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From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: antibiotics are bad Re: Hong Kong suspects two more flu cases"
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997

In <>
(JXBrown) writes:
>> (Tom Goodman) wrote:
>>>Just like most prescription drugs, using antibiotics for long period
>>>of time weakens immune system in humans and animals.
>And (Walter Trumble) answered with a bunch of references
>about antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. Um, Walter, resistance to
>antibiotics in _bacteria_ has nothing to do with "weakened immune
>systems" in _humans and animals_. If you want to make the statement that
>"misuse of antibiotics causes an increase in resistant bacteria", no one
>will fault you. In fact, you can find a lot of support in conventional
>medical journals. However, if you write that "antibiotics cause weakened
>immune systems", you are just blowing smoke. These are two different

Except for just one case, which should always be kept in mind:  Your
gut flora are a part of your defense against foreign bugs, if not
strictly a part of your "immune system" (semantic point, there).  If
you are taking an antibiotic, this causes you to be selectively
susceptable to organisms which infect through the gut, such as E. Coli,
which happen to be resistant to that antibiotic.  This, due to the fact
that you're providing a selective pressure to help them in their
competition with your other gut organisms.

I don't know of any other case where this happens, but it's a theoretic
possibility for vaginal and superficial skin infections (impetigo)
also, I suppose.  Any place where you're partly protected by your own
flora.  It would not hold for (say) lung infections.  But might for
sinus, etc.

It's not a weakening of the immune system by the antibiotic, but it has
the same effect.  And of course, it only lasts for as long as the
antibiotic is taken, so it's not a LASTING effect, as the alternatives
have it.  And, finally, it requires an attacking organism which has the
right antibiotic resistant genes.


From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Immune Dysfunction and AIDS
Date: 25 Aug 1998 05:59:41 GMT

In <6rsjat$mvi$> writes:
>In article <6rr5gj$>,
> B. Harris) wrote:
>>     I duuno, Kevin.  What courses in basic human physiology, food
>> science and nutrition have you taken, and where?  And did you flunk?
>> Inquiring minds want to know.
>BTW, don't skirt the question "Dr.", please tell us why you feel gut
>flora and the maintanence of, has little to do with digestion. I'd like
>to hear your response.
>Kevin Doherty

    You already got it.  It's perfectly possible to maintain good
digestion with no gut flora, unless you are a cow or a termite.  Babies
digest their mother's milk without any anaerobes, which are the major
flora in YOUR gut.  People preparing for bone marrow transplant and
immune destruction routinely have their guts sterilized as closely as
it's possible to do it (of course, it's not possible to do this
totally), and it doesn't give them malnutrition.  Ditto for chronic
liver patients, and people preparing for bowel surgery.  And so on.

   Why don't you tell us why you think gut flora ARE important in
digestion, and which textbook you got that out of, there at RI?  I may
have to call up some of your teachers and ask for a recall of your

                                       Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Is your Doctor Y2K Compliant? Be prepared for Y2K! Colloidal 
	Silver Generators only $49.95!!
Date: 11 Feb 1999 01:54:17 GMT

In <> "Allison's Apothecary"
<> writes:

>   But amazingly, although it kills 650 different disease causing
>organisms, it's harmless to the normal gut flora.  Even though one
>person's normal gut flora is somebody else's disease causing organism,
>as you may have discovered if you've ever traveled to Mexico, or
>gotten fecal contamination of a wound.  A regular Einstein of a drug,
>this colloidal silver.  You could almost call it.... magic.  Either
>that, or a total scam.   Choose one.

>Your intellect is astounding!  How you pieced together that CS is
>harmless to "gut flora" is simply amazing!

    I pieced it together from the reports that claim colloidal silver
is without side effects.  Since killing all the bacteria in your bowel
would certainly have side effects, I can conclude that this is not

>  Please dazzle us with some more of your
>brillient gray matter by telling us what research you did to find this

    No research necessary.  That killing a lot of your gut flora with
an antibiotic, or antibacterial of any kind, will cause you problems,
is sort of a well-known fact.  If you like, you can go to medline and
look up "antibiotic-associated diarrhea", but I don't really need to.
I've read many papers on the subject, and certainly, as a clinician,
seen many cases.

>Also, please define "normal gut flora" as I cannot seem to find that
>term in any of my medical journals.

   You can't?  And what journals would those be?  If you have a
Guyton's Textbook of Medical Physiology, you can look up "colon" and
"bacteria" in the index.  My 12th edition says, flatly, "Numerous
bacteria, especially colon bacilli, are present even normally in the
absorbing colon."  30% to 50% of dry weight of feces is dead bacteria.
That's the normal gut flora.  There are many other texts which will
tell you what the normal coliform bacteria are.  I'm not about to type
you out a list.  E. Coli and the rest of what are called
"enterobacteriaciae" (for obvious reason) are just part of the them.

> Either that or shut the fuck up about things you know nothing about.

   One of us, oh, foul mouthed one, surely does not know what he's
talking about.  I suppose if you want to keep making a fool of yourself
in public, nobody will stop you.  But who would want to buy from an
apothecary who knew so little about the human body?   I suppose you
think your own colon is sterile.  And your feces, no doubt, do not

                                  Steve Harris, M.D.

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