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Saturday, 4 October 2014

Herbal Help.

As most people who know me,  I have been carrying out a long term health check on myself, and others who are helping me in my quest.
From 2009 when I suffered a major heart attack which had I not been in the Hospital at the time I would have ended up in Carmountside graveyard for the rest of eternity.

I was given a huge wake up call to change my lifestyle if I wanted to see my grandchildren and great grandchildren grow up.
I took a course in Horticulture to occupy myself and found that there is more to plants than I realised particularly Herbs.
I also learned that there are many medicinal uses that plants can be used for a healthy living.

My medical history involved 14 years of agony and (at least twice yearly) weekly stays in Hospital with what was first diagnosed as Duodenal Ulcers, them Pancreatitis, and final diagnosis was Crone's disease.
I was put through camera's down the throat, up my rear end, Scans and poking and prodding for 14 years.

Also after my Heart Attack I was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia, and type 2 Diabetes,
I felt as though I was just around the corner from a wooden box, but I am not one to give in without a fight, I was not ready for the knackers yard yet.

So I got my head down and started my medical experiment.
First I studied Herbs and their medicinal properties.
That led me to "Weeds" and some of their amazing medicinal qualities.
Over a three year period I have mixed Herbs and weeds to try on myself, and not all were successful.

One mixture of totally organic Herbs had a startling effect on me.
I was finally diagnosed as definitely having Crones disease in the November of 2010.
I then did my research and came up with a plan to use four separate organic Herbs mixed in a formula of my own to try and combat this disease.

To my surprise by the time in March of 2011 I had a Barium meal scan showing that the Crones had (according to a Senior Hospital surgeon and her team that is documented) "burned itself out.
Since that date I have not had a attack or an stay in Hospital.

My next experiment on myself was to attack the other problems I was suffering from.
My general health was fairly poor, which sometimes left me feeling like an old man.
I needed a pick me up so went back to the drawing board.
Now I was already interested in growing fruit bushes, and was growing them.

I was particularly interested in the "Super-fruits" that were gaining in reputation.
Once again I went into Jeckle and Hyde mode and started mixing these to get the best results on my health.
I came up with a mixture of three of the "Super-fruits" which gave me a boost.

I started getting people to drink this juice and the results were quite astounding.
One person stated that "its made me feel like a new man".
Another, after using the mix has been able to get out of the house again.
All I tell people is that "it works for me, try it if it does not work then you lose nothing".
There are no chemicals involved I only use totally organic Herbs from professional registered sources.

If you feel you can benefit or you know someone who can just contact by e-mail  for further information.
Complete confidentiality is guaranteed.  


Friday, 12 September 2014


Current knowledge of Aronia melanocarpa as a medicinal plant.


Aronia melanocarpa, native to eastern North America, has become popular in Eastern Europe and Russia. Aronia melanocarpa fruits are one of the richest plant sources of phenolic substances, mainly anthocyanins--glycosides of cyanidin. Anthocyanins are water soluble pigments accounting for the dark blue and even black color of the fruits. Administered orally they can be absorbed as intact glycosides. Aronia melanocarpa fruit juice and anthocyanins derived from the fruits have been studied intensively for the last 15 years. Most of the effects of Aronia melanocarpa anthocyanins are due to their high antioxidative activity. Our investigations have demonstrated a remarkable hepatoprotective, a very good gastroprotective and a pronounced anti-inflammatory effect of Aronia melanocarpa fruit juice in rats as well as a bacteriostatic activity in vitro against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli and an antiviral activity against type A influenza virus. Research of other authors has demonstrated that Aronia melanocarpa anthocyanins can normalize the carbohydrate metabolism in diabetic patients and in streptozotocin-diabetic rats, have an in vitro antimutagenic activity and exhibit a distinct immunomodulatory activity in human lymphocyte cultures and in patients with breast cancer, suppress the growth of human HT-29 colon cancer cells, inhibit the N-nitrosamine formation in rats and decrease the toxicity and cumulation of cadmium in liver and kidneys. Currently, there are no data in literature about any unwanted and toxic effects of Aronia melanocarpa fruits, juice and extracts.

What are the benefits of goji berries?

The blue-red colours found in goji berries, blueberries, acai berries, cranberries, strawberries, and cherries are natural anti-oxidants which may help protect the body against oxidative damage.  In addition Goji berries contain complex starches called Lycium barbarum polysaccharides which may benefit the immune function, and may reduce fatigue associated with living at high altitude.
Antioxidants temper the destructive power of free radicals, substances occuring naturally in our body but if produced in excess accelerate cell damage and destruction. Chinese research has shown a standardised dose of goji berry extract given over a month-long trial helped boost levels of protective anti-oxidant liver enzymes, and reduced by-products of oxidative damage in the blood by almost 10%. It’s worth noting that although this research is promising, the test samples of goji berries were highly purified to contain a standard amount of the active ingredient, ‘Lycium barbarum polysaccharides’, which may not reflect the same content of goji berries bought at the healthfood shop or supermarket.
Goji berries also have compounds rich in vitamin A that may also confer health benefits. Vitamin A and its derivatives may protect against skin damage, help maintain night- vision, and benefit the immune system.
Some researchers suggest that goji berry extracts may improve mood, and protect against age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's, but there is no robust medical evidence to support these claims.
In summary, goji berries are a rich source of antioxidants with preliminary research showing some potential health benefits when taken in a standardised form - but there’s not enough sound evidence to recommend them solely for their health benefits.

