Antibiotics Have Run Their Course
“Golden age of antibiotics could come to harsh end. Complacency and casual misuse could render our greatest weapon against disease useless.” This is the warning from a geneticist, Prof Aoife McLysaght, in an Irish Times op-ed (link) recently. Whatever a golden age is I don’t know, but it’s not a scientific term, it’s a mythological one. There are however, a few statements in her article which are worth commenting on.
Professor McLysaght’s description of someone taking a cold from a walk in the rain neglects to acknowledge a major reason as to how people succumb to infection and, therefore, she overlooks the reason doctors consequently abuse – and mistakenly use – antibiotics. It is not simply the case that bacteria or viruses infect someone who goes for a walk in the rain. People do take ill in such a manner as a walk in the rain, to use her example, but the reason, as Samuel Hahnemann showed, is not microbial or chemical but dynamic. If one is susceptible to rain then that susceptibility is not physical but vital. Therefore, the treatment must be dynamic, or vital, as in homeopathy, and not (purely) chemical, as in the use of antibiotics.
Her thinking is based on an unproven cause of infection known as the Germ Theory of disease. While micro-organisms might be associated with illness, it doesn’t follow that they cause it. Right now I have a throat full of streptococci but they don’t make me feel sick; in fact I’m in perfect health! It is only when my vitality, my energy is disturbed that the bacteria then overgrow. They become a problem as a result of disease, not as the cause of it.
Hahnemann on Microbes
OK, so you might assume this is irrelevant, but show me the proof of this theory. Hahnemann wasn’t naive. He did his work fifty years before Koch and Pasteur and spoke of such micro-organisms which he called “morbific agents inimical to life”. Yes, he talks about such disease-causing agents but he applies reason to observe that the cause and the disease are not the same. In aphorism 11 (or here) of his Organon of Medicine (6th edition, 1842?), and the accompanying footnotes, he explains this important difference:
When a person falls ill, it is only this spiritual, self acting (automatic) vital force, everywhere present in his organism, that is primarily deranged by the dynamic¹ influence upon it of a morbific agent inimical to life; it is only the vital force, deranged to such an abnormal state, that can furnish the organism with its disagreeable sensations, and incline it to the irregular processes which we call disease; for, as a power invisible in itself, and only cognizable by its effects on the organism, its morbid derangement only makes itself known by the manifestation of disease in the sensations and functions of those parts of the organism exposed to the senses of the observer and physician, that is, by morbid symptoms, and in no other way can it make itself known.²
When I call a disease a derangement of man’s state of health, I am far from wishing thereby to give a hyperphysical explanation of the internal nature of disease generally, or of any case of disease in particular. It is only intended by this expression to intimate, what it can be proved diseases are not and cannot be, that they are not mechanical or chemical alterations of material substance of the body, and not dependant on a material morbific substance, but that they are merely spirit-like (conceptual) dynamic derangements of the life.
Consider a corpse, someone who has just died. There’s no shortage of bacteria and viruses within and without the dead body; so why is it the dead don’t get sick? Surely it’s worth studying people who have such a great resistance! What’s the only difference between the dead and the living? Exactly what Hahnemann told us: the dynamic vital force.
As well as inadvertently pointing at unscientific prescribing (taking them for “even mild infections” means they have been prescribed), Prof McLysaght unwittingly raises another useful insight into science: some of the greatest discoveries, like penicillin (“Fleming’s fortuitous neglect of the washing-up”) were an accident – contingent – rather than purely scientific.
A third point she raises, though doesn’t see the significance of, is that “No two human beings are genetically identical.” No two people are alike; so why treat everyone the same in disease? It’s not rational and it’s not scientific to treat everyone the same because in disease no two people are the same or react the same even to the same germs, so when a doctor prescribes the same drug for different patients with varying symptoms, it’s purely convenient, it makes prescribing easy not scientific. Hence, patients often comment: “I had to get a second (or third) dose of antibiotic.”
Another point raised by Prof McLysaght is the increase and spread of MRSA. All I can conclude is that our collective health has worsened despite the axiom “modern scientific medicine.”
