly (A) signal of the SV40 virus. In early studies of DNA vaccines it was found that the negative result studies would go into the category of future developmental research projects in gene therapy. During the studies of poly (A) signaling of the SV40 for WNV vaccines, it was observed that WNV will lie dormant in individuals who were exposed to chicken pox, thus upon exposure to WNV aerial vaccines the potential for the release of chicken pox virus would cause a greater risk to having adult onset Shingles. CALIFORNIA AERIAL SPRAYING for WNV and SV40 In February 2009 to present date, aerial spraying for the WNV occurred in major cities within the State of California.

During spraying of Anaheim, CA a Caucasian female (age 50) was exposed to heavy spraying, while doing her daily exercise of walking several miles. Heavy helicopter activity occurred for several days in this area. After spraying, she experienced light headedness, nausea, muscle aches and increased low back pain. She was evaluated for toxicological mechanisms that were associated with pesticide exposure due to aerial spraying utilizing advanced biological monitoring testing. The test results which included protein band testing utilizing Protein Coupled Response (PCR) methods were positive for KD-45. KD-45 is the protein band for SV-40 Simian Green Monkey virus. Additional tests were performed for Epstein-Barr virus capside and Cytomeglia virus which are used in bioengineering for gene delivery systems through viral protein envelope and adenoviral protein envelope technology. The individual was positive for both; indicating a highly probable exposure to a DNA vaccination delivery system through nasal inhalation. The question of the century is how many other viruses and toxins are within current day vaccines that we’ll only find out about in a few decades?

Source:http://www.whydontyoutrythis.com

Untreatable Antibiotic-Resistant Strains of Gonorrhoea Are Going Global


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a warning over the rise of resistant strains of the infectious bacteria responsible for gonorrhoea.

Superbugs are bad news at the best of times, but with little on the horizon by way of potential treatments for this common sexually transmitted infection (STI), we could very well be rewinding the clock on venereal disease.

 

The warning follows the discovery of several patients in France, Japan, and Spain who harboured strains of Neisseria gonorrhoeae that wouldn’t respond to any antibiotics.

WHO medical officer Teodora Wi predicts there are plenty more to come.

“These cases may just be the tip of the iceberg, since systems to diagnose and report untreatable infections are lacking in lower-income countries where gonorrhoea is actually more common,” says Wi.

Gonorrhoea is one of the most common pathogens passed around through sexual contact, largely thanks to the fact it’s often asymptomatic, meaning people often don’t even know they have the bacteria.

Decreased use of condoms and a rise in travel also contribute greatly to its spread, with an estimated 78 million people infected annually.

The bacteria not only infect the genitals of men and women, but can be found in the tissues of the throat and rectum as well, and lead to complications including infertility and increased susceptibility to catching HIV.

Since the 1930s, bacterial STIs such as gonorrhoea, chlamydia, and syphilis have been treated with a simple course of antibiotics.

“The best time to have had gonorrhoea was the eighties, since there were many drugs to treat it with,” US director of the Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy Ramanan Laxminarayan told Nature.

While non-symptomatic cases go untreated, in the absence of an on-the-spot diagnosis kit, doctors also have a tendency to assume STI based on reported symptoms alone, prescribing antibiotics regardless of the presence of infection.

The decades since have seen an increasing number of so-called superbugs – bacteria that have acquired a resistance to numerous antibiotics.

New research has found widespread resistance to several types of antibiotics commonly prescribed for gonorrhoea.

All but 3 percent of countries surveyed between 2009 and 2014 reported Neisseria gonorrhoeae with a resistance to a common and inexpensive antibiotic called ciprofloxacin. About 66 percent of countries reported resistance to a last-resort group of antibiotics called extended-spectrum cephalosporins (ESCs).

 That’s seriously bad news, since in many countries ESCs are the only option left for treating gonorrhoea.

If we’re hoping for a miracle cure to pop up soon, we’ll be disappointed. There’s nothing much in the pipeline, with only 3 candidates being tested – one at the end of a phase 3 trial, and two that have just completed phase 2 trials.

The WHO has been vocal in the past about the reluctance of commercial companies to invest in pharmaceuticals where there is little hope of profit.