Antioxidants are chemicals that are believed to help protect the body from the harmful effects of other chemicals called free radicals. These chemicals exist in the body's cells, but have been found to cause damage to the cells.
Antioxidants, including beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium are found mainly in fruit, nuts, grains and vegetables. Some people chose to take supplements as an additional source of antioxidants.
Antioxidants have been studied as helping to give some additional immunity against colds, as anti-ageing supplements and even as a protective effect against some cancers.
However, evidence about the protective health benefits of antioxidant supplements is mixed.
There is also some evidence that antioxidant supplements may be harmful in some cases.

Antioxidant evidence

A major review of high quality research about the health benefits of antioxidant supplements was carried out for the Cochrane Library in 2012. It found that overall,  people who took supplements were slightly more likely to die than people who weren't taking supplements. This applied to healthy people and those taking antioxidants who had health conditions.
The researchers concluded that there is not enough evidence to support people taking antioxidant supplements.
However, that doesn't mean eating food sources of antioxidants are bad for health or unlikely to be beneficial for health.
Whether it is antioxidants in fruit, veg and nuts, or other substances, a healthy balanced diet with 5-a-day portions of fruit and veg is recommended by the NHS.
Although certain foods have gained unofficial tags as 'superfoods', often because of their antioxidant content, most experts advise against eating too much of one kind of food in the hope of gaining health benefits from it. Instead, a healthy balance is usually preferred.

These are just a few facts surrounding the health giving qualities of Aronia and Goji berries and their benefits.
It delivers the hammer blow to the parts affected and also protects against further damage.
Terry Cope.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Health Tips

It is said that one of the major causes of Breast Cancer is the use of underarm chemical deodorants.
Use of these deodorants faults is they block the pores of the skin stopping toxins from being exuded from the body.
For safe underarm deodorants use coconut oil, as this lets the skin breathe.

For nutrient rich food use cook in the bag technique.
Sous-vide (boil in the bag) cooking means vegetables rich in anti oxidants keep their nutrients rather than allowing them to boil away.
Boiled vegetables lost twice as many anthocyanin's (immune building, and thought to help beat Cancer, and Heart Disease) as boil in the bag.
Bag cook in a saucepan at 87c for 50 minutes, or 91c for 30 minutes (below boiling).
This is because cooking sous-vide does not damage the cell walls as much.

The key to a longer healthier life is exercise and diet.
Excess weight creates problems the body cannot cope with.
Smoking and excessive drinking also create problems.
Less dead inactive processed food will also help.

You do not have to cut everything out just use common sense and moderation in your diet and lifestyle.
Check out what you are putting into your body and leave out too much of the bad stuff.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Increaseing Cancer Survival

We have to go to the facts to see just why we are losing the battle against disease's like Cancer, Diabetes, and Heart disease.
Firstly are living in an environment that is not conducive to the survival of Human Beings.
All around us there are pollutants in the soil, air and water.

Education is the key to beating Cancer, Diabetes, and Heart Disease.
It is a fact that despite all the resources, efforts, research and drugs we have not made any progress.
Since the 1970s these diseases have increased.
In America alone 1 in 2 men and 1in 2.5 have cancer, 12million and 8 million will die.
What we are doing to combat these diseases in "NOT WORKING".

Starting at the beginning, we are biochemical machines that require food that is nutritional, energy, and healing powers.
Yet we eat dead, inactive devitalised, and processed food and drink that have little or no value to the human body, and wonder why we become sick.
Food that is laced with sugar, Cancers favourite food.
Always remember it only takes one teaspoon of sugar to knock out the immune system for 4 hours.

We have become addicted to microwaved food that as had all the living enzymes (that our bodies need) killed
Healthy cells that contain Electricity, Oxygen and Nitrogen that microwaves eradicate most off.
This is besides research that states these machines are susceptible to leaking dangerous rays.

The land we have our food grown in is devoid of minerals after being soaked in chemicals to make food production greater, and make it grow.
It is a fact that the body needs certain elements to survive.
These are Magnesium, Zinc, Vitamins C and, D

                                     HOW TO AVOID AND BEAT CANCER.
To avoid Cancer, Diabetes and Heart Disease eat healthy food, including fresh veg and fruit from a trusted source
Make use of juicers to make juices that are sugar free, and fresh.
If you are using water "always use filtered water".
Keep away from Dead, devitalised, inactive, and processed food as much as possible.