On her point about bacteria evolving quicker than our ability to combat them chemically and medically, homeopathy offers hope in this regard. Because homeopathic medicines do not fight bacteria by way of drug action, bacteria are not in a position to evolve victorious over our remedies. Homeopathic medicines work by a vital reaction which means the body itself is reacting against the symptoms, so much so that the body builds up a resistance to those symptoms – exactly what prof McLysaght hoped for in her second paragraph.
After ignoring Samuel Hahnemann for 200 years, perhaps it’s time to revisit Hahnemann’s contribution to medicine?
1 Materia peccans!
2 What is dynamic influence, – dynamic power? Our earth, by virtue of a hidden invisible energy, carries the moon around her in twenty-eight days and several hours, and the moon alternately, in definite fixed hours (deducting certain differences which occur with the full and new moon) raises our northern seas to flood tide and again correspondingly lowers them to ebb. Apparently this takes place not through material agencies, not through mechanical contrivances, as are used for products of human labor; and so we see numerous other events about us as results of the action of one substance on another substance without being able to recognize a sensible connection between cause and effect. Only the cultured, practised in comparison and deduction, can form for himself a kind of supra-sensual idea sufficient to keep all that is material or mechanical in his thoughts from such concepts. He calls such effects dynamic, virtual, that is, such as result from absolute, specific, pure energy and action of he one substance upon the other substance.
For instance, the dynamic effect of the sick-making influences upon healthy man, as well as the dynamic energy of the medicines upon the principle of life in the restoration of health is nothing else than infection and so not in any way material, not in any way mechanical. Just as the energy of a magnet attracting a piece of iron or steel is not material, not mechanical. One sees that the piece of iron is attracted by one pole of the magnet, but how it is done is not seen. This invisible energy of the magnet does not require mechanical (material) auxiliary means, hook or lever, to attract the iron. The magnet draws to itself and this acts upon the piece of iron or upon a steel needle by means of a purely immaterial invisible, conceptual, inherent energy, that is, dynamically, and communicates to the steel needle the magnetic energy equally invisibly (dynamically). The steel needle becomes itself magnetic, even at a distance when the magnet does not touch it, and magnetises other steel needles with the same magnetic property (dynamically) with which it had been endowered previously by the magnetic rod, just as a child with small-pox or measles communicates to a near, untouched healthy child in an invisible manner (dynamically) the small-pox or measles, that is, infects it at a distance without anything material from the infective child going or capable of going to the one to be infected. A purely specific conceptual influence communicated to the near child small-pox or measles in the same way as the magnet communicated to the near needle the magnetic property.
In a similar way, the effect of medicines upon living man is to be judged. Substances, which are used as medicines, are medicines only in so far as they possess each its own specific energy to alter the well-being of man through dynamic, conceptual influence, by means of the living sensory fibre, upon the conceptual controlling principle of life. The medicinal property of those material substances which we call medicines proper, relates only to their energy to call out alterations in the well-being of animal life. Only upon this conceptual principle of life, depends their medicinal health-altering, conceptual (dynamic) influence. Just as the nearness of a magnetic pole can communicate only magnetic energy to the steel (namely, by a kind of infection) but cannot communicate other properties (for instance, more hardness or ductility, etc.). And thus every special medicinal substance alters through a kind of infection, that well-being of man in a peculiar manner exclusively its own and not in a manner peculiar to another medicine, as certainly as the nearness of the child ill with small-pox will communicate to a healthy child only small-pox and not measles. These medicines act upon our well-being wholly without communication of material parts of the medicinal substances, thus dynamically, as if through infection. Far more healing energy is expressed in a case in point by the smallest dose of the best dynamized medicines, in which there can be, according to calculation, only so little of material substance that its minuteness cannot be thought and conceived by the best arithmetical mind, than by large doses of the same medicine in substance. That smallest dose can therefore contain almost entirely only the pure, freely-developed, conceptual medicinal energy, and bring about only dynamically such great effects as can never be reached by the crude medicinal substances itself taken in large doses.