Following the 2014 outbreak of Ebola, an epidemic which claimed around 5000 lives, WHO director general Margaret Chan cited profit as the reason vaccines were slow in being developed.

“A profit-driven industry does not invest in products that cannot pay,” said Chan.

Similarly, antibiotics aren’t always appealing candidates for commercial pharmaceutical companies, since – somewhat ironically – bacteria can develop a resistance to them.

The WHO has joined forces with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative to launch the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership in order to address this dire issue.

“In the short term, we aim to accelerate the development and introduction of at least one of these pipeline drugs, and will evaluate the possible development of combination treatments for public health use,” says the partnership director Dr Manica Balasegaram.

Even if we develop more accurate and rapid diagnostic techniques and new antibiotics, prevention is far better than any cure.

There’s Now Very Strong Evidence We Really Are Killing Our Bees


Two industry-funded studies have finally provided sound evidence that vastly popular pesticides called neonicotinoids are horrible for the pollinators that keep our food production system running.

We’ve suspected for a while that these pesticides might be affecting bees, but it’s a tricky subject to study in the lab, where bees might be given unrealistically high doses of pesticide. Now scientists have conducted the largest-ever field trials in Europe and Canada, and the news is bad.

 

Neonicotinoids are the most widely used class of insecticides in the world. They are chemically similar to nicotine, the compound that plants in the nightshade family have evolved to protect themselves from pests.

Invented in the 1980s, neonicotinoids quickly became a popular crop treatment because they are systemic, which means they circulate through the whole plant and kill bugs as soon as they feast on the crop. And because they linger in the plant’s system, one application – sometimes just on the seeds – can be plenty to offer long-term protection.

But these attractive properties for farmers are what makes neonicotinoids such a concern for bee welfare, because a systemic insecticide easily makes its way to the nectar and pollen of a flowering plant.

To measure this potential harm, a team of European researchers established 33 sites growing rapeseed in Germany, Hungary and the UK. These were randomly assigned to either be treated with one of two choice nicotinoids, or none at all.

The team looked at honeybees and two wild bee species – bumblebees and solitary bees. Results differed between locations and species, but overall they discovered that honeybee hives were less likely to survive over winter, while the wild bees reproduced less.

It’s not that the pesticides directly kill bees, the scientists note. Instead, it appears that low-level exposure makes them more vulnerable, especially if there are other environmental factors or diseases already affecting the hive.

 “Neonicotinoid applications are thus a kind of reproductive roulette for bees,” biodiversity researcher Jeremy Kerr notes in a related perspectives article in Science.

The huge study was actually largely funded by the pesticide industry itself. The companies Bayer Crop Science and Syngenta put up US$3 million for the trial, and both have panned the scientists’ conclusions that it would be better to restrict neonicotinoid use.

But these are important results nonetheless, and are likely to inform the European Union’s upcoming decision on a potential blanket ban of these pesticides. A temporary ban has already been in place since 2013.

“Our results suggest that even if their use were to be restricted, as in the recent EU moratorium, continued exposure to neonicotinoid residues resulting from their previous widespread use has the potential to impact negatively wild bee persistence in agricultural landscapes,” the researchers write in the study.

And that’s not even all.

Another field study by researchers in Canada was published in the same issue ofScience, also showing negative effects on bees.

The team studied honey bees that either lived close to neonicotinoid-treated corn fields, or far away from agriculture. The results suggested that chronically exposed bees had lower life expectancies and poorer hygiene conditions in the hive.

Additionally, they also discovered that bees collected pollen tainted with the pesticides, but this pollen didn’t even come from the treated crops themselves.

“This indicates that neonicotinoids, which are water soluble, spill over from agricultural fields into the surrounding environment, where they are taken up by other plants that are very attractive to bees,” says one of the researchers, Nadia Tsvetkov.

The work done by both teams goes a long way to demonstrate that we really are contributing to the worldwide bee decline, way more dramatically than we’d like to admit.

“It’s reached a point where it’s just not plausible to keep denying these things harm bees in realistic studies,” bee researcher Dave Goulson from the University of Sussex told Daniel Cressey at Nature News.

“I’d say it’s the final nail in the coffin.”