A diagnoses of Cancer does not immediately mean death.
It should be a warning to alter immediately your diet in order to stop the Cancer in its tracks, in order to fight to destroy it.
The problem is that even in some Hospitals the food is not complimentary to fighting this disease.

Here are some of the foods that help the body to fight off disease and build the immune system strong enough to beat anything thrown at it.
Broccoli, Onions, Garlic, Cabbage, Ginger, and many other fresh vegetables.
Fruits high in anti-oxidants, and anti-thyocins, including Goji Berries, Black berries, Blue Berries and top of the heap Aronia Berries all of which contain high amounts of anti-oxidants that fight Cancer, Heart Disease, and Diabetes.

There is also green teas, and the world famous ESSIAC tea that has had incredible results on Cancer patients.
Information and products involving ESSIAC tea (powder or liquid) can be found through

There is one final ingredient  to the mix and that is FAITH.
It has been my opinion that the main destructive path is giving up on believing that these are beatable diseases.
In fact at the moment I am look at a claim that Type 2 Diabetes can be beaten in 3 to five days purely by a strict special diet.
 Try this healthy energy boosting drink and let me know what you think.
A glass of hot water.
A slice of Lemon.
Honey to taste.
A slice of Ginger.
A sprig of Mint.
Allow to cool down before drinking.

Terry Cope


Sunday, 23 February 2014

Things to come?

Too much of a good thing

Antibiotics have transformed human health and saved millions of lives. Now, as a result of overuse, they are no longer working. The golden age of medicine has come to an end
eedwood House Farm is easy to miss. Only a small sign - the bright pink image of a pig - suspended from a fence post hints at anything of significance down the one-way track that leads off the main road. After a few hundred metres of bouncing over mud and gravel, it is the pungent smell that smacks you first. Then, the sound; the squealing, grunting and growls of 5,000 pigs crammed into this corner of rural Staffordshire.
A hundred or so piglets are excitedly clambering over each other or snuffling around the muddy floor of the gated outdoor enclosure where they are waiting to be transported for slaughter. Inside the great barns, 500 sows lie side-by-side in pens while their offspring fight for space at their teats.The air hangs heavy with ammonia, so thick it stings the lungs.
This is the flagship operation of Midland Pig Producers, which runs nine farms across the country producing 80 tonnes of meat a week to supply leading supermarkets including Tesco, Marks and Spencer and Asda. It is big. But only a few miles away over the border into Derbyshire, something even bigger is planned.
A decision is expected shortly on Midland Pig’s so-called Foston Mega Farm, which will house 25,000 intensively reared indoor pigs, making it one of the largest in Europe. The proposal has attracted huge opposition, with more than 20,000 letters from across the world. Pig welfare is, of course, an emotive issue. But campaigners insist that something greater is at stake here - something that the Chief Medical Officer has referred to as one of the greatest threats of the 21st century, alongside terrorism and climate change, and which this spring, is expected to be placed on the national risk register. Such farms rely on the use of antibiotics for sick animals, but as we rush to produce industrial quantities of ever cheaper food, we have sleepwalked into a human health crisis.

