Halesworth - Films/Festivals

Science Cafe: Microbes Fight Back – Nov 2017

Science Cafe MicrobesWe celebrated Laura Bowater becoming a Professor and with her came her new book ‘The Microbes Fight Back’. I was in charge of selling – we did 17 copies.

Dr David Johnston

A general medical practitioner, gave an overview from the front line. Enormous changes since he began to practice, 26 years ago: Life expectancy has increased by 5 years. Huge.

Who has never taken antibiotics? He asked a full audience at the Cut. Two had never taken them – one was his daughter Sophie – did he know something that we didn’t?

Limitations of antibiotics – don’t treat viruses and most bad bacteria the body own immune will fight off

1928 Flemming 1945 Penicillin.

50% of prescribed antibiotics thought to be unnecessary. 

World wide problem. France way more than the UK – may be due to private health care – if one doctors doesn’t another will. Denmark the least prescribed.

Why over prescribing?

  • Patient expectation, leave with a prescription
  • There is a risk in not prescribing – you may miss, and someone will die.
  • Huge benefits of antibiotics eg surgery  carries huge risk without antibiotics.

AND Agriculture – fish farming, etc greater than human usage. UK 5 times the amount of Denmark. Used to prevent rather than cure. US 80% of antibiotics used in livestock, used to boost growth.

No new Antibiotics since 1987. Why? No profit if private companies find one because of anti-biotic resistance.

But SOIL – there is hope.

So what are GP’s doing? Advising against, advising the natural life of a microbe, it should last about 4 days. etc. It is dropping off especially with broad spectrum antibiotics

Laura Bowater

More people died of infectious diseases 3rd world.
TB is returning after it was wiped in the 1920’s – London and poverty.
‘Escape Pathogens’
Water contains more antibiotics
Pipe line – 20 years from lab to clinic. Cost £20 billion.

Chloramphenicol – now restricted use for eye, because it was found to kill white blood cells

Answer – Government needs to develop not industry. 46 billion into European Space industry or the Hedron Colider why not antibiotics? Or do we wait until we start seeing people lacking limbs around?


Our immune system tougest against parasitical diseases. We don’t come into them. So it does not know what to do. Not aclimitized.

Giving hock worm to stimulate body immunity. The effects of parasitic worms  on the immune system is a recently emerging topic of study. The  tendency of many parasitic worms to pacify the host’s immune response  allows them to mollify some diseases, while worsening others.

In 1928 47% of deaths were due to infectious diseases

Crocodiles and Dragons

Blood from crocs, alligators and Komodo dragons can successfully destroy some strains of bacteria, including strains known to be resistant to antibiotics. The scientists think that these peptides could one day lead to medicines that would provide humans with the same antibiotic protection

Question Glyphosate-based herbicides are toxic and endocrine disruptors in human cell lines. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune effects in both humans and wildlife”

Bio drinks – jury is out, most killed by stomach acid. But Prebiotics – celery, high fibre, green veg, good.

An older woman ended with her family story. She was one of 3 sisters. Both her other sisters got TB. It wasn’t until she was much older that a doctor said she’d had TB and the scar tissue to proove it. But it had not expressed itself, as her immune system was stronger. All lived into their 80’s. I’ve 20 years to go then.

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