CHEMICAL FROM PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES FOUND THROUGHOUT OCEANS


2191292080_c382f25d97_b

Although plastic has long been considered indestructible, some scientists say toxic chemicals from decomposing plastics may be leaching into the sea and harming marine ecosystems.

Contrary to the commonly held belief that plastic takes 500 to 1,000 years to decompose, researchers now report that some types of plastic begin to break down in the ocean within one year, releasing potentially toxic bisphenol A (BPA) and other chemicals into the water.

“Plastics in daily use are generally assumed to be quite stable,” chemist Katsuhiko Saido of Nihon University in Japan said in a press release. “We found that plastic in the ocean actually decomposes as it is exposed to the rain and sun and other environmental conditions, giving rise to yet another source of global contamination that will continue into the future.” Saido presented the work Wednesday at the American Chemical Society meeting in Washington, D.C.

Several noxious plastic byproducts, including BPA and a substance called styrene trimer, have been detected in small quantities in the ocean, but Saido says this is the first time anyone has shown a direct connection between decomposing plastic and the hazardous chemicals. Both BPA and components of styrene trimer have been shown to disrupt hormone function and cause reproductive problems in animals.

 The Japanese researchers devised a method to simulate the breakdown of a hard plastic called polystyrene at 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) in the lab, and they compared the chemical byproducts from their experiment with what they found in water and sand from the Pacific Ocean. Based on the speed of plastic decomposition and the amount of drift plastic found along the coasts of Japan, the scientists concluded that noxious chemicals in the water are probably coming from the breakdown of polystyrene, which is used to make Styrofoam.
 But not all researchers are convinced the lab experiment accurately reflects what’s going on in the ocean. “Polystyrene is actually heavier than seawater, so before it ever chemically breaks down or degrades, it may be sinking to the bottom,” said ocean researcher Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, who was not involved in the study. Because temperatures are much lower at the bottom of the ocean and there’s very little light to cause photodegredation, Moore said it’s unlikely that the plastic would break down once it sunk.

“Food doesn’t even biodegrade at the bottom of the ocean,” he said. “There is so little activity going on down there.” In addition, Moore said ocean temperatures across most of the world are much lower than the 30 degrees Celsius the researchers used in their lab simulation.

Even if polystyrene breaks down in some regions of the ocean, pollution expert Joel Baker of the University of Washington questions whether the amount of chemicals released would be significant compared to the vast size of the ocean itself. “There’s a little bit of hyperbole going on here,” Baker said. “There’s no question that there’s too much plastic in the ocean, and we should try to reduce that. But whether it’s an important source of chemicals for the ocean is much less clear.”

But regardless of whether its chemicals leach into the water, the sheer volume of plastic floating in the sea makes it a major polluter, Moore said. Discarded plastic junk makes its way from gutters and storm drains into rivers and streams, and eventually flows into the ocean, where it gets trapped by currents and creates vast regions of plastic soup. On a voyage back from Hawaii in 1997, Moore discovered a floating island of garbage larger than the state of Texas, which has since been dubbed “The Great Garbage Patch.”

Plastic poses the biggest threat to marine animals that confuse garbage with dinner and end up digesting large quantities of polystyrene. Even if polystyrene isn’t decomposing in the water, Moore said it could be breaking down in the digestive tracts of fish and marine mammals. “Every size of organism,” he said, “every creature in the food web in the ocean, from the smallest filter feeders to the largest whales, is consuming plastic.”

Inside a Killer Drug Epidemic: A Look at America’s Opioid Crisis


The opioid epidemic killed more than 33,000 people in 2015. What follows are stories of a national affliction that has swept the country, from cities on the West Coast to bedroom communities in the Northeast.

Opioid addiction is America’s 50-state epidemic. It courses along Interstate highways in the form of cheap smuggled heroin, and flows out of “pill mill” clinics where pain medicine is handed out like candy. It has ripped through New England towns, where people overdose in the aisles of dollar stores, and it has ravaged coal country, where addicts speed-dial the sole doctor in town licensed to prescribe a medication.