National Risk Register

The government’s list of the greatest threats facing the country. Adding antibiotic resistance is being actively considered
Pandemic influenza
This remains the most significant civil emergency risk. Three worldwide influenza pandemics occurred in the 20th century (1918, 1957 and 1968)
Coastal flooding
The east coast floods of 1953 were the worst peacetime disaster to hit the UK. As a result a national emergency was formally declared
Catastrophic Terrorist Attacks
Major terrorist attacks are an ongoing threat. The likelihood of terrorists obtaining effective biological or nuclear weapons remains 'not negligible'
Volcanic eruptions abroad
Volcanic eruptions abroad, such as the 2010 Icelandic ash cloud, can affect the UK. Effusive (gas-rich) eruptions are the most dangerous
Severe wildfires
A newly-assessed risk, wildfires - such as the Swinley Forest blaze in 2011, the largest in Berkshire’s history - spark massive devastation
70 per cent of the world’s bacteria have now developed a resistance to antibiotics. We have used - or are using - the drugs of last resort
Antibiotics are no longer effective. The drugs that have transformed life and longevity and saved countless millions since penicillin was discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming in 1928 now saturate every corner of our environment. We stuff them into ourselves and our animals; we spray them on crops, dump them in rivers, and even – as emerged at a meeting of science ministers from the G8 last year - paint them on the hulls of boats to keep off barnacles.
As a result an invisible army of super-resistant bacteria has evolved, one that is increasingly claiming lives – currently more than 25,000 a year in Europe alone, around as many as die on the continent’s roads.
Many leading scientists and doctors and politicians are freely adopting the language of global catastrophe. Infections such as tuberculosis and septicaemia - the scourge of earlier centuries - are once again killing us at frightening rates. We have used, or are using, our so-called drugs of last resort. There is nothing left in the armoury and new drugs are not being developed. Welcome to the post-antibiotic age.
n 2012, at Needwood House Farm, a pneumonia outbreak swept through the herd. The piglets were taken off site and sows fed antibiotics with their food for six weeks. Those few that didn’t survive were incinerated. The outbreak – the first in eight years at the Farm - cost Midland Pig Producers £100,000.
“Antibiotics are expensive,” says owner James Leavesley. “The last thing we want to do as a business is use them. We don’t unless we have to. It’s done because an animal – just like a human – can fall ill. If we need to stop using them on farms, can we stop using them in hospitals as well, please?”
Pig Farming
At Needwood House Farm, Staffordshire, James Leavesley says antibiotics are only used as a last resort
Leavesley says intensive farming has come a long way since “barbaric” and “abhorrent” practices in the Sixties and Seventies. Nowadays, pens are better ventilated and excrement is sluiced away through grates.
“What we are proposing [at Foston] is going to be a cultural evolution. The whole point of the thing is to create an environment where we don’t need antibiotics.”
It is an admirable goal, but the reality is that modern British farms rely on antibiotics and on a vast scale. In 2012, some 409 tonnes of antibiotics were sold for animal use (a rise on the 346 tonnes sold the previous year), of which 85 per cent was for food-producing animals. The use of three classes of antibiotics classified by the World Health Organisation as “critically important in human medicine” has also increased. According to the latest Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) report, in 2012, 2.4 tonnes of fluroquinolone antibiotics were given to animals compared to 2.1 tonnes in 2011. Sales of the other “critically important” antibiotic classes - third and fourth generation cephalosporins (1.3 tonnes) and macrolides (40.9 tonnes) - also recorded small rises on the previous year.
“It’s getting worse, not better. It may be OK for five to 10 years but it’s not a sustainable model for the future. Otherwise we will lose our antibiotics.”
Zac Goldsmith MP
Veterinary medicine accounts for around 30 per cent of antibiotics use in this country, and yet, we are one of the better regulated in the world. An EU-wide ban on the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in livestock has been in place since 2006. In Britain, only vets can prescribe antibiotics for animals, although critics say this raises an obvious conflict of interest when they also sell them. Worldwide, the majority of the 100,000-200,000 tonnes of antibiotics manufactured every year is freely used in the agricultural, horticultural and veterinary sectors to keep animals healthy on industrial-scale farms. “It’s getting worse, not better,” says Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative MP for Richmond and treasurer of the newly-formed All Party Parliamentary Group on Antibiotic Resistance. “When you concentrate a very large number of animals, particularly pigs, in very cramped conditions, you are going to create all kinds of local and environmental problems.
“History tells us you can’t keep animals in those conditions without almost daily use of antibiotics. It may be OK for five to 10 years but it’s not a sustainable model for the future. Otherwise we will lose our antibiotics. There are all kinds of implications about mega farms. I know that the total use [of antibiotics] per head per animal has gone up 18 per cent in the past 10 years.”
Goldsmith talks with a quiet urgency from the corner of a tearoom in the Houses of Parliament. For a long time, he says, he has been one of the few outspoken voices from the backbenches on antibiotic resistance. But not any longer. There is growing concern at the highest levels of Government over the seriousness of the issue. The June meeting of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee to discuss antibiotics was standing room only in the Commons committee room. Looking down from the wall was a portrait of Lord Palmerston (prime minister 1855 to 1858 and 1859 to 1865). Once more we are engaged in gunboat diplomacy, the rhetoric of war.
Interactive Graphic