It is not in the corporal atoms of these highly dynamized medicines, nor their physical or mathematical surfaces (with which the higher energies of the dynamized medicines are being interpreted but vainly as still sufficiently material) that the medicinal energy is found. More likely, there lies invisible in the moistened globule or in its solution, an unveiled, liberated, specific, medicinal force contained in the medicinal substance which acts dynamically by contact with the living animal fibre upon the whole organism (without communicating to it anything material however highly attenuated) and acts more strongly the more free and more immaterial the energy has become through the dynamization.
Is it then so utterly impossible for our age celebrated for its wealth in clear thinkers to think of dynamic energy as something non-corporeal, since we see daily phenomena which cannot be explained in any other manner? If one looks upon something nauseous and becomes inclined to vomit, did a material emetic come into his stomach which compels him to this anti-peristaltic movement? Was it not solely the dynamic effect of the nauseating aspect upon his imagination? And if one raises his arm, does it occur through a material visible instrument? A lever? Is it not solely the conceptual dynamic energy of his will which raises it?
Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry, William Reville, explains the science and sociological reasons behind antibiotic-resistant bacteria in The Irish Catholic
Despite Prof McLysaght’s call to finish a course of antibiotics, a group of experts says this can do more harm; it might be better to stop the course early: Antibiotics – don’t finish the course
Similarly, May 2017: Don’t finish your course of antibiotics, says Dr Le Fanu:
Doctor’s Diary: it’s time to rethink our attitude to antibiotics – again
For more on the vital force: click here
Germ Theory Fraud, an article I haven’t yet read so can’t endorse, but looks comprehensive on Pasteur and germ theory: click here
The following quote on the Germ Theory of disease can be found on Let’s Talk Nutrition but needs verification.
“The microbe is nothing. The terrain is everything.” Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) is purported to have made this statement on his deathbed. The origin of the quote is attributed to Claude Bernard (1813-1878), a physiologist and contemporary of Pasteur. By quoting Bernard, Pasteur was recanting his germ theory, a theory that assigned the cause of disease to microbes invading and reeking havoc on the body, with specific germs causing specific diseases.
In contrast to Pasteur, Claude Bernard and Antoine Bechamp (1816-1908), another contemporary of Pasteur, believed disease was a condition of imbalance in the internal terrain of body. Bernard and Bechamp emphasized the context or environment in which germs lived and not the germs. On the one hand, if the terrain was balanced (homeostatic), then germs could not flourish. On the other hand, if the terrain were out of balance, then germs would thrive. In short, germs do not cause disease. Instead, they are a sign of the diseased conditions of the terrain and not the cause of those conditions (see Stockton, 2000)
See also Louis Pasteur Recants His Germ Theory for a more concise explanation
In his weekly column for the Daily Telegraph, Dr Le Fanu raises the two sides of antibiotic use (link):
Nonetheless many, but certainly not all, will get better of their own accord where a policy of not (or delayed) prescribing can reduce antibiotic use by more than 60%…
… While most appreciate the problem of bacteria resistance in theory, it is not widely appreciated this can be a direct consequence for the individual taking an antibiotic that loses its effectiveness for a period of up to 12 months. Faced with this prospect many might opt to sacrifice any short term benefits they might confer, preserving these most useful of drugs for when they are really needed.
Sept. 2015: The day Prof Lysaght anticipated is here. In the late eighties a professor of medicine, Dr Bose of Kolkata, told me the current dose of antibiotic for gonorrhoea is sixteen times larger than when antibiotics were originally used for the infection. The media has now reported Drug-resistant gonorrhoea in the north of England.
Jan. 14th, 2016: Dick Ahlstrom, writing in The Irish Times, explains how bacteria are building resistance to antibiotics by reacting with discarded antibiotics in sewers.
March 2016: Half of children resistant to the most common antibiotics according to researchers from Bristol University and Imperial College London.
May 2017: Don’t finish your course of antibiotics, says Dr Le Fanu:
Doctor’s Diary: it’s time to rethink our attitude to antibiotics – again
Picture credit: WikiCommons