Public health officials have called the current opioid epidemic the worst drug crisis in American history, killing more than 33,000 people in 2015. Overdose deaths were nearly equal to the number of deaths from car crashes. In 2015, for the first time, deaths from heroin alone surpassed gun homicides.

And there’s no sign it’s letting up, a team of New York Times reporters found as they examined the epidemic on the ground in states across the country. From New England to “safe injection” areas in the Pacific Northwest, communities are searching for a way out of a problem that can feel inescapable.

 

Drug Deaths in America Are Rising Faster Than Ever


The death count is the latest consequence of an escalating public health crisis: opioid addiction, now made more deadly by an influx of illicitly manufactured fentanyl and similar drugs. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50.

Although the data is preliminary, the Times’s best estimate is that deaths rose 19 percent over the 52,404 recorded in 2015. And all evidence suggests the problem has continued to worsen in 2017.

 

Drug overdose deaths, 1980 to 2016
59,000 to65,000 peopledied from drugoverdoses in theU.S. in 2016*59,000 to65,000 peopledied from drugoverdoses in theU.S. in 2016*1980’85’90’95’00’05’10’1520,00030,00040,00050,00060,000Peak car crashdeaths (1972)Peak gundeaths (1993)Peak H.I.V.deaths (1995)10,000 deathsper year10,000 deathsper year
*Estimate based on preliminary data

Because drug deaths take a long time to certify, the Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention will not be able to calculate final numbers until December. The Times compiled estimates for 2016 from hundreds of state health departments and county coroners and medical examiners. Together they represent data from states and counties that accounted for 76 percent of overdose deaths in 2015. They are a first look at the extent of the drug overdose epidemic last year, a detailed accounting of a modern plague.

The initial data points to large increases in drug overdose deaths in states along the East Coast, particularly Maryland, Florida, Pennsylvania and Maine. In Ohio, which filed a lawsuit last week accusing five drug companies of abetting the opioid epidemic, we estimate overdose deaths increased by more than 25 percent in 2016.

“Heroin is the devil’s drug, man. It is,” Cliff Parker said, sitting on a bench in Grace Park in Akron. Mr. Parker, 24, graduated from high school not too far from here, in nearby Copley, where he was a multisport athlete. In his senior year, he was a varsity wrestler and earned a scholarship to the University of Akron. Like his friends and teammates, he started using prescription painkillers at parties. It was fun, he said. By the time it stopped being fun, it was too late. Pills soon turned to heroin, and his life began slipping away from him.

ADVERTISEMENT

Mr. Parker’s story is familiar in the Akron area. From a distance, it would be easy to paint Akron — “Rubber Capital of the World” — as a stereotypical example of Rust Belt decay. But that’s far from a complete picture. While manufacturing jobs have declined and the recovery from the 2008 recession has been slow, unemployment in Summit County, where Akron sits, is roughly in line with the United States as a whole. The Goodyear factories have been retooled into technology centers for research and polymer science. The city has begun to rebuild. But deaths from drug overdose here have skyrocketed.

In 2016, Summit County had 312 drug deaths, according to Gary Guenther, the county medical examiner’s chief investigator — a 46 percent increase from 2015 and more than triple the 99 cases that went through the medical examiner’s office just two years before. There were so many last year, Mr. Guenther said, that on three separate occasions the county had to request refrigerated trailers to store the bodies because they’d run out of space in the morgue.

It’s not unique to Akron. Coroners’ offices throughout the state are being overwhelmed.

 

Drug overdose deaths in six Ohio counties, 2010 to 2017
’10’1720040060011130Warren Co.Warren Co.
’10’1761268ButlerButler
’10’1775290SummitSummit
’10’17154543HamiltonHamilton
’10’17267775CuyahogaCuyahoga
’10’17127800MontgomeryMontgomery
Totals for 2017 assume that overdose deaths continue at the same rate through the remainder of the year.Source: Butler County Coroner’s Office; Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office; Hamilton County Coroner; Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Service; Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office; Summit County Department of the Medical Examiner

In some Ohio counties, deaths from heroin have virtually disappeared. Instead, the culprit is fentanyl or one of its many analogues. In Montgomery County, home to Dayton, of the 100 drug overdose deaths recorded in January and February, only three people tested positive for heroin; 99 tested positive for fentanyl or an analogue.