The global habit that created a crisis

Six ways we have undermined a wonder drug. Click to read more

  • Agriculture
    Globally more than 70 per cent of antibiotics are used in animal agriculture including some of the most potent antibiotics available. In more than 100 countries antibiotics are routinely added to animal feed to promote growth. So-called mega farms, intensive meat and poultry farms where diseases can sweep through herds, are blamed in particular for overuse.
  • Aquaculture
    Intensive aquaculture (shrimp and fish farming) has led to growing problems with antibiotics routinely used to treat diseases. The industry supplies the world with 110 milllion metric tonnes of food fish per year. 75 per cent of the antibiotics fed to fish are excreted back into the water.
  • Veterinary
    In Britain the veterinary sector has been criticised for irresponsible prescription of antibiotics, as vets can profit by selling the same drugs they prescribe. The government does not track the use of veterinary antibiotics in detail, with the main data available the total annual tonnage of antibiotics sold. In 2012, 409 tonnes of antibiotics were prescribed by vets in Britain.
  • Prescription
    Antibiotics are commonly prescribed for respiratory infections, but most of these are caused by viruses not bacteria. Most patients are prescribed antibiotics without the doctor knowing the cause of the infection. GPs in England currently prescribe 35million courses of antibiotics a year.
  • Patient pressure
    Doctors say they are put under huge pressure to prescribe antibiotics. Private doctors who see patients outside of hospital systems, such as those working in private offices, contribute disproportionately to the spread of antibiotic resistance. A 2012 survey in Australia, which has one of the highest rates of antibiotic use in the world, found 80 per cent of people who visited a doctor expected a prescription.
  • Over the counter sales
    Over the counter antibiotics are available in many countries and are also easy to order over the internet. In some countries, hospitals make money from antibiotic sales. Up to a quarter of revenues in some Chinese hospitals derive from antibiotic sales. In March, the sale of antibiotics over the counter in India will be restricted for the first time.
  • Water
    Urban wastewater treatment plants are among the main sources of the release of antibiotics into the environment. Hospitals and drug manufacturing sites have the highest concentrations of antibiotics in their effluent, especially in developing countries where the majority of drugs are manufactured. Antibiotics have been detected in drinking water.
  • Soil
    Many antibiotics are non bio-degradable and can persist in high concentrations in soil for a long time. An estimated 70 million tonnes of animal manure waste is spread on to agricultural land each year in Britain. Crops can take up substantial amounts of antibiotics by the roots. Antibiotics are also sprayed on to crops, such as high value fruit trees, to prevent bacterial diseases.
  • Wildlife
    Studies are now finding antibiotic resistant bacteria among wildlife. Resistant genes have been detected in the bacteria of numerous animals ranging from gulls, crows and moths, to foxes and sharks. A study conducted in the Wirral found high levels of resistant bacteria in the faeces of forest rodents.
  • Travel
    Last year the number of international tourist arrivals across the globe broke through the one billion barrier for the first time ever. We carry drug resistant pathogens everywhere we go. One recent study of Swedish world travellers found one in four young men were returning with antibiotic resistant bacteria present in their guts.
  • Migration
    Migrant workers have also led to unprecedented movement of antibiotic resistant organisms across international borders. Since 2004, more than one million migrants from Eastern Europe have arrived in Britain (around half have returned home) further spreading antibiotic resistant strains of tuberculosis. TB rates are higher than the UK in seven of the 12 accession countries.
  • Trade
    According to the World Health Organisation, the growth of global trade allows resistant microorganisms to be spread rapidly to distant countries and continents through food. Global meat trade is a complex web of supply and demand. 60 per cent of the pork eaten in the UK is imported and around 40 per cent of fish produced in China is bought by EU countries.
Medical tourism
  • Patient movement
    Many healthcare patients now travel to foreign locations for medical treatment. Cosmetic, dental and even organ transplants are becoming more common as experienced surgeons and hospitals offer care at a fraction of Western prices. By 2015, it is predicted 3.2 million people will travel to India for cosmetic surgery or other operations.
  • Hospital cleanliness
    Hospitals have become hotbeds for highly-resistant pathogens, like MRSA, ESBL, and CPE, increasing the risk that hospitalisation kills instead of cures. In many countries, the pharmaceutical industry is the principal source of prescribing information for doctors. Hospital patients generally have weaker immune systems and more wounds to infect.
Development failure
  • Profit
    Only four drug companies are left in the development of antibiotics. Antibiotics are not as profitable as other drugs taken for chronic conditions. Successful treatment with effective antibiotics takes only a few days compared to drugs for diseases like diabetes or blood pressure which people take for years.
  • Difficult science
    Between 1935 and 1968, 14 different classes of antibiotic were developed. In the 45 years since then, only five have been brought out. The pipeline for new replacement antibiotics is virtually dry. Mergers between pharmaceutical companies has reduced the number and diversity of teams seeking to discover new antibacterials.
  • Complex regulations
    Leading global drugmakers have said they need new incentives to stimulate research. Clinical trials are complex and cost a lot of money. The regulatory process is risk averse with high levels of bureaucracy and lack of clarity in the process.
AnimalsAgricultureAquacultureVeterinaryMedicinePrescriptionPatient pressureOver the counter salesEnvironmentWaterSoilWildlifeGlobalisationTravelMigrationTradeMedical tourismPatient movementHospital cleanlinessDevelopment failureProfitDifficult scienceComplex regulationsHumansAntibioticresistance
Last autumn, Britain launched its new Five Year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy. Ministers accept the urgent need to reduce the use on farms, but it is not just in the food chain where resistant bacteria thrive in a generous swill of antibiotics. According to Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, GPs in England currently prescribe 35 million courses of antibiotics a year. As patients we demand them, putting huge pressure on doctors to prescribe pills for viral infections such as a sore throat for which they are useless. Too many GPs who should know better acquiesce.
Dame Sally and other experts say it is a practice we must stop now. “I care about my children and grandchildren, let alone my own old age,” she says. “If we don’t sort this out, not just as a nation, but globally, we risk going back to a time where people die young.
“We risk going into a post-antibiotic era, and that could start any time in the next 10 or 20 years, when modern medicine becomes impossible. Routine surgical procedures - hip replacements, caesarean sections, modern cancer treatments - all are based on using antibiotics to prevent or treat infections. Without them, people will die.
“Before antibiotics, 43 per cent of people died of infection in this country. At the moment it is seven per cent. I predict without proper conservation and new antibiotics, our death rate will steadily creep up. We risk returning to a situation like that. And the stupidity is, we don’t have to.”
o truly understand the extent of the problem, one must look beyond Britain’s borders. Compared to other countries, in particular the emerging powerhouses of India and China, we are well ahead in reducing use of antibiotics. But there is only so much we can do alone.
This frustration was evident at the first evidence session of an ongoing parliamentary inquiry into antimicrobial resistance at Portcullis House which started in December. As Sharon Peacock, professor of clinical microbiology at the University of Cambridge told MPs: “Much of the resistance we see in this country is actually potentially imported from other places. We have to recognise that and understand what is happening in the bigger picture.”
Ours is a globalised world, and 70 per cent of the bacteria in it have now developed a resistance to antibiotics – including those drugs regarded as our last line of defence. Superbugs spawned in a Chinese hospital or a polluted Pakistani river cross continents quicker than we can discover them. One recent study of 100 Swedish travellers visiting countries outside of Northern Europe found one in four young men had antibiotic resistant bacteria present in their guts on their return.

