British study’s claim 10 million people a year could die because of …

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Dec 19, 2016 in Rat News | Subscribe

An official estimate of deaths expected to be caused annually by antimicrobial resistance – cited by the United Nations and world leaders – is “unreliable” and undermines the fight against superbugs, a group scientists has warned.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) arises when micro-organisms that cause an infection survive medicine that is intended to kill them or stop their growth.

A figure of “10 million” deaths a year has been widely used to illustrate the dangers of not taking action on AMR, but leading scientists now say it is based on incomplete data and flawed assumptions.

The number first appeared in 2014, in the initial report of the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance – a body set up by former Prime Minister David Cameron and headed by the economist Lord Jim O’Neill.

The aim of the AMR Review was to analyse the potential impact to human health of growing resistance to antibiotics and antivirals.

It warned that without urgent action, by 2050 a further 10 million people around the world would lose their lives to drug-resistant infections – a figure that has been cited for the past two years by media organisations, politicians, the UN, the European Commission, the World Health Organisation, the G7, and many others. 

The number also has prompted headlines warning of an “antibiotic apocalypse”, in which superbugs would “kill more than cancer” – and a world that’s on the cusp of a “post-antibiotic era”.

Now scientists, led by Marlieke de Kraker at the HUG (Geneva University Hospitals), say that while the dangers of the overuse of antibiotics are undisputed, the 2014 death toll estimate does not stand up to scientific scrutiny.

In a peer-reviewed article, published in the scientific journal PLOS Medicine, the researchers acknowledge that action is required to fight antibiotic resistance, but recommend that “estimates for such an important, ‘hot’ topic should undergo scrutiny by independent experts before being made publicly available”.

“We contend that unreliable global estimates like those provided in the AMR Review potentially undermine, rather than support, the fight against a post-antibiotic era,” the study’s authors conclude.

Their findings – revealed today by The Independent – are being covered by the German non-profit news website correctiv.org as part of its long-running investigation into superbugs and the threat they pose to public health.

Speaking to correctiv.org, Ms de Kraker said her article had been well-received by the scientific community – many had long doubted the figure and are reportedly glad it has finally been disputed.

Petra Gastmeier, director of the Institute of Hygiene and Environmental Medicine at the Charité University Hospital in Berlin – not involved in the study – agreed with its conclusions, saying “the authors have shown the mistakes of the British study step-by-step”.

But neither scientist would provide their own estimates, saying there were too many uncertainties and not enough data.

  • 1/25

    Most child antidepressants are ineffective and can lead to suicidal thoughts

    The majority of antidepressants are ineffective and may be unsafe, for children and teenager with major depression, experts have warned. In what is the most comprehensive comparison of 14 commonly prescribed antidepressant drugs to date, researchers found that only one brand was more effective at relieving symptoms of depression than a placebo. Another popular drug, venlafaxine, was shown increase the risk users engaging in suicidal thoughts and attempts at suicide

    Getty

  • 2/25

    ‘Universal cancer vaccine’ breakthrough claimed by experts

    Scientists have taken a “very positive step” towards creating a universal vaccine against cancer that makes the body’s immune system attack tumours as if they were a virus, experts have said. Writing in Nature, an international team of researchers described how they had taken pieces of cancer’s genetic RNA code, put them into tiny nanoparticles of fat and then injected the mixture into the bloodstreams of three patients in the advanced stages of the disease. The patients’ immune systems responded by producing “killer” T-cells designed to attack cancer. The vaccine was also found to be effective in fighting “aggressively growing” tumours in mice, according to researchers, who were led by Professor Ugur Sahin from Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany

    Rex

  • 3/25

    Green tea could be used to treat brain issues caused by Down’s Syndrome

    A compound found in green tea could improve the cognitive abilities of those with Down’s syndrome, a team of scientists has discovered. Researchers found epigallocatechin gallate – which is especially present in green tea but can also be found in white and black teas – combined with cognitive stimulation, improved visual memory and led to more adaptive behaviour. Dr Rafael de la Torre, who led the year-long clinical trial along with Dr Mara Dierrssen, said: “The results suggest that individuals who received treatment with the green tea compound, together with the cognitive stimulation protocol, had better scores in their cognitive capacities”