Fentanyl isn’t new. But over the past three years, it has been popping up in drug seizures across the country.

Drug seizures containing fentanyl
’01’02’03’04’05’06’07’08’09’10’11’12’13’14’15’165,00010,00015,00020,00025,00030,000A 2006 spike was tracedto a single lab in MexicoFentanyl reportsdoubled in 2016
Source: D.E.A. National Forensic Laboratory Information System

Most of the time, it’s sold on the street as heroin, or drug traffickers use it to make cheap counterfeit prescription opioids. Fentanyls are showing up in cocaine as well, contributing to an increase in cocaine-related overdoses.

The most deadly of the fentanyl analogues is carfentanil, an elephant tranquilizer 5,000 times stronger than heroin. An amount smaller than a few grains of salt can be a lethal dose.

“July 5th, 2016 — that’s the day carfentanilhit the streets of Akron,” said Capt. Michael Shearer, the commander of the Narcotics Unit for the Akron Police Department. On that day, 17 people overdosed and one person died in a span of nine hours. Over the next six months, the county medical examiner recorded 140 overdose deaths of people testing positive for carfentanil. Just three years earlier, there were fewer than a hundred drug overdose deaths of any kind for the entire year.

This exponential growth in overdose deaths in 2016 didn’t extend to all parts of the country. In some states in the western half of the U.S., our data suggests deaths may have leveled off or even declined. According to Dr. Dan Ciccarone, a professor of family and community medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and an expert in heroin use in the United States, this geographic variation may reflect a historical divide in the nation’s heroin market between the powdered heroin generally found east of the Mississippi River and the Mexican black tar heroin found to the west.

This divide may have kept deaths down in the West for now, but according to Dr. Ciccarone, there is little evidence of differences in the severity of opioid addiction or heroin use. If drug traffickers begin to shift production and distribution in the West from black tar to powdered heroin in large quantities, fentanyl will most likely come along with it, and deaths will rise.

 

Drug overdose deaths in Philadelphia and San Francisco
Drug overdose deaths since 1980 have surged in Philadelphia despite a shrinking population; most heroin there is powdered. They have remained relatively flat in San Francisco, where most heroin is black tar.
1980’85’90’95’00’05’10’15100200300400500San FranciscoSan FranciscoPhiladelphiaPhiladelphia
Source: C.D.C. WONDER

First responders are finding that, with fentanyl and carfentanil, the overdoses can be so severe that multiple doses of naloxone — the anti-overdose medication that often goes by the brand name Narcan — are needed to pull people out. In Warren County in Ohio, Doyle Burke, the chief investigator at the county coroner’s office, has been watching the number of drug deaths rise as the effectiveness of Narcan falls. “E.M.S. crews are hitting them with 12, 13, 14 hits of Narcan with no effect,” said Mr. Burke, likening a shot of Narcan to “a squirt gun in a house fire.”

Early data from 2017 suggests that drug overdose deaths will continue to rise this year. It’s the only aspect of American health, said Dr. Tom Frieden, the former director of the C.D.C., that is getting significantly worse. Over two million Americans are estimated to be dependent on opioids, and an additional 95 million used prescription painkillers in the past year — more than used tobacco. “This epidemic, it’s got no face,” said Chris Eisele, the president of the Warren County Fire Chiefs’ Association and fire chief of Deerfield Township. The Narcotics Anonymous meetings here are populated by lawyers, accountants, young adults and teenagers who described comfortable middle-class upbringings.

Back in Akron, Mr. Parker has been clean for seven months, though he is still living on the streets. The ground of the park is littered with discarded needles, and many among the homeless here are current or former heroin users. Like most recovering from addiction, Mr. Parker needed several tries to get clean — six, by his count. The severity of opioid withdrawal means users rarely get clean unless they are determined and have treatment readily available. “No one wants their family to find them face down with a needle in their arm,” Mr. Parker said. “But no one stops until they’re ready.”

About the data

Our count of drug overdoses for 2016 is an estimate. A precise number of drug overdose deaths will not be available until December.