How resistance breeds

We carry resistant microbes wherever we go. In 2011, there were almost 35,000 cases of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis recorded in Europe – a six-fold increase in as many years. London is now known as the TB capital of the western world. During the past year around 3,500 residents were diagnosed with the disease (out of around 9,000 across the UK) with boroughs like Newham and Ealing experiencing rates of infection comparable with the developing world.Treatment of multi-drug resistant TB is vastly expensive, costing between £50,000 to £100,000 per patient over two years, and putting a huge strain on hospitals and budgets.
Necessity negates political correctness. Only last month, Professor Ajit Lalvani, from the National Heart and Lung Institute, called for more screening tests to identify latent symptoms of TB that could be brought into the country by immigrants. For it is from distant shores where much of this bacteria comes from.
About 75 per cent of the cases nationwide occur among people born in countries where TB is more common, mostly South Asia (60 per cent of cases) and sub-Saharan Africa (22 per cent). Multi-drug resistant cases are also increasing in Eastern Europe. The complicated therapies required to treat the disease are more difficult to impose over language barriers and with vulnerable patients, resulting in unfinished courses of antibiotics; another major factor that increases resistance.
TB is by no means the only disease of concern. In November, the EU’s disease monitoring agency warned that Europe now faces a growing threat from bacteria that are resistant to the last-resort class of antibiotics known as carbapenems, with almost all European countries now having reported cases. The data from the European Centre for Diseases Prevention and Control showed that the proportion of bloodstream infections due to Klebsiella pneumoniae, a common cause of illness in hospital patients, that were resistant to carbapenems was now above five percent in 2012 in five countries - Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Romania and Slovakia. In 2009, only Greece and Cyprus exceeded that threshold.