  • 4/25

    New online test predicts skin cancer risk

    Health experts have created a new online tool which can predict a person’s risk of developing a common form of skin cancer. The tool uses the results of a 10-question-quiz to estimate the chance of a person aged 40 or over of having non-melanoma skin cancers within three years. Factors including the age, gender, smoking status, skin colour, tanning ability, freckling tendency, and other aspects of medical history are covered by the quiz

  • 5/25

    Multiple Sclerosis stem cell treatment ‘helps patients walk again’

    A new treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) has enabled some patients to walk again by “rebooting” their immune systems. As part of a clinical trial at Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital involving around 20 patients, scientists used stem cells to carry out a bone marrow transplant. The method known as an autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) works by using chemotherapy to destroy the area of the immune system which causes MS

    Rex Features

  • 6/25

    Dementia patients left without painkillers and handcuffed to bed

    Dementia patients experience a ‘shocking’ variation in the quality of hospital care they receive across England, a charity has warned. Staff using excessive force and not giving dementia patients the correct pain medication were among the findings outlined in a new report by The Alzheimer’s Society, to coincide with the launch of Fix Dementia Care campaign

    Rex Features

  • 7/25

    Cancer risk ‘increased’ by drinking more than one glass of wine or pint of beer per day

    Drinking more than one glass of wine or pint of beer a day increases the risk of developing cancer, according to medical experts. New guidelines for alcohol consumption by the UK published by chief medical officers warn that drinking any level of alcohol has been linked to a range of different cancers. The evidence from the Committee on Carcinogenicity (COC) overturns the oft-held view that a glass of red wine can have significant medical benefits for both men and women

  • 8/25

    Vaping ‘no better’ than smoking regular cigarettes

    Vaping could be “no better” than smoking regular cigarettes and may be linked to cancer, scientists have found. The study which showed that vapour from e-cigarettes can damage or kill human cells was publsihed as the devices are to be rolled out by UK public health officials as an aid to quit smoking from 2016. An estimated 2.6 million people in the UK currently use e-cigarettes

  • 9/25

    Rat-bite fever

    A teenager was hospitalised and left unable to move after she developed the rare rat-bite fever disease from her pet rodents which lived in her bedroom. The teenager, who has not been named, was taken to hospital after she complained of a pain in her right hip and lower back which later made her immobile, according to the online medical journal BMJ Case Reports. She suffered for two weeks with an intermittent fever, nausea and vomiting and had a pink rash on her hands and feet. The teenager, who had numerous pets including a dog, cat, horse and three pet rats, has since made a full recovery after undergoing a course of antibiotics. Blood tests showed that she was infected with for streptobacillus moniliformis – the most common cause of rat-bite fever. One of her three pet rats lay dead in her room for three weeks before her symptoms showed

  • 10/25

    Taking antidepressants in pregnancy ‘could double the risk of autism in toddlers’

    Taking antidepressants during pregnancy could almost double the risk of a child being diagnosed with autism in the first years of life, a major study of nearly 150,000 pregnancies has suggested. Researchers have found a link between women in the later stages of pregnancy who were prescribed one of the most common types of antidepressant drugs, and autism diagnosed in children under seven years of age

  • 11/25

    Warning over Calpol

    Parents have been warned that giving children paracetamol-based medicines such as Calpol and Disprol too often could lead to serious health issues later in life. Leading paediatrician and professor of general paediatrics at University College London, Alastair Sutcliffe, said parents were overusing paracetamol to treat mild fevers. As a result, the risk of developing asthma, as well as kidney, heart and liver damage is heightened

  • 12/25

    Fat loss from pancreas ‘can reverse’ effects of type-2 diabetes

    Less than half a teaspoon of fat is all that it takes to turn someone into a type-2 diabetic according to a study that could overturn conventional wisdom on a disease affecting nearly 3 million people in Britain. Researchers have found it is not so much the overall body fat that is important in determining the onset of type-2 diabetes but the small amount of fat deposited in the pancreas, the endocrine organ responsible for insulin production

  • 13/25

    Potatoes reduce risk of stomach cancer

    Scientists have found people who eat large amounts of white vegetables were a third less likely to contract stomach cancer. The study, undertaken by Chinese scientists at Zhejiang University, found eating cauliflower, potatoes and onions reduces the chance of contracting stomach cancer but that beer, spirits, salt and preserved foods increased a person’s risk of the cancer