As the chief of the Mortality Statistics Branch of the National Center for Health Statistics at the C.D.C., Robert Anderson oversees the collection and codification of the nation’s mortality data. He noted that toxicology results, which are necessary to assign a cause of death, can take three to six months or longer. “It’s frustrating, because we really do want to track this stuff,” he said, describing how timely data on cause of death would let public health workers allocate resources in the right places.

 

To come up with our count, we contacted state health departments in all 50 states, in addition to the District of Columbia, asking for their statistics on drug overdose deaths among residents. In states that didn’t have numbers available, we turned to county medical examiners and coroners’ offices. In some cases, partial results were extrapolated through the end of the year to get estimates for 2016.

While noting the difficulty of making predictions, Mr. Anderson reviewed The Times’s estimates and said they seemed reasonable. The overdose death rate reported by the N.C.H.S. provisional estimates for the first half of 2016 would imply a total of 59,779 overdose deaths, if the death rate remains flat through the second half of the year. Based on our reporting, we believe this rate increased.

 

While the process in each state varies slightly, death certificates are usually first filled out by a coroner, medical examiner or attending physician. These death certificates are then collected by state health departments and sent to the N.C.H.S., which assigns what’s called an ICD-10 code to each death. This code specifies the underlying cause of death, and it’s what determines whether a death is classified as a drug overdose.

Sometimes, the cases are straightforward; other times, it’s not so easy. The people in charge of coding each death — called nosologists — have to differentiate between deaths due to drug overdose and those due to the long-term effects of drug abuse, which get a different code. (There were 2,573 such deaths in 2015.) When alcohol and drugs are both present, they must specify which of the two was the underlying cause. If it’s alcohol, it’s not a “drug overdose” under the commonly used definition. Ideally, every medical examiner, coroner and attending physician would fill out death certificates with perfect consistency, but there are often variations from jurisdiction to jurisdiction that can introduce inconsistencies to the data.

These inconsistencies are part of the reason there is a delay in drug death reporting, and among the reasons we can still only estimate the number of drug overdoses in 2016. Since we compiled our data from state health departments and county coroners and medical examiners directly, the deaths have not yet been assigned ICD-10 codes by the N.C.H.S. — that is, the official underlying cause of death has not yet been categorized. In addition, the mortality data in official statistics focuses on deaths among residents. But county coroners typically count up whichever deaths come through their office, regardless of residency. When there were large discrepancies between the 2015 counts from the C.D.C. and the state or county, we used the percent change from 2015 to calculate our 2016 estimate.

We can say with confidence that drug deaths rose a great deal in 2016, but it is hard to say precisely how many died or in which places drug deaths rose most steeply. Because of the delay associated with toxicology reports and inconsistencies in the reported data, our exact estimate — 62,497 total drug overdose deaths — could vary from the true number by several thousand.

Prescription painkiller tramadol ‘claiming more lives than any other drug’


For many, when given a prescription the assumption is that the drug they’re taking is safe. In the case of prescription painkiller Tramadol, however, that could hardly be further from the truth.

In fact, according to some experts, it may be claiming more lives than any other drug – including cocaine and heroine.

For instance, last year Tramadol was responsible for 33 deaths in Northern Ireland – including both a 16-year-old girl and a pensioner in his 70’s.

Tramadol is just one of many opiate-based painkillers on the market, and is illegal without a prescription. Like many other opiates, however, it’s easy for people to get hooked, and it’s becoming more widely available on the black market.

Rule-makers around the world are worried about what may happen as Tramadol becomes more widely available. Having seen the opiate crisis in the United States and elsewhere, it seems with good reason.

“I don’t think that people realise how potentially risky taking tramadol is.

I think it’s because it’s a prescription drug – people assume it’s safe.” – PROFESSOR JACK CRANE, STATE PATHOLOGIST FOR NI

The opiate-based drug used to treat moderate or severe pain should only be available on prescription – it was reclassified in 2014 making it an illegal Class C drug without prescription.

But anti-drug campaigners say more and more people are turning to the black market.

Professor Jack Crane has spoken out to say he fears more people will die unless urgent action is taken and he is calling for a crackdown on the illegal market.

He wants tramadol to be upgraded again, this time to Class A.

Professor Crane is now set to meet Northern Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer later this month to push for change.