Antibiotic consumption in Europe

Defined daily doses per 1,000 inhabitants per day
Greece*35.1mCyprus*32mRomania*30.9mBelgium29mFrance28.7mLuxembourg27.6mSlovakia*23.8mMalta23.5mPortugal23.2mIreland22.7mIceland*22.3mPoland21.9mSpain20.9mFinland20.1mBulgaria19.5mLithuania*19mUnited Kingdom18.8mCzech Republic18.5mDenmark17.4mNorway16.5mHungary14.8mAustria14.5mSlovenia14.4mSweden14.3mGermany14.1mLatvia12.8mEstonia12.1mNetherlands11.4m
Data applies to prescriptions outside of hospitals *Country provided only total care data, which applies to community sector and hospital use
Source: ECDC
Even some of those sent out to protect us are bringing back killer diseases from abroad. Multi-drug resistant gram-negative bacteria have been recorded in British and American soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Bacteria fall into two categories: gram-negative and gram-positive. Gram-negative bacteria possess thin cell walls (5 to 10 nanometres) adept at flushing out antibiotics, making them much harder to treat. Gram-positive, which include methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus - better known as hospital superbug MRSA - have thick cell walls (20-80 nanometres) that better retain antibiotics.
So many infections of gram-negative Acinetobacter, which causes a variety of diseases ranging from pneumonia to serious blood or wound infections, were recorded in troops in Iraq, that the disease was nicknamed “Iraqibacter”. Pathogens would also blow into soldiers’ wounds in the dust and dirt of Helmand Province in Afghanistan, causing a variety of diseases ranging from pneumonia to serious blood or wound infections. The number of cases fuelled claims that insurgents were lining IEDs with excrement or rotting animals.
And then, there are the medical tourists. Those who visit hospitals in Asia for cheap cosmetic surgery or other operations to avoid waiting lists are another main driver of the problem. In 2015, it is predicted 3.2 million people will travel to India for surgery. Here antibiotics are freely available for sale over the counter (at least until later this year when new laws come into place). “I think things have got progressively worse in Southern Asia, largely because of the medical tourism industry,” says Professor Tim Walsh, a microbiologist at Cardiff University. “If you look at the Calcutta Times, on the front page is a huge advertisement for cosmetic operations. People come from all over the world.”
“It’s almost like the perfect storm. It’s going to be very difficult for us to win this battle. In fact, I would say it’s impossible.”
Professor Tim Walsh
Walsh was part of the team that discovered NDM-1, an enzyme that confers resistance on a range of bacteria. In short, it makes already dangerous bacteria such as E.coli and cholera, far worse. The ND stands for New Delhi, where it was discovered in 2008. In the ensuing years it has claimed lives and spread panic far beyond the subcontinent. Walsh is currently assisting the UK government with estimates on the extent of antibiotic resistance by 2030-2050 and at the same time overseeing the world’s largest clinical trial in Pakistan and India looking at multi-drug infection in extreme drug resistant bacteria. The data, he says, “is quite frightening”.
“Bacteria are able to adapt, mutate, their DNA is very fluid. This is all happening in real time. We are up against a foe and it is a scenario combined with antibiotic industries around the world pumping out drugs and polluting environments, as well as overuse in our communities. Lots of countries have no idea at all about resistance rates.
“It’s almost like the perfect storm. Putting all that information together I would say it’s going to be very difficult for us to win this battle. In fact, I would say it’s impossible. Certainly it is going about it the way we are at the moment.”
One British man who, unlike the medical tourists, ended up in an Indian hospital against his will is freelance journalist Russell Cronin. In April 2011, during a meditation trip to Bihar, in northeastern India, the 49-year-old Londoner was electrocuted by a faulty shower at his hotel. He suffered horrific burns, which eventually resulted in him having his left hand amputated. After being treated at two Indian hospitals, the hotelier agreed to pay for a flight home to England, if Cronin wrote a note exonerating him from further liability. When he landed he was rushed from the plane to Bristol’s Frenchay Hospital where it was discovered, aside from the devastating injuries, that he had contracted five multi-drug resistant gram-negative bacteria carrying the NDM-1 enzyme, including a super immune strain of cholera.
“I was in a really bad way,” he says. “I didn’t know about the bugs until I came round and found myself in the isolation unit. They told me what it was but I had no idea what it all meant. I was still in a state of shock to discover that my hand had gone.”
Russell Cronin was hospitalised in India and nearly died after contracting a host of multi-drug resistant bacteria.
Cronin was eventually discharged after 11 weeks in hospital. He was treated with colistin, an antibiotic so toxic it was discarded in the 1960s but has now been dug out again in desperation. Renal toxicity is the most common adverse effect of colistin treatment, none the less it may well have saved his life. “The doctors have told me how close I came to dying,” he says.
Hospitals are increasingly being confronted with cases such as Mr Cronin, with antimicrobial resistance now costing the economy an estimated £10 billion a year. But those within the medical profession say students exhibit a staggering lack of knowledge about the issues we face. “One of the major problems we find is the lack of microbiology training that junior students have,” one consultant microbiologist says. “It is just two hours, in that time you can’t do anything. And it is now a very common practice in hospitals to use antibiotics of last resort. It’s very widespread and I have seen a lot of drug-resistant bacteria.”
In November, a Europe-wide study of final year medical students tested knowledge of antibiotic prescribing and resistance. Laura Piddock, professor of microbiology and deputy director at the institute of microbiology at the University of Birmingham and director of Antibiotic Action, describes the results as “lamentable”. “It’s not the fault of the students or the medical schools. The problem is the curriculum. What it means is we don’t get the time we would like to teach this area properly.”
ithout new drugs, there is no hope. Between 1935 and 1968, 14 different classes of antibiotic were developed. In the 45 years since then, only five have been brought out. No new classes have now been developed since 1987. The problem, is profit potential and profit depends on volume. Many pharmaceutical companies have pulled out of development altogether, focusing attention instead on drugs for chronic conditions, such as diabetes or blood pressure which patients have to take for years, rather than courses lasting just days or weeks. Professor Anthony Kessel, director of Public Health Strategy at Public Health England, says it is time to engage in a “moral debate” over the lack of new drugs, and admits rationing could now be on the horizon.
“We may get to a situation where we have to think about rationing antibiotics. We are not there yet but if we really run out you can imagine that as a possibility. You can imagine a situation in the future where we have to develop a new antibiotic but not make it available straight away and keep it for emergencies. These are the type of solutions that we haven’t really talked about in great depth yet, but are possibilities.”
Interactive Graphic