  • 14/25

    Connections between brain cells destroyed in early stages of Alzheimer’s disease

    Scientists have pinpointed how connections in the brain are destroyed in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, in a study which it is hoped will help in the development of treatments for the debilitating condition. At the early stages of the development of Alzheimer’s disease the synapses – which connect the neurons in the brain – are destroyed, according to researchers at the University of New South Wales, Australia. The synapses are vital for brain function, particularly learning and forming memories

  • 15/25

    Sugar tax

    The Government should introduce a sugar tax to prevent an “obesity crisis” from crippling the NHS, a senior Conservative MP and former health minister has said. Dr Dan Poulter believes that the case for increased taxes on unhealthy sugary products was “increasingly compelling”

    PA

  • 16/25

    Cancer breakthrough offers new hope for survivors rendered infertile by chemotherapy

    A potentially “phenomenal” scientific breakthrough has offered fresh hope to cancer patients rendered infertile by chemotherapy. For the first time, researchers managed to restore ovaries in mice affected by chemotherapy so that they were able to have offspring. The scientists now plan to begin clinical trials to see if the technique, which involves the use of stem cells, will also work in humans by using umbilical cord material and possibly stem cells taken from human embryos, if regulators agree

  • 17/25

    Take this NHS test to find out if you have a cancerous mole

    An interactive test could help flag up whether you should seek advice from a health professional for one of the most common types of cancer. The test is available on the NHS Choices website and reveals whether you are at risk from the disease and recommends if you should seek help. The mole self-assessment factors in elements such as complexion, the number of times you have been severely sunburnt and whether skin cancer runs in your family. It also quizzes you on the number of moles you have and whether there have been any changes in appearance regarding size, shape and colour

  • 18/25

    Health apps approved by NHS ‘may put users at risk of identity theft’

    Experts have warned that some apps do not adequately protect personal information

  • 19/25

    A watchdog has said that care visits must last longer

    The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said home help visits of less than 30 minutes were not acceptable unless part of a wider package of support

  • 20/25

    Pendle in Lancashire tops list of five most anxious places to live in the UK

    Pendle in Lancashire has been named the most anxious place to live in the UK, while people living in Fermanagh and Omagh in Northern Ireland have been found to be the happiest

  • 21/25

    Ketamine could be used as anti-depressant

    Researchers at the University of Auckland said monitoring the effects of the drug on the brain has revealed neural pathways that could aid the development of fast-acting medications.
    Ketamine is a synthetic compound used as an off anaesthetic and analgesic drug, but is commonly used illegally as a hallucinogenic party drug.
    Dr Suresh Muthukumaraswamy, a senior researcher at the university and a member of the institution’s Centre for Brain Research, used the latest technology in brain imaging to investigate what mechanisms ketamine uses to be active in the human brain

  • 22/25

    A prosthetic hand that lets people actually feel through

    The technology lets paralysed people feel actual sensations when touching objects — including light taps on the mechanical finger — and could be a huge breakthrough for prosthetics, according to its makers. The tool was used to let a 28-year-old man who has been paralysed for more than a decade. While prosthetics have previously been able to be controlled directly from the brain, it is the first time that signals have been successfully sent the other way

  • 23/25

    The biggest cause of early death in the world is what you eat

    Unhealthy eating has been named as the most common cause of premature death around the globe, new data has revealed. A poor diet – which involves eating too few vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains and too much red meat, salt and sugar – was shown to be a bigger killer than smoking and alcohol

  • 24/25

    Scientists develop blood test that estimates how quickly people age

    Scientists believe it could be used to predict a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as well as the “youthfulness” of donated organs for transplant operations. The test measures the vitality of certain genes which the researchers believe is an accurate indication of a person’s “biological age”, which may be younger or older than their actual chronological age

  • 25/25

    Aspirin could help boost therapies that fight cancer

    The latest therapies that fight cancer could work better when combined with aspirin, research has suggested. Scientists from the Francis Crick Institute in London say the anti-inflammatory pain killer suppresses a cancer molecule that allows tumours to evade the body’s immune defences.
    Laboratory tests have shown that skin, breast and bowel cancer cells often generate large amounts of this molecule, called prostaglandin E2 (PGE2).
    But Aspirin is one of a family of drugs that sends messages to the brain to block production of PGE2 and this means cancer cells can be attacked by the body’s natural defences

Lord O’Neill, who was the first minister to resign from Theresa May’s new Government – two days after presenting the Review’s findings to a major summit of the UN in New York – said the AMR Review no longer existed in a formal capacity, but was keen to comment on the new findings.

He said: “Two specialist forecasting organisations put these numbers together for us about the possible future consequences of inaction, and this work has helped spur huge momentum on AMR in the UK and internationally in the last two years, which continues.

“One of my Review’s 10 specific calls was for improved surveillance to get better data to continue to assess this huge health and economic threat so in that sense we agree on the need for better data.”

Consulting giant KPMG was one of the two forecasting organisations mentioned by Lord O’Neill. A KPMG spokesperson said: “Our own analysis was based on assumptions and the best data available at the time. Since then more data has become available and we are looking to update our estimates next year.”

When David Cameron commissioned the review in 2014, he warned that antibiotic resistance could lead to medical “dark ages”. He said it was one of the gravest crises the world faced.

Lord O’Neill, a former senior Goldman Sachs banker with a worldwide reputation as a top economist, was asked to head the review – and in 2015 he issued a call for urgent action.

But according to the PLOS Medicine study, Lord O’Neill’s AMR Review contained three main errors.

The scientists led by Marlieke de Kraker found the Review’s global deaths estimate not credible because it was based on incomplete data from the European Antimicrobial Resistance Network (EARS-Net)which records instances of infections in 895 European hospitals.

The new study argues this data is not representative of infections across Europe as a whole. This is because a third of the hospitals that report to EARS-Net are large specialist hospitals, whose patients will naturally be carrying more infections than patients in, for example, a smaller hospital or a GP’s surgery.

The AMR Review had extrapolated infections data from the 895 European hospitals to calculate the global number of infections, which the new study calls “a crude approach”.

Antibiotics.jpg

Suppose that 2,000 patients die from a resistant strain from a bug such as MRSA, and 1,000 patients with a treatable, non-resistant strain also die. It would be reasonable to assume the deadliness of the resistant bug is twice as high. It was precisely this assumption the Review made – according to Ms de Kraker’s team who contest it.

Charité University Hospital’s Petra Gastmeier explained that the two groups of patients were different. She said the MRSA deaths will be, on average, older – and therefore at a bigger risk of serious illness and death than those who are infected with the non-resistant bug.

The older people are, the more antibiotics they are likely to have taken – increasing the likelihood of them carrying resistant bugs, she added.

While infections with resistant bugs can result in death, the risk is probably lower than what the Review had assumed.

Based on these assumptions, the Review used a figure of 700,000 deaths a year from antimicrobial resistance as its baseline. And then, “based on [these] already uncertain… estimates”, the PLOS Medicine study suggests that the Review’s final error was assumptions about increasing infection rates in the future.

According to the study, there is already evidence that fewer people are dying from infections because of better medical care. The 10 million figure was calculated based on the AMR Review’s assumption that resistant bugs will become significantly more common and twice as infectious, and that the proportion of people who die from these infections will not change – even though, as the study points out, improvements in public health systems, especially in middle-income countries, mean that even now the number of people who die from such infections is getting smaller.  

While the study acknowledges that the Review did call for better data and better surveillance of infections, it also says that the Review did not clearly report “how existing uncertainties in each of the applied steps could affect their estimates.”

The scientists said: “The Review estimated that antimicrobial resistance could cause 10 million deaths a year by 2050. This estimate has become a familiar refrain. It has been quoted repeatedly by lay media, experts, and public health agencies. Frequently, only this specific, frightening conclusion is reproduced from the report, unaccompanied by caveats or confidence intervals… We contend that unreliable global estimates like those provided in the AMR Review potentially undermine, rather than support, the fight against a post-antibiotic era.”

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “The figures in Lord O’Neill’s report are predictions based on a number of assumptions about current and future trends. They serve as a warning as to what might happen if we don’t act now – and there is certainly consensus from experts across the world that the threat from antimicrobial resistance is very real.”

The authors of this article are journalists with correctiv.org, an independent, non-profit, investigative journalism centre in Germany. Correctiv.org is financed exclusively through donations and membership fees. To support the non-profit newsroom or become a member, see correctiv.org/en

  • More about:
  • superbugs
  • MRSA
  • Antibiotics
  • antibiotic resistance

Article source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/antimicrobial-resistance-superbugs-death-toll-new-study-flawed-assumptions-british-amr-review-david-a7481396.html

Tags: , , , , ,

Copyright © 2017 RatChatter All rights reserved.
RatChatter v1.0 theme from BuyNowShop.com.