“Destroying our immune system..”

DUP MLA, Iris Robinson, who chairs the Assembly’s Health Committee, appeared on Stormont Live today only to talk about the Health Minister’s announcement on prescription charges. But the notable part of the interview was her interesting, if un-scientific, view of the problems caused by the over-proscribing of antibiotics [1min 40secs in]

“We’re not handing out antibiotics the way we used to, and I’m glad of that, because we’re destroying our immune system[‘s ability] to face up to other difficult bugs around.”

Of course, it’s probably entirely coincidental that the actual explanation of the rise of antibiotic-resistant infections involves the process of evolution – as explained in this 1995 article in the US Food and Drug Administration’s magazine.

The increased prevalence of antibiotic resistance is an outcome of evolution. Any population of organisms, bacteria included, naturally includes variants with unusual traits–in this case, the ability to withstand an antibiotic’s attack on a microbe. When a person takes an antibiotic, the drug kills the defenseless bacteria, leaving behind–or “selecting,” in biological terms–those that can resist it. These renegade bacteria then multiply, increasing their numbers a millionfold in a day, becoming the predominant microorganism.

ANYhoo.. here’s the interview..