A history of resistance

  • Antibiotic discovered
  • Antibiotic resistance identified
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191019201930194019501960197019801990200020101910192019301940195019601970198019902000201019281941Penicillin3242Sulphonamides4347Aminoglyocosides4349Bacitracin4553Tetracyclines4652Nitrofurans4756Phenicols4778Polymyxins4866Cephalosporins5082Pleuromutilins5253Macrolides5356Streptogramins5378Nitroimidazoles5386Glycopeptides5561Novobiocin5565Cycloserine6172Trimethoprim6266Fusidic Acid6266Quinolones6279Lincosamides6973Fosfomycin7187Mupirocin7685Carbapenems7899Oxazolidinones7981Monobactams8705Lipopeptides
Some governments are now so concerned they are taking an active role in research. In a large glass and chrome facility near a small town called Collegeville, 30 miles northwest of Philadelphia, scientists are working to discover new antibiotics that can save the world. Since 2009, some 30 scientists and technicians have been based here in a GlaxoSmithKline “discovery performance unit”. Last year, the company was awarded up to $200 million by the U.S. government to develop new drugs to counter antibiotic resistance and bioterrorism – in particular, in case of anthrax attack. David Payne, head of the unit, says there are three possible molecules currently being tested, although admits the scale of the challenge is immense. “You’re working in very unknown territory because nobody has ever done it before.”
“A lot of companies have withdrawn from developing antibiotics. Only very few are doing it now”
David Payne
Payne says the difficulty is three-fold: poor profit potential; difficult science (the easier discoveries have already been made); and working around complex regulations, although he says the latter problem is now changing. According to a Chatham House report published last October, in 2004, only 1.6 per cent of drugs in development at the world’s 15 largest drug companies were antibiotics. GlaxoSmithKline is now just one of four major pharmaceutical companies left working on antibiotics.
“A lot of companies have withdrawn from this area,” Payne says. “If you go back 10 years just about every big pharmaceutical company you were aware of would have had a pretty large antibacterial discovery group. Only very few are doing that now.”
It may seem a bit rich for the global pharmaceutical industry to complain about profits when, this year, its value is expected to reach £550 billion. Yet it can cost, we are told, hundreds of millions of pounds to bring a new single drug to market. The profit imperative ensures that the drugs chosen for research are those most likely to provide high returns, while far more gets spent on marketing products than developing new ones. According to an analysis of drug company spending published in the British Medical Journal in 2012, for every £1 spent on basic research, £19 is spent on marketing.
The result is a yawning void, one that has prompted the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, among others, to call for a comprehensive review of the research and development environment. The UK government’s new five-year strategy to tackle resistance does address this in part; some £4 million being allocated for a new research unit on antimicrobial resistance to be established by the National Institute for Health Research from this April. There are also plans to encourage greater public-private investment in discovery and development and promote more streamlined research and collaboration within the industry.
here is a growing political will to address a complacency that set in as far back as the 1970s and even now – without new drugs in the pipeline - better infection control has been proven to make an immediate impact on winning the fight against resistant bacteria. Health professionals point to plummeting MRSA death rates in Britain, which have fallen by around 80 per cent since 2008. Improving public awareness is also key. Around half of people in the UK still do not know that antibiotics are inappropriate to treat colds, flu and viruses, according to evidence given a few weeks ago to the Commons Science and Technology Committee.
But it may yet still all prove to be too little, too late. Sir Alexander Fleming did warn us. During a speech in Stockholm in 1945 after accepting his Nobel Prize, Fleming sounded “one note of warning” over bacteria becoming resistant through inappropriate use of the drug. “The time may come when penicillin can be bought by anyone in the shops.’’ he said. The idea of his precious discovery being stockpiled by online pharmacies, used to fatten up our fish and livestock, dumped in rivers and sprayed over fields, would have baffled and horrified him in equal measure.
The laboratory where Sir Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin is kept preserved at St Mary’s Hospital.
At St Mary’s Hospital in London a plaque marks Fleming’s discovery in September 1928 “to the glory of God and immeasurable benefit to mankind”. His laboratory is perfectly preserved. His old Beck’s microscope sits on the wooden desk amid dusty glass bottles, books and test tubes. Fleming’s bacterial samples were deemed so vital to the future of mankind, contingency plans were drawn up in case of Nazi invasion during World War Two for them to be smuggled out of the country in the lining of his suit.
Today at St Mary’s – as in every other British hospital – that wonderful armoury, in which Fleming laid the first weapon, has been picked bare while the enemy has evolved. As Professor Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, said in an interview last month, “We have been through a golden age and we have become complacent. We’re watching evolution happen. This will come up steadily over years and it has already started. It’s been happening for the last decade or more and will continue. It will creep up on us almost without noticing. This is getting to the tipping point where you and your families will start to see this.”
We are sleepwalking back into a time where something as simple as a grazed knee or a scratch acquired in the garden will start to claim lives. The golden age of medicine is behind us.
Author: Joe Shute
Editors: Liz Hunt, Joel Gunter, Cherrill Hicks
Designers: Mark Oliver, Scott Jones
Developer: Dan Palmer
Video: Julian Simmonds, Gregg Morgan
Title image: